I want to preface this piece by defending Peter Abraham a bit. He has been roundly criticized by many for becoming arrogant due to the success of his blog, an assertion that may have some truth to it. However, his blog remains the number one spot for news from the Yankees clubhouse, and he is truly a pioneer of sports blogging. That being said, I have to take him to task for a statement he made earlier this week, in response to a comment that stated that the Yankees could not win a championship without A-Rod:
In the post of the year, Giuseppe Franco says that the Yankees cannot win the World Series without Alex Rodriguez.
The Yankees have won 26 World Series without him. Somehow.
Alex has never never played in one World Series game.
I would suggest that if the Yankees did not have Alex, they would be far more likely to win. His 24 + 1 mentality is not conducive to championship play. I realize it’s spring training, but the Yankees have looked terrific.
They’re a much better team when they aren’t sitting around waiting for him to hit a home run.
There is plenty here to digest. Before I get into it, I want to point out that my purpose is not to rip Pete. Rather, he is espousing a point that a lot of old school Yankees fans agree with, one that I feel needs to be addressed.
In regard to his first comment about the team having won 26 championships without A-Rod, that seems to be besides the point in regard to 2009. Yes, the team has won titles in the past, because they had the requisite talent. In 2009, the Yankees without A-Rod are likely to be lacking in the talent necessary to win a championship. It may be possible, but losing him for the entire season would make it extremely unlikely.
Then Pete goes into the classic Steve Phillips 24+1 spiel. Honestly, the idea that a team cannot win with a distracting superstar player is not supported by the facts. Teams have won championships with players like Manny Ramirez and Reggie Jackson, to name a few guys who were considered malcontents who brought home the hardware. If Alex were to have one big playoff series this season, this argument would evaporate, as success creates its own chemistry.
Pete claims that he knows that it is spring training, and then totally ignores that fact. Looking good now is really meaningless, especially when big spots are still being filled by players on the fringe of MLB rosters. The idea that the Yankees success with out Alex in spring training is significant is laughable. And doesn’t the idea that they are no longer waiting for home runs implicate that there was a lack of effort from the other players? Isn’t that statement an indictment of the entire club, who apparently did not give it their all, knowing that Alex would bail them out?
This line of reasoning has really begun to bother me, and a hot start from the Yankees without A-Rod will only serve to exacerbate the issue. The Yankees are not better off without A-Rod. The clubhouse may be more relaxed without him, but the team is worse. As long as the goal is to win baseball games, the Yankees need Alex Rodriguez.
(h/t commenter steve at RAB)
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