Thursday, August 31, 2006

And They Called It...

I promise that this is the last time I'm going to write and article defending Arod this year. My friends are now convinced that I have some sort of man crush on him. He just broke out of a miserable slump that saw him go something like 1 for 24 with 16 strikeouts. Today he was 3 for 4 with a home run and 2 rbi's. He even got a curtain call from the fickle NY fans. Arod has been suffering through his worst year as a professional player. It's probably the first time in his career that he has had such a prolonged stretch of absolutely wretched play. His defense, which up to this year has always been stellar, has been terrible this year. He has made the most errors of any third baseman in the majors and is on pace to better his total over the past two seasons combined. So what is there to defend, you say? Well even at his current pace he is on pace to hit 33 home runs and drive in 118. That would be a career year for most players in the majors. Matsui has never driven in 118 runs for the Yankees. Neither has Jeter or Posada. Giambi and Bernie have only driven in that many runs once each for the Yankees. Bobby Abreu has never driven in that many in his career.
33 home runs in a single season. Again no for Williams, Abreu, Posada, Matsui or Jeter.

Arod is having a subpar season FOR HIM. For anyone else on the team, it would be a fantastic year. The expectations are set so high for him, that he simply isn't allowed to fail. The worst thing that could happen is that he begins to press so much that he simply can't produce in NY anymore. If that fans and the press were to run Arod out of town it would really be a shame. I can't say at this point that Arod is going to go down in history as the greatest hitter ever to play, but he certainly has a chance to hit more home runs and drive in more runs than any player in history. I'm just going to glad to say that I got a chance to see him play everyday.

Yankee fans have a history of booing some of their greatest heroes. Mantle was constantly booed in NY for not being Joe Dimaggio. It wasn't until Maris came along that the fans found someone else they liked booing more. And Maris won back to back MVP's in '60 and '61. Jeter was booed in 2004 when he got off to a very slow start. Giambi was booed mercilessly at the beginning of last season until he began to hit home runs again. Every great pitcher the Yankees have had has been booed after a bad outing on the mound. The fans here just like to boo. It's not that they hate the player, but there is a certain percentage of the fans who feel that since they have paid for their ticket and their $8 beer, that they have a right to boo. And of course they do. Booing, like cheering is part of the game. The problem is that some players take that kind of response to heart. I'm not saying that Arod is such a wimp that a little booing is affecting him, but it certainly isn't helping.

Arod is going to be fine. In fact the Yankees need him to be fine if they plan on getting anywhere in the playoffs this year. I just hope that the boo birds at the stadium realize that the next time he strikes out.



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