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Sports & Fitness // Hot Air
Steve Murray

A-Rod Not Yankees Only Concern

At the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York last week, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney jokingly jabbed the media, saying his job is to lay out a positive vision for the future of the country, and it’s the media’s job to make sure no one finds out about it.

No doubt it’s a sentiment the presidential hopeful shares with Midwest baseball fans who don’t understand why Detroit’s starting pitching or St. Louis’ success post-Albert Pujols is not the national story line.

That’s not sarcasm. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in New York is discussed, dissected and disseminated for months.

Alex Rodriguez (12 Ks and a .120 batting average in the playoffs) will dominate post-World Series coverage. And as it turns out, Rodriguez is as unlucky at love as he is against right-handed pitching. For those who had more important things to worry about, Rodriguez spent some of his off time on the bench hitting up an attractive fan for her phone number. ARod has denied the reports, which is a shame. It was the closest a Yankee came to scoring in a week of games.

Detroit deserves all available accolades for its success against baseball’s most over-paid, and suddenly under-performing, lineup. But this series was about the Yankees who either didn’t care, didn’t know how or were just too mentally weak to compete against a stubborn and talented opponent. Yes, good pitching can overwhelm good hitters, but who knew the Yankees had the emotional strength of a pubescent girl on prom night?

As reported by the New York Daily News, the booing by Yankee fans in Game 2 had so affected the team they had no choice but to rush home and eat ice cream from the container while trying to find solace in the neurotic and emotional world of Cathy Andrews Hillman (star of the cartoon Cathy).

“I really think the booing spooked a lot of guys,” said an unnamed player. “A lot of guys were talking about it in the clubhouse … I really don’t think they ever recovered.”

The Yankees’ problems go beyond the five years and $118 million owed to A-Rod, and the serious need for a testicular transplant. New York batted .188, scored 22 runs and struck out 83 times in the playoffs. Against Detroit, the Yankees scored just six runs in four games and led not once.

What the Yankees will do is anyone’s guess. Moving A-Rod is a no-brainer, but who is going to pay $23 million a year for a once-great hitter who is circling the drain? In the days of King George, the Yankees may have eaten 75 percent of the contract to rid themselves of an unwanted player, but now that son Hal wants New York under the luxury tax limit, that doesn’t seem likely.

Curtis Granderson hit 43 home runs this season but struck out a career high 195 times while his batting average hit a career low .232. Derek Jeter was a stud but needs ankle surgery and will turn 39 at midseason. Ichiro was reinvigorated having something to play for, but is 39 and no longer the dominant player he was. Raul Ibanez is 40 and hit only .197 against left-handers. Yankee pitchers, including C.C. Sabbathia who had elbow problems this year, don’t instill much fear in opponents, and Mariano Rivera will be 43 and coming off a torn ACL.

Old, slow and emotionally weak doesn’t cut it in New York, or anywhere else.

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