This is for you, Dr. B. :?
New viewpoint for Red Sox Nation
This is for you, Dr. B. :?
July 15, 2004
Jeter and Rodriguez: A Study in Peaceful Coexistence
By TYLER KEPNER
Alex Rodriguez, left, and Derek Jeter have become comfortable as teammates. Rodriguez is relentlessly complimentary; Jeter is quick to make jokes.
The topic causes Alex Rodriguez to wince, the way a person might when opening a cabinet and finding a moldy loaf of bread. Whatever happened to the supposed strain in his relationship with Derek Jeter? Rodriguez prods for specifics, and when his fateful magazine interview is cited, he recoils. It is a stale and useless topic, he insists.
"That's that old song and dance,'' Rodriguez said on a recent road trip, sitting on a couch in the Yankees' clubhouse. ''It's never come up. We have a very good relationship. That was six years ago. That's the furthest thing on my mind.''
Just then, as if on cue, Jeter entered the clubhouse wearing a snazzy new suit and walked past Rodriguez. Rodriguez hopped off the couch and rushed to Jeter's locker, examining the outfit, smiling and nodding his approval.
It has actually been only three years, not six, since Rodriguez diminished Jeter in Esquire as never having to lead the Yankees and never being a focal point for opposing teams. But it must seem as if it happened in another lifetime. Jeter and Rodriguez are comfortably joined as Yankees teammates, and their first half-season has revealed none of the insecurities that seemed possible.
The relationship was bound to be scrutinized after the Yankees acquired Rodriguez from Texas in a February trade, shifting him to third base so Jeter could stay at short. Jeter and Rodriguez wanted to project the right image in spring training, Manager Joe Torre said, so they agreed to joint interviews and photo shoots to show that they would coexist. It was a genuine attempt, Torre said, and it worked.
''I think they made a conscious effort to do that, without forcing it,'' Torre said. ''It wasn't work for them to do that. But I think they went out of their way to accept all these interviews together, because they felt that it was necessary just so it wouldn't appear that they didn't want to do them. It probably took more time for them, but I think they understood why it had to happen.''
When Jeter struggled in the first two months of the season, people outside the team used Rodriguez's presence to explain the slump. But to those around the team, the theory made no sense.
Why would Jeter, so famously preoccupied with winning, be troubled by teaming with an even brighter star?
''From everything I've seen, heard or gathered, he really wouldn't care if you brought in anyone as long as he'd help the team win,'' reliever Paul Quantrill said. ''He's grown up with that in this organization. That is the ultimate goal and the only goal. It's bred into him. He's not a guy who's going to be bothered by playing with A-Rod. With A-Rod out there, he can help us have a better chance of winning.''
Jeter and Rodriguez do not commute to and from the ballpark together, as they might have envisioned when they entered the major leagues in the mid-1990's and became fast friends. But they interact easily in the way friendly teammates usually do, often chatting or joking with each other. After watching Rodriguez celebrate a home run last Saturday, Jeter mimicked his celebration in the dugout.
''Derek's always making fun of me,'' Rodriguez said. ''I enjoy it.''
Jeter's locker is closest to the trainer's room on one side of the Yankees' home clubhouse, and Rodriguez's is closest to the players' lounge on the opposite side. Neither is at his locker very often, especially at home.
''You don't really see him in here much,'' Jeter said of Rodriguez. ''He's usually in the video room, or I don't even know where he is most of the time. You don't really see him after batting practice until we're on the field. He's gone most of the time. You'll see him in there eating, but that's about it.''
Rodriguez's range at third base has allowed Jeter to play closer to the middle at shortstop, but, Jeter said, there is not much he can learn from watching Rodriguez at bat.
''I'm not a home run hitter, and I'm not going to learn to hit home runs from watching him play,'' Jeter said.
Even before Jeter's catch-and-crash into the stands against the Red Sox on July 1, Rodriguez called Jeter the best shortstop he had ever seen at pursuing fly balls. Rodriguez has tried to learn from this, and he has picked up Jeter's habit of tracking a pitcher's velocity by peeking into the stands for a signal from the Yankees staffer working the radar gun.
Rodriguez has been relentlessly complimentary of Jeter, often calling him the heartbeat of the team and saying that the Yankees feed off his energy.
''To me, it's truly been a dream come true to play with him and to be a New York Yankee,'' Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez has played shortstop just once, when Jeter's catch against Boston forced him out of the game in the 12th inning. It was awkward, Rodriguez said, comparing the feeling to playing in the middle of the ocean.
It is unlikely that Rodriguez had completely lost the feeling of shortstop after 1,267 major league games there and a few months away from it. But shortstop at Yankee Stadium is Jeter's ground, and Rodriguez seemed to be respecting that.
The day after Jeter's catch, Rodriguez spoke at length at his locker in Shea Stadium. On another occasion, the conversation might have been about Rodriguez's first career game at a ballpark he once hoped to call home. Instead, he spoke glowingly about Jeter.
''He has that Magic Johnson thing, where you can't measure his game in numbers,'' Rodriguez said, mentioning Jeter's childhood basketball hero. ''I told him the other day, 'You're a lot greater player than I thought you were, and I thought you were great already.' "
Rodriguez's incandescence has not quite shown. In player balloting for the All-Star Game, Rodriguez finished behind his former Texas teammate Hank Blalock at third base. (Jeter finished behind another Ranger, Michael Young, at shortstop.)
Rodriguez has a .270 average, 22 homers and 58 runs batted in - comparable first-half numbers to last season's most valuable player performance - but he is batting .217 (18 for 83) with runners in scoring position.
Torre believes Rodriguez simply needs to relax, and he has talked with him about it. Rodriguez said he enjoyed his chats with Torre, but he insisted he is relaxed and having fun.
''I wish sometimes it was all about relaxing,'' Rodriguez said, adding later: ''With all the circumstances, it hasn't been too bad. But it'll get better.''
It has been a year of adjustments for Rodriguez, to a new team, a new city and a new position, and to impending fatherhood; his wife, Cynthia, is expecting their first child this fall.
The easiest adjustment of all may be playing beside Jeter, whose status as a leader is never doubted anymore.
''These guys go back so far,'' Torre said. ''Even in spite of that little thing that was in that magazine, they've never strayed from each other.''
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
July 27, 2004
Red Sox Can Take Aim at Yanks, but They'll Hit Themselves
By MURRAY CHASS
David Ortiz and Johnny Damon celebrated the Red Sox' series win over the Yankees last weekend.
CONSIDERING that winning two of three from the Yankees last weekend was the most positive development for the Red Sox since they won six of seven from the Yankees in April, what are we to make of them with 63 games left in the season?
The best that can be said for them is that after their 12-5 victory over Baltimore last night, they hold a slim lead in the American League wild-card race. Despite what their fans think, their two-of-three weekend festival didn't make any statements that the Red Sox will be able to overtake the Yankees in the American League East race.
Although the Red Sox say all they want to do is get to the playoffs - where they would have a chance to knock off the Yankees or advance to the World Series while someone else knocked off the Yankees - ideally they would like to supplant the Yankees in first place and let the Yankees scramble for the wild card.
But barring a collapse of the Yankees' starting pitching rotation, that scenario is unlikely to develop. The Red Sox still have a built-in capacity to shoot themselves in the foot, stumble over the foul lines and hit their heads on the dugout roof.
Remember, these are the Red Sox, and they are capable of self-destructive behavior in their intense, out-of-control desire to beat the Yankees.
But what if the Yankees' starting rotation does collapse? The Yankees have already had problems with it. Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina are on the disabled list. Brown hasn't pitched since June 9, missing eight starts. Mussina last pitched July 6; he has missed three starts.
Jon Lieber has been inconsistent. José Contreras has been enigmatic. Javier Vazquez has been the most successful starter, but even he has encountered difficulties periodically.
The Red Sox have had even worse problems with their rotation. Except for Pedro Martínez and Curt Schilling, the Boston pitchers have not instilled confidence in their teammates, manager and executives.
When the Red Sox added Schilling last winter, they thought they were set not only for the season but also for the postseason, especially the postseason. With Schilling, Martínez and Derek Lowe, they were prepared to take on anyone in a short series and emerge as the winner.
But unless Lowe turns his season around- and beating the Yankees on Sunday night does not constitute turning his season around - the Red Sox won't be overpowering anyone with their pitching, in a short series or over the remainder of the season.
The Yankees, whose pitching has been instrumental in their dominance of the league the previous eight seasons, have seen enough of their pitching this season to know it won't blow anyone away, either. That's why they want to wrest Randy Johnson from Arizona.
After his last few starts, which he has pitched well enough to win but has received little or no offensive support, Johnson may very well be ready to abandon the Diamondbacks' ship. He has given up five earned runs in his last four starts (none in two of the games), and has won none and lost two.
Three of the starts came in the team's 14-game losing streak, during which the Diamondbacks scored a total of 33 runs. In another circumstance, Johnson would have no alternative but to remain in Arizona and keep getting frustrated. But even though he can't demand a trade contractually, he most likely can prevail upon the Diamondbacks to trade him and save $22 million in salary this season and next.
Because Johnson can veto a trade, he can also dictate where Arizona trades him, and the Yankees seem to be the most likely destination since they offer the best chance for him to pitch in the World Series. His presence in their rotation, of course, would enhance the Yankees' chances of getting to the World Series.
If the trade is made, we can invoke a variation of President Reagan's line and say, "There they go again."
That's what infuriates other teams about the Yankees. Not only do they have an obscenely high payroll, but they also stand ready to spend more money to correct mistakes or bolster the troops. Evil Empire, indeed.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox have to overcome themselves, if not the Yankees. They might not be victims of the Curse of the Bambino - who, after all, believes in curses today? - but they are victims of their own mental state.
They so desperately want to beat the Yankees, their fans so desperately want them to beat the Yankees and their owners so desperately want them to beat the Yankees that they can't beat the Yankees.
Jason Varitek, the Boston catcher, demonstrated Red Sox desperation on Saturday when he precipitated a bench-clearing brawl by attacking Alex Rodriguez after Rodriguez was hit by a pitch. It's usually the hit batter who attacks the pitcher or catcher, but a hyper Varitek didn't wait for someone else to start it.
The Red Sox used to beat the Yankees; they won division titles in the 1980's and 90's when the Yankees were mediocre or worse. But the Yankees have not been mediocre the last nine years. They have been good, and they have been expensive.
The quality of the teams, incidentally, is why the rivalry works. It has not always been so. When one team or the other, or both, has been mediocre or poor, you couldn't sell the rivalry for two cents.
Except for individual games or series, though, the recent rivalry has been one-sided, and, it says here, will continue to be one-sided because the Red Sox won't beat the Yankees when it matters. They will beat themselves before they beat the Yankees.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
The Red Sox send their SS Garciaparra to the Cubs, and as part of a four team trade, acquire Cabrera.
Garciaparra drives in a run to help the Cubs win, and Cabrera commits an error to help the Red Sox lose.
It seems to me that the Red Sox are sick and tired of this Yankee curse, and want to create a new one. The Curse of Nomar sounds more ominous than the Curse of the Bambino.
Will there be a new powerhouse in the National League? There is already historical fodder for a book. When the Red Sox last won the World Series in 1918, they beat....the Cubs. :P
Alex Rodriguez is a huge son of a ****
what the hell is wrong with him??? he doesnt know how to bat!!
he has just been making harder to Yanks to win over the Angels...
AR playing more than baseball?
EXCLUSIVE: NY Yankee Making Late-Night Visits to Madonna's Apartment
Tuesday July 1, 2008
Us Weekly reports in its new issue, on newsstands tomorrow, that Madonna's seven-year marriage to Guy Ritchie has stalled out – and the singer has been hosting late-night visits from New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez at her Central Park West apartment in New York City.
A ringless and grim-faced Ritchie, 39, arrived in New York City from London yesterday after several weeks apart from his family. A source tells Us that the $28-million-a-year Rodriguez, 32, has made numerous solo nighttime visits to Madonna, 49, at her spacious home and would sneak out "as late as midnight." Says the source, "All the doormen are talking."
Rodriguez attended Madonna's April 30 NYC concert; the singer sat in his seats at a Yankees game on June 22 (it was the first time she ever was photographed at a Yankees game). Her son Rocco, 7, also sported Yankees gear on June 25 while playing in Central Park.
Rodriguez, married with two young daughters, has already faced speculation about cheating: In 2007, he and a stripper were reportedly spied in Toronto, Miami and Dallas.
Complicating matters: Former Yankee slugger Jose Canseco – who once dated Madonna – wrote in his book Vindicted that he "hates [A-Rod's] guts" because he once hit on his wife.
(Revisit Madonna's former loves.)
Madonna has been in NYC since the venerable Times of London confirmed that she consulted the same high-profile divorce attorney who worked with Paul McCartney and Prince Charles. Meanwhile, Us confirms Ritchie has also sought legal advice from Forsters law firm in London.
A-Rod's Yankees rep, when reached for comment, referred Us to their shared manager Guy Oseary. When reached by Us, Oseary hung up the phone. Madonna's rep, Liz Rosenberg, was not available.
Check out the new issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now, for exclusive details about Madonna's surprising friendship with A-Rod, how she fell in and out of love with Ritchie, what divorce would mean for her $600 million estate, and why a reconciliation isn't out of the question.
(See Madonna's picks for her worst outfits ever.)
Copyright 2008, Us Weekly
If A-Rod ends up on the disabled list again, we can all know why
Someone's gotta tell him he can do better than that.
If this does turn out true, and A-Rod and Madonna are cheating on their spouses, I'll laugh my arse off.
Not a huge fan of either of them.
Ben are you British? I remember you refered to 'college' as uni and now arse instead of ass?
I wonder what the wife thinks of Alex's "midnight-runs."