RECOMMENDED ARTICLE

See? Even the ESPN writers think the Yankees need A-Rod next year (even if it is because they are desperate for offense)! I AM NOT CRAZY! A-Rod 4 lyfe, yo. #FORG1V3

http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/11601154/new-york-yankees-joe-girardi-need-alex-rodriguez

Thank You #2

Dear Derek Jeter,

I just wanted to take a break from crying to say thank you. I wanted to say thank you for all that you have done for the Yankees and all you have done for baseball. It seems silly to think that one player could have such an impact on the sport, but you proved everyone wrong. Who would have guessed that this string-bean kid from Michigan would be the face of baseball for over twenty years? It seems like a fairy tale, almost.

Derek, I also wanted to take this moment to apologize for not jumping on the Jeter-train sooner. I am sorry during the 2001 World Series I chanted “Derek Jeter is a cheater!”. You have never been a cheater and I am sorry. I am not sorry the Yanks lost, but I am sorry I couldn’t appreciate your team and your talent. Perhaps I was too young to understand, but I am old enough now. I can look back and smile at everything that happened that year. Whenever I see the clip of you becoming “Mr.November”, I cheer. When I see everything you have done in the post-season, I smile. I am so sorry I thought so poorly of you when I was younger. I was wrong. Dead wrong.

I have your name on the back of a t-shirt. Whenever I wear it, people seem to understand what the name represents. Even Red Sox fans don’t mock me when I wear that shirt. Who would’ve thought that a player could transcend the biggest rivalry in sports? Thank you, Jeets, for being an ambassador.

Thank you for being such a classy figure. Yes, you dated every model on planet earth and a few actresses, but you kept it classy the whole way. The way you handle yourself is amazing. You are the definition of a true professional. The way you “re2pect” the game in enviable. No matter what shenanigans are happening within the clubhouse or off the field, you never wavered. You never caused drama. You stood above it all, like a New York skyscraper. I am also sorry for that cheesy simile. I had to do it, I couldn’t just let that reference go!

I am sorry I never got to watch you play in person. Living in AZ makes it kinda tricky, but I am super sad that I never got to see The Captain right in front of me. It’s more a hardship for me than it is for you, but I just thought I would say sorry I could never lend my voice in cheering for you. I am sorry I never cheered your name during role call, unless you count me cheering it from my sofa. I was there in spirit, but for some reason, that is just not good enough.

I am hoping you send me $2 because that is what you owe me for kleenex. I have gone through a few boxes crying these last few days, crying because I was sad to see you go and crying because I am happy I got to witness your greatness in the last few years. I know times were tough these last couple of years, but you stuck with it. You never once wanted an injury to end your career, which just shows what kind of a player you are. You called the shots, just like you always have. You wouldn’t let anyone else tell you when you were finished. Thank God.

Lastly, I wanted to say thank you for being an inspiration to me. You know what? An “inspiration” just doesn’t cut it. You are far more than that to me. I think the better word is “hero”. You, Derek Jeter, are one of my heroes. If someone asked me for a list of my heroes, it would be (in no particular order): Jesus, my parents, Bruce Springsteen, the guy who created mac and cheese shaped like SpongeBob, my cat Willey (RIP), and Derek Jeter. That is quite a cast of company you keep! You should be honored! (You know, Derek, if you wanna hear about my cat Willey, you should write me back. It’s quite a story!)

Anyway, I could write a book about your awesomeness. I am sure I am forgetting to say something right now! Your hits, your doubles, your signature plays, your batting average, your accolades, the list goes on and on. Sure, that stuff is important, but I think I speak for all fans when I say that you will be remembered for so much more. You will be remembered as one of the greatest Yankees of all time, and not only that, but one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

I will see you again in 5 years when you are making your Hall of Fame speech. Maybe I will show up for that. After all, it’s the least I could do.

Thank you, Derek. Thank you, Captain. Thank you, hero.
I will miss you!
Love,
Hannah

Sympathy for the Devil (A-Rod)

Okay, okay, so maybe Alex Rodriguez is not the devil, but the way some people are talking, you’d think he is. During a press conference earlier today with New York’s golden boy Derek Jeter (whom I love), MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was asked about my main man A-Rod. His response? He isn’t my problem anymore, he’s the Yankees’ problem now.

WARNING! RANT AHEAD! READ WITH CAUTION!

Okay. I get it. A-Rod did cause quite a problem. He has been causing problems in some form or fashion since he got to the big leagues. He’s a polarizing dude. And he sure made a massive stink during the whole Biogenesis thing. But wouldn’t you? If I’m A-Rod, I would be hella pissed that the MLB offices are coming after me so fervently. I’m pissed that I got a 162 game suspension when my pal Ryan Braun only got 65 games. Who cares if I interfered with the investigation? Braun accused the pee collector of not doing his job right, which in a way is interfering. If I’m A-Rod, I’m fighting this thing tooth and nail.

If I’m the Yanks, I don’t view him as a “problem”, at least not right now. It’s petty, but once Jeter is gone next year, the Yanks will something to drum up attention and what better way to do that than A-Rod? The guy is a lightning rod (pun unintentionally totally intended)! If he can still play come Spring Training, even better. Heck, even if he can only hit that’s fine. We can use him as DH! Honestly, the only problem the Yanks will have is if he can’t play at all. If he can at least hit, he will be the highest paid DH in history. But you know what? I don’t care. A-Rod is under contract and he says he will be ready. I will take his word until I am proved wrong (and I am REALLY hoping I’m not).

It’s no secret that I am not a fan of how Alex was treated during MLB’s investigation and I do think it was a witch-hunt. MLB seemed to make up the rules as they went and that is not okay with me. I don’t think A-Rod should have gone all sue-happy, that was really stupid, but that’s his choice. I could write a book about how crappy A-Rod’s deal was, but I don’t have that kind of time, patience, or IQ. All you need to know is that I am not pleased.

There is a difference between a player being a problem and causing problems. Perhaps I am over-thinking what Bud Selig had to say. I am sure I am. Over-thinking is something I happen to be very good at. Anyway, I think we need to be careful about how we approach this. After all, once Monday rolls around, A-Rod will officially be a Yankee again, at least for now. And I will support him. Unless he sucks. Well, actually, I will still root for him even if he does suck. What can I say? I’m a forgiving person. Besides, somebody has to root for him.

Okay. Rant over. Thanks for listening.

RECOMMENDED ARTICLE

With all of the hype surrounding Derek Jeter’s final year, we have forgotten about another giant who is retiring: Paul Konerko. He was the perfect guy to represent Chicago and reporters haven’t forgotten it. This is a nice collection of memories from reporters about Paulie and it is a nice send off for the big guy.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/whitesox/ct-paul-konerko-reporters-spt-0923-20140923-story.html?dssReturn#page=1&z=55413

The Great Second-Half Collapses

If I told you in May that the Oakland Athletics would not have clinched the AL West title, that the Atlanta Braves were not going to make the post-season, or that the hot-hot-hot Brewers would be all but forgotten, would you believe me? The answer is no, you probably wouldn’t. Back in May, everyone was picking Oakland to make it to the World Series, myself included. I would’ve guessed that Atlanta would have gotten a Wild Card spot, along with the Brewers. But, alas, this is not going to happen. These three teams have had the most unprecedented collapses this year and everyone is surprised.

Let’s start with Oakland. This is the one team everyone was sure, at the very least, would clinch their division. The talent on this team was undeniable and it’s still there, but something is off. This is not the Oakland team we knew and loved. Yoenis Cespedes is gone, traded to Boston for the still-brilliant Jon Lester and the problems seem to be stemming from that. The offense has been substantially quieter since they traded away their Home Run Derby champ, which has been problematic. Every starting pitcher they have had or have brought in have been fantastic, but the offense can’t get things going. Yes, the A’s are still in the Wild Card hunt, but they need to finish this season on a VERY strong note. Not only that, but they are going to need to win the one-and-done wild-card deciding game. Then, if they make it that far, they will STILL have to play some pretty killer teams. With the Angels meteoric rise to clinch the AL West, the division I had pegged as “weak-ish” at the beginning of the year suddenly became stellar. If the A’s can make it to the ALDS, I think they will be fine. But, then again, I said that last year, too.

Besides the Cardinals, the Braves have been a post-season staple (ok, a NLDS staple since they can’t seem to actually get further than that) for the last number of years. Atlanta is a team that has always been good, and for the first half the year, that held true. But then, the Nationals hog the NL East spotlight. The Nats were the team I picked to win the division because they are the overall best team in baseball, but I could not have foreseen the Braves just crumbling. Their offense has been near last in just about every category you can think of since the All-Star break. This is a team who has so much super-star potential, yet there some serious disconnect happening. Today they fired their GM and more cuts are likely to happen. How crazy is that?

Lastly, the Brewers were a team that surprised us constantly this season. They surprised us early on by being so good and they are surprising us now by scrambling for a Wild Card position. They held the lead in the NL Central for most of the season and looked like the team to the beat in the post-season, but they are currently shadows of their former selves. Their “average” pitching has finally pooped out and they cannot seem to hold leads for very long. If I were them, I would harness the power of Hank the Ballpark Dog. Hell, let Hank pitch! He might do better than some of their current staff, and gosh he is ten-times cuter.

What does all this mean? Well, this gives us some optimism that the Brewers could be quite good next year if they get some pitching. It means the Atlanta is in a time of transition, which could take a few years to figure out. They will always be good, but as long as you have the Nats in your division, good luck. As for Oakland? Well, let’s hope they go far this post-season or people will be second-guessing Billy Beane more than they already are. Remember: the players Beane got are basically rentals. I can’t see Lester staying after this year (Lester! Hey, Lester! You should maybe consider coming to the Bronx. Pretty please? Maybe? Please?) and it is tough to figure out who else will stay. These teams have disappointed plenty during the second half of this season, but I have faith that Oakland will at least make it to the post-season. I hope they do. Oakland still has time to turn it around, but time is something they don’t have much of.