Friday, October 7, 2011


News flash, baseball fans...  Detroit beat the Yankees last night, so no 28th World Title for them this year.
As a long time Yankee fan, I'm not even upset so much that they lost.  The Tigers are a great team.  And they're young, so they have all the potential that the Rays had before they blew up against the Phillies a few years ago.  The way they played last night, they deserved to win.  So here's my problem: what happened to the emotion in baseball?
Sure, guys get upset when a pitcher throws inside, and once in a while they'll get really upset and charge the mound (not condoning, just pointing out).  And when a team wins a playoff series there's the obligatory dogpile on the pitcher's mound.  But what about those little moments?  Here's the best example from last night's game:  bases loaded on the seventh with one out.  Who's up but my least favorite Yankee of all time, Alex Rodriguez.  I refuse to call him A-Rod, and I'm not even going to pretend I'm sorry, either.  One swing, a single over the infielder's head, could've put two runs across and change the whole game.  Other times I've seen him just stand in with the bat on his shoulder and take the strikeout.  But to his credit, he was swinging last night.  He at least made the pitcher work for it, but he struck out all the same.  In Game 5 of the ALDS.  With the bases LOADED, and a chance to put his team ahead.  So what does he do?  He walks back to the dugout, gingerly puts his bat back on the rack, and goes along on his merry way.
I can't help but think back to older Yankees teams, when they had guys like Don Mattingly (my favorite player ever), Dave Winfield, or even Paul O'Neill.  He was the most interesting one to watch, because if they were AHEAD and he struck out, he was knocking the water cooler over and breaking chairs in the clubhouse.  Now don't get me wrong here. I'm not condoning tearing up the clubhouse, but when those guys messed up or had a bad game, you could see all over their faces that they were pissed off about it.  You could tell that these guys cared about what they were doing, and you could see that it mattered to them when they didn't do well.
What I see now is that everybody is swinging for the fences every time up, instead of trying to move runners.  And if they don't hit one out?  Oh well, I'm still making millions guaranteed, so keep it moving.  Guys like Mattingly, Winfield, Willie Randolph, Pete Rose (no matter what he did of the field, he was still one of the best players ever, but that's a subject for another day), and a lot of others from that time, cared about the game.  And watching them made me care about it too.  I just don't see that in a lot of guys they have now, like Rodriguez.
But then again, Mattingly, Rose, Randolph and O'Neill weren't making 30 million a season, either.

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