Friday, June 01, 2007

Dirty A-Rod?

With the Yankees coming to town, Shaughnessy focuses on the "Pinstripe piñata" aka A-Rod. Specifically, he discusses whether A-Rod was guilty of a dirty play earlier this week as he yelled at the Toronto infield as they were about to catch a pop up.

Outside of yet another gratuitous shot at Schilling (enough already!), I thought Shaughnessy did a good job with this article to even include the aforementioned piñata nickname. He actually did some leg work and interviewed a whole host of former players and got a rather wide variety of opinions of whether A-Rod was being clever or bush. I particularly like the quote he pulls out from Red Auerbach at the end

Whenever there is pressure to win on any coach or team you will find men deviating from what is considered the way of good sportsmanship. It is up to the player himself to decide what is 'dirty' and what is 'tricky.' "

My only critique is that Shaughnessy tries to parallel A-Rod's particular play with a host of other similar types of plays without acknowledging there are shades of gray along the spectrum. I would suggest, for example, there is a difference between players talking to each other on the basketball court (an example from his Auerbach reference) and what A-Rod tried to do. Shaughnessy does not make the effort to tease out those nuances so as to make a suggestion as to where the line between dirty and acceptable is.

Otherwise, a pretty enjoyable read if you ask me


paul said...

Not a bad column today from Shank. (See, OB. We can be nice). It was a good bit of objective (there's that word again) reporting. He presents both sides of the argument citing examples and expert testimony.

Ultimately, he sides with A-Rod but that's to be expected. I'm sure if the Sox manage to sign A-Rod next year, Shank will welcome him with open arms. (Then maybe he'll root, root, root for the home team).

Again, good column but you know what they say about the blind squirrel...

Shawn said...

Well done, Dave. Congrats on the even-handedness of the critique today. It was a pretty good column.

I'm totally with Jim Palmer on this. It was a psych play. As much as I hate to disagree with Mr. Pesky, you're telling me that Ty Cobb never did this? Rodriguez probably never expected that to work, and the Blue Jays weren't mad that he did it, they were mad that they fell for it. They looked like idiots hopping around and screaming out there. If this is one of the Unwritten, then why don't they just quietly turn to page 2 of that rule book and drill him in the ribs the next time he faces them? The game polices itself, and the circle of life continues.

By making such a big stink now, when they DO eventually hit him, everyone is going to know why and baseball's going to end up suspending the poor pitcher.

dbvader said...

Two things struck me that haven't been mentioned.
First, Dan had the decency to write that Rodriguez had been splashed across the tabloids and left it at that. He had to mention the subject as much as it might be a distraction or effect Rodriguez's image, but did not have to mention the underlying situation that never should have been in the news.

Second, there is another example of terrible writing by Dan. He is mentioning the unwritten rules and then dumps in this sentence: "The old hidden ball trick is a baseball ploy that infuriates the opposition." There is no attempt to smooth the transition to the new topic. It appears out of nowhere and is irrelevant to Rodriguez's yelling.

Kevin said...

DB, that sentence follows a list of "unwritten rules" and the implication is that is one of them. Awkward writing perhaps, but Dan is only trying to say it is one of many things that players do that some think they shouldn't. It's not dumped in out of nowhere given the context of the list that precedes it. I think calling it 'terrible' might be a reach.

The obvious frustration for me has already been mentioned, and that's adding that ridiculous shot at Curt for no reason other than to needle him.

Anonymous said...

Ty Cobb was an arsewipe. If he pulled a similar trick, it would not have been out of character.

Here's a list of those who agree with CHB and back A-Rod:

Ozzie Guillen
Barry Bonds
Charlie Sheen (?)
Tommy Lasorda

Nice list, huh? Meanwhile, Goose Gossage, on WFAN, says that if someone pulled that on his team, he'd get drilled.

And according to Edes in the Globem a similar play recently happened in college, between Texas and Missouri. The baserunner was called out for interference. "It's a good trick," Texas coach Augie Garrido later told the San Antonio Express-News. "But it's been used a lot. In the pros, they'll bean you if you try that."

dbvader said...

What about the hidden ball trick is an unwritten rule? He talked about the trick only because Walpole Joe had a good story about it and Dan wanted to use it regardless of whether it fit.

Shawn said...

anon (1:56):

Thanks for proving my point. Also, the NCAA specifically prohibits verbal interference, MLB rules do not:

Sec. 5.3. No offensive team members, either in or out of the lineup, shall physically or verbally hinder, confuse or impede any defensive player who is attempting to make a play. [1]

Therefore the player in the college game was correctly ruled out.

Anonymous said...

//Thanks for proving my point.//

What point? That A-Rod is also an arsewipe?

Bottom line, what A-Rod did wasn't horribly, mind-blowingly bad. But it was cheap and classless, following a disturbing pattern of behavior. The world's best player acting worse that a Little Leaguer? How ridiculous is that?

At any rate, when the Yankees play the Blue Jays, A-Rod's going to get drilled. And he'd better not whine about it.

bandit said...

At any rate, when the Yankees play the Blue Jays, A-Rod's going to get drilled. And he'd better not whine about it.

Hopefully he'll get drilled tonight and he will whine about it

Kevin said...

DB, I won't (can't) argue that Dan is a hack, but adding the point about the hidden ball trick fits with the context of the preceding paragraph as a tactic that some teams employ, to both the disgust (calling it bush) and acceptance (gaining an edge) of some, which is the reaction A-Rod's yell has generated.

Dan has had some truly terrible columns, but in this case I think it's an overstatement.

soxfaninny said...

Shank and the rest of the media have it wrong. What A-Rod did was "interference" according to MLB rules.

read this

soxfaninny said...

oh and before anyone argues that verbal interference isn't prohibited forget it...the word "act" in the MLB rules does not have a qualifying word before it..therefore it is an inclusive term...i.e. it includes verbal and physical "acts"...and since when isn't yelling a physical act?

dbvader said...

There are certain things you just don't do. You don't talk about your pitcher's no-hitter while the game is in progress, you don't bunt to break up a no-hitter, you don't steal bases or swing at 3-and-0 pitches with a big lead, you don't peek at the catcher's signs when you are hitting, and you must join the scrum if your teammates are in a brawl.

The old hidden ball trick is a baseball ploy that infuriates the opposition.

How does Shank integrate "things you just don't do" with the hidden ball trick, which "infuriates the opposition"? There is nothing to suggest that these two things are related, that the hidden ball trick is something "you just don't do." Shank wanted to include an amusing anecdote (that sounds like BS) to fill out a column.

Anyone else notice that Bob Ryan has Red Sox scouts backing Pedroia as a legit 2B even while he struggled? Interesting to note the contrast with Shank's theory that Pedroia represented a division between the number crunchers and the old-school stats guys.

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