New York City might be big enough for two professional baseball teams, but only one franchise, and in most cases one player, will control the back pages. Last season that man was Derek Jeter. Now that his farewell tour has ended, I wasn’t sure if it ever would, there are two men who will fill that void. Matt Harvey and Alex Rodriguez are poised for a back page battle in their 2015 returns. But as was the case in ‘Highlander’ – there can be only one.
In 2013, Harvey took the league, and city, by storm. You could find him featured in ESPN Magazine: The Body Issue, participating in skits for ‘The Tonight Show’, on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Us Weekly (featuring his breakup with super model Annie V) and sitting courtside at Knicks/Rangers games. Oh, then there was the fact the he started the 2013 All-Star game at Citi Field. Almost forgot about his on the field dominance. Simply put, he was everywhere.
Unfortunately, Harvey’s rise to stardom was derailed by a season-ending elbow injury that led to Tommy John Surgery. Even while he missed the entire 2014 season recovering he grabbed more attention than his active teammates. Now, much of that has to do with the lackluster season the Mets put together. Nonetheless, Harvey has become a walking headline. Every interview, comment, appearance or tweet he made has become back page news.
Harvey’s combination of talent and brash have him on the cusp of taking the throne as King of NY. All eyes will be on him this spring as he returns to the mound.
Then there’s A-ROD. He is one of, if not the, most captivating figure in sports. Given where he stands in today’s media landscape, it’s easy to forget that A-ROD was once one of the most popular players in the game. That was long before he donned the pinstripes. As a young phenomenon he was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career and was on pace to break every record in the book. He earned the largest contract in professional sports history (he would later receive a second deal to top that). His little black book is filled with a “who’s who” of women in Hollywood. Then steroids came into the picture. Accusations occurred, denials were initially made and then apologies were ultimately issued.
A-ROD went on to become a World Series hero and all was forgiven. Or was it? Accusations of PED once again began to occur. A lot of them. Denials were once again made. Then a suspension was handed down. A big one (The largest in baseball history). And once again, an apology was issued. This time in the form of a handwritten note.
Here’s an excerpt:
“I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why and that’s on me. It was gracious of the Yankees to offer me the use of Yankee Stadium for this apology but I decided the next time I am in Yankee Stadium, I should be in pinstripes doing my job.”
People love to see the mighty crumble. As bad as that may sound, it’s true. Think about every featured story on the news, magazine covers or website homepages. More times than not you won’t be seeing any feel good stories. It’s almost always regarding someones downfall. Hence why these A-ROD scandals have been so widely reported. Sure, his story has become kind of repetitive. He’s almost like watching a rerun on TV. You’ve already seen the episode. But you enjoyed it so much the first time around that you decided to watch it again. Sound familiar?
I don’t care how many monuments the Yankees give out this season. A-ROD is the only Yankee story people care about.
The media aren’t the only ones excited for A-ROD’s return. Earlier this week Harvey himself said “If he is that dedicated and wants to come back then more power to him for going up to the organization like that, it shows a lot,” Harvey told the NY Post. “It will be exciting to see what he can do.”
No one epitomized a baseball player better than Derek Jeter. But I found myself becoming bored with him during those dog days of summer last season. I craved that polarizing figure. Someone who has a bit of a flair to him. I missed Matt Harvey. And at times, I can’t believe I’m saying this, I missed A-ROD..
Both The Mets and Yankees are projected to be in the playoff hunt this year, but neither are considered favorites. It’s been a while since these two were on roughly an even playing field. While winning is crucial in NY, it is considered almost equally as important to win those back pages. A-ROD, for both his on and (mostly) off the field actions, could be the Yankees only hope in this battle. While Matt Harvey will try to solidify himself as the new face of baseball in NY.
With the 2014 Subway Series getting underway tonight, it had me thinking back on all the great moments over the years. Although the series has lost some of its lust in recent years, it’s always fun when the Mets and Yankees meet.
These are my top 5 Subway Series moments (2000 World Series excluded):
5) “Mr. Koo” steals the show – May 21, 2005 Mets 7 Yankees 1 Shea Stadium
Dae-Sung Koo, better known as “Mr. Koo” to Mets fans, provided one of the more entertaining moments in Subway Series history. The left-handed reliever pitched the seventh inning with the Mets leading 2-0. In the bottom half of the inning, manager Bobby Valentine decided to let Koo hit. In his only other career at bat, Koo went down looking at three straight pitches.
This time he was due to face Randy Johnson, arguably the most intimidating left-handed pitcher in history. Koo, then shocked the city. He connected and took a ball deep to center field for a stand up double, but that was only the beginning. Jose Reyes then bunted for a single and Koo hustled to score all the way from second base with a nifty slide at the plate. This brought about plenty of smiles and laughter from the Mets bench and fans alike.
My favorite part of that story is when it was later revealed that the jacket he wore on the bases still had weighted baseball in it. That would be the last at bat of his short-lived career.
4) First ever Subway Series game – June 16, 1997 Mets 6 Yankees 0 Yankee Stadium
When inter league play was first introduced, there were mixed emotion across baseball. Purist opposed the idea, wanting to keep the World Series as the only time teams from opposite leagues would meet. But I think most of those opinions were changed when the games were wildly popular and well received among fans.
There was a buzz in the city as the Mets visited Yankee stadium for the very first match up. Journeyman starter Dave Mlicki was on the mound and made it a one man show. Mlicki threw a complete game shutout, as the Mets won the first ever subway series game in dominant fashion behind Mlicki’s curveball.
(Video is only footage of the last out of the game, Mlicki striking out Derek Jeter with his signature curveball)
3) Matt Franco beats Mariano Rivera – July 10, 1999 Mets 9 Yankees 8 Shea Stadium
In 1999, the Yankees were right in the middle of their dynasty reign. Mariano Rivera had now established himself as the best closer in the game and seemed to never blow a save. While the Mets were just starting to come together, as this scrappy bunch was on their way to making the franchise relevant once again.
With the Mets trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth, it appeared the game was over as Mr. Sandman came on close things out. But the Mets put a rally together and loaded the bases for pinch-hitter Matt Franco. He was able to put a line drive into right field scoring Ricky Henderson and Edgardo Alfonso to win the game in walk-off fashion. Although the Mets would go on to win a few games against Rivera over the years, this was the first and by far the most memorable.
This is my personal favorite Subway Series moment. I remember watching that game and feeling a mixture of shock and enjoyment that the Mets were able to beat the great Mariano Rivera.
2) Luis Castillo drops the ball – June 12, 2009 Yankees 9 Mets 8 Yankee Stadium
Ah yes, the Luis Castillo dropped fly ball. It was one of those games that everyone seems to remember what they were doing and where they watched this memorable blunder. With 2 outs in the 9th inning, closer Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) got Alex Rodriguez to pop up for what looked to be the final out of the game. In what could only happen to the Mets, Castillo began to look nervous as he circled underneath the ball and inevitably dropped it. With the runners hustling, the Yankees were able to not only tie, but win the game.
This play will live forever in the blooper reels.
1) Roger Clemens beams Mike Piazza – July 8, 2000 Yankees 4 Mets 2 Yankee Stadium
I’ve been to quite a few Subway Series games in my time, there have probably been only a handful of years where I didn’t attend at least one game, but this was by far the most memorable one. What people tend to forget was the sheer dominance that Mike Piazza had against Roger Clemens, going 7-12 with two home runs leading up to this game. Simply put, Piazza owned “The Rocket”.
Clemens, was notorious throughout his career for being a head hunter. He never hesitated to brush a batter off the plate and putting one right underneath their chin when he desired. In this case he took it too far, Clemens struck Piazza right on the bill of his helmet that left Piazza in a dazed and confused state around home plate.
Yankee stadium was full of commotion the moment Piazza went down. Conflicting chants, arguments and fights broke out. It was probably the only time I felt like I was at something other than a baseball game, hard to explain just what it was like to be in the crowd that night.
Might not be for the best of reasons, but nonetheless, this is certainly the most memorable moment from the Subway Series.
Of course this wasn’t the last moment between these two, but we’ll leave that story for another day.
Comedian and late night talk show host Chelsea Handler made headlines by ripping apart Alex Rodriguez on the Howard Stern show yesterday. I’m not really sure how this all came about, but it has caused quite a stir.
Handler, was presumably on the Stern show to promote her new book, her E! television show or something else that I care very little about, but instead AROD became the focal point of conversation. I guess he was used as a punching bag on her show for plenty of easy laughs, just like every other comedian has been doing for the last several years. There isn’t a much easier target than Rodriguez these days, who has provided us all with endless opportunities to put him on the butt end of our jokes.
Apparently AROD took it upon himself to approach Handler in an attempt to smooth things over at a party they both were attending.
In which she allegedly responded with “Get away, you’re disgusting,” Handler said “You’re gross.”
Rodriguez, according to Handler, responded, “Why am I gross? We got off on the wrong foot. I read all of your books. I’m a big fan.”
Handler claims she replied, “I don’t know why you’re a big fan. I think you’re a fucking asshole.” Handler added that she doesn’t like the way Rodriguez conducts himself, saying he is “a buffoon.” She also said a personal assistant to A-Rod e-mailed her to set up a meeting between the two, and she replied, “Pass.”
I mean, alright, good for her. I guess. But does anyone truly care about this confrontation? She is well-known for her outspoken personality and no holds barred comedy routines, but not very much for her coverage of the sporting world. AROD has been taking blows from seemingly everybody these days, from the commissioner’s office, his fellow players, comedians and just about every other media outlet in this country, I don’t see why this is so special.
If this helps Handler sell more books or increase her ratings, more power to her, but unless you have a whole chapter in your new book about AROD, who cares? Maybe she could give us her fantasy baseball thoughts while she’s at it. As much as I dislike him, these remarks and stories have grown old on me. I’m glad we can both agree on our hatred of Rodriguez, but find something new to talk about. You’re only helping to keep him in the spotlight by mentioning his name on a show as powerful as Howard Sterns, the world’s a better place without AROD in the headlines.
It appears the Mets young ace is back on the market. It has been widely reported today that Matt Harvey and super model girlfriend Anne V have broken up. To read any gossip news about the end of their relationship feel free to read here.
As I have previously written, What Matt Harvey does off the field doesn’t bother me, as long as he continues to perform when he takes the mound. I really don’t care for this sort of news, it really does nothing for me. The only thing I hopes comes out of this, besides more tabloid headlines, is that Harvey will not be 100% committed to his rehab.
I know he has stated in the past few weeks that his goal is to return to the mound by the end of the 2014 season. While that is not a reasonable expectation for Mets fans to have, it’s that kind of attitude and drive to succeeded that we have quickly grown to love.
Let’s be realistic about this Anne V news, she might be the first girlfriend to help him grab the tabloids, but odds are she won’t be the last. Hopefully he follows more in David Wright and Derek Jeter’s footsteps and not AROD’s when it comes to his love life.
In case you’ve been in a coma, Alex Rodriguez has once again taken over the media landscape. You can find him on just about every network and see his face on the front and back page on any given day. And once again, it is for all the wrong reasons. I know the saying goes “Any publicity is good publicity”, but I beg the differ in this situation. For a team that is coming off a disappointing 2013 season, missing the playoffs for only the second time in the last 20 years, the Yankees should be looking for a clean slate in 2014.
AROD brought his circus on the road with him everywhere he went last year. He has now surpassed Barry Bonds and McGuire as the poster boy for Steroids in baseball, if not all of sports. His never-ending tabloid battle reached an all-time high in recently, after an arbitrator ruled him out for the entire 2014 season. Did anyone really expect him to walk away quietly from this? He instantly filed an injunction in federal court against Major League Baseball and is now suing his very own players union, claiming they “engaged in numerous acts that were arbitrary, capricious and taken in bad faith”. It official, AROD is now fighting this battle alone.
The biggest blow the Yankees look to overcome isn’t Alex Rodriguez, but rather how to overtake the defending World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox. If you remember just two years ago, the 2012 Red Sox season was more than a forgettable one. They finished in last place and had a season full of turmoil with Bobby Valentine leading the helm. There were grumblings of fights between players and the manager, the now infamous “chicken and beer” incident in their clubhouse and faced an onslaught of scrutiny from the media every step of the way. What did the Red Sox do? They wasted no time firing Bobby Valentine, the face of their new-found negative image and brought in guys like Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Johnny Gomes. This revamped their clubhouse culture and changed how the team was viewed both on and off the field, giving them the fresh start they so desperately needed.
Now I would say the Yankees are trying to follow in their footsteps. It has been a busy off-season bringing in Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann, all of which are hard-nosed players who will bring a different “feel” to this roster. But if the Yankees truly want a fresh start, they need to move on from the face of their own negativity, AROD. No matter what happens in the courtroom these next few months, they will be answering questions regarding him the entire season. It doesn’t matter if he is in uniform or not, he will still be in the news on a daily basis, making headlines for anything and everything, is that headache really worth it? As long as he is under a contract, he have an impact on this franchise.
I realize it’s easy for me to sit here and say just cut AROD and get it over with already, considering it isn’t my money being spent. Fair enough, I can’t argue with that. But assuming this 2014 suspension holds up, he will still be owed $61 million, before incentives, for the 2015-17 seasons. In my opinion, I feel that $61 million is best spent on ensuring he will be nowhere near this franchise. Let him go out and be someone else’s distraction, his numbers already show his production is on a steady decline and he will be 39-years-old by the time he is eligible to return. Sure they might suffer in 2014 with a hole at third base, but he wasn’t going to be here anyway. These are the New York Yankees, there’s no way you can tell me they won’t be able to find an able replacement by the start of the 2015 season.
The Yankees are the greatest franchise in all of sports, there’s no arguing that, but they are known for their off the field dramas as much as they are their World Series titles. From George Steinbrenner vs Billy Martin…Martin vs Reggie Jackson…Steinbrenner vs Dave Winfield…Steinbrenner vs MLB…Record breaking contracts … and now Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees always find a way to keep themselves in the spotlight. But now this story has grown old and if you want to give this team the best chance to win and earn the respect of america along the way, cut the most hated man in baseball.
This soap opera has run its course and I, along with millions of others, am ready for this program to be cancelled.
CC Sabathia had yet another rough outing last night. Sabathia surrendered 6 runs as he lasted only 5.1 innings against the Red Sox. This was already the ninth time he has allowed five or more runs in a game. The Yankees were able to get the offense going and win this game, but if their “ace” continues to pitch like this, it will be an uneventful fall in the Bronx.
This has easily been the worst season of Sabathia career, as he is pitching nowhere near the level we have become accustomed to seeing. CC has an 11-10 record with a 4.83 era. He is only 1 loss away from tying a career high for loses and there is still a month and a half of the season left to play. Sabathia is on pace to have his career worst numbers across the board.
Hiroki Kuroda has become the ace of this staff, no doubt about it. But if the Yankees are going to make any real run a spot in the playoffs, they will need CC to turn things around, and quickly. With the struggles of Pettitte and Hughes, they desperately need Sabathia to lock down games for them. The Yankees offense isn’t what it once was, they cannot simply out score every opponent on a regular basis anymore. They may of had a recent power surge but it is pitching that will ultimately make or break this teams season.
The biggest concern has to be his drop in velocity. Sabathia has always been a power pitcher, able to reach back and use his fastball to get himself out of jams. This is something that all power pitches go trough at some point in their careers. Except for maybe Nolan Ryan, all pitchers have to learn to make adjustments. It’s not that Sabathia has suddenly become a soft tossing lefty, he’s definitely not that, he just simply can’t reach back and hit 98 on the gun anymore. He will have to learn to pitch around the plate and hit his spots on a more regular basis as his mistakes across the plate are now being hit squarely.
The Yankees are hoping Sabathia is able to make these adjustments sooner rather as they have him under contract through the 2016 season. He is owed $71 million over the next three season and also has a vesting option for 2017 that could cost the Yankees another $25 million.
Although the Yankees did get 5 fantastic years and a championship out of that left arm, Sabathia’s extension could turn into yet another contract disaster.
I think I speak for everyone when I say I have had enough of Alex Rodriguez for a lifetime. With all of these conflicting stories floating around, I don’t know what to believe anymore. This story has so much drama, lies and backstabbing that it belongs on the SOAP network.
Everyday we have a new story about A-Rod. Whether it be regarding his PED use, his rehab assignments or a PR disaster, the media just can’t get enough of him. It’s not even that I blame the media, ok maybe a little bit, but Rodriguez brings this upon himself more than anyone else.
Yesterday for instance, A-Rod sought his OWN second opinion on his quad sprain. Now that sounds fine and all, until you hear he did it without the Yankees consent. Dr. Michael Gross is the man who A-Rod sought out for a second opinion. By midday his name could be found everywhere.
After first appearing as a guest on The Mike Francesa Show to give his MRI prognosis, he went on to talk to just about any other media outlet that would talk to him. He would not say how this all came about, but did say he was “enjoying his 5 minutes of fame”. Sounds like he found the perfect doctor for this situation.
This has all become an absolute joke. why did A-Rod even have to seek out a second opinion on a grade 1 quad sprain? This isn’t exactly a severe injury that should require another doctors opinion. But moving on from that, why would A-Rod see another doctor without telling the Yankees? This leads me to believe he thinks the Yankees are doing everything possible to keep him off the field. But if that’s the case, why not file a grievance and go directly through the players union? That’s the whole point of being apart of a union.
Major League Baseball obviously has something on A-Rod. The only thing that scares me is that they must not have a “slam dunk” case against him. If they did, they would have suspended him the same time as Ryan Braun. Whatever MLB has, they must know it will be something that will either have to be dealt with in the court room or through the appeal process.
A-Rod is just bad for baseball at this point. Plain and simple. Each day he remains in the league he tarnishes not just his own reputation, but the game of baseball as well. Maybe the Yankees and MLB truly are working together to keep A-Rod out of the game. Quite honestly, can you really blame them if they are?