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.
Say what you will about David Wrights performance on the field this season, but you can never question his character. Wright, who was named team captain last season, has been nothing short of a role model since joining the Mets in 2004.
In every persons life, there is someone who helps mold us into who we will become later in our lives. After watching this interview segment, there is no doubt that Wrights parents deserve the credit for making him the man he is today. This short, but well done, piece summed up just how much influence Wrights father has had on him.
More than any other sport, baseball seems to have the strongest father-son connection. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s the remembrance of playing catch at an early age (which I able to do again yesterday), our first trip to a major league ball park or the encouraging words our fathers gave us after our little league games, but that bond has given many of us memories that will last a lifetime.
Hope you all enjoyed your father’s day!
We live in an era where baseball players are bigger, faster and stronger, in better shape than ball players have ever been. Yet not a day goes by where we don’t hear of a player suffering a season ending injury. The most notable of the bunch is a UCL tear, which leads to the infamous Tommy John Surgery. A study done in 2013 showed that 1/3 of the all pitchers in MLB have undergone the surgery at some point in their careers. That is a staggering number that should not be deemed the “price of doing business.”
When Dr. Frank Jobe performed the first surgery on pitcher Tommy John in 1974, I’m not quite sure he knew the impact he would be making on the game of baseball. The surgery is revolutionary, having saved hundreds of careers throughout the years, and is undoubtedly one of the greatest advancements in sports medicine in the last 40 years. But did anyone think we would see the day when parents are pushing their teenage sons to undergo the surgery to “get it out-of-the-way.” Well, that’s what’s happening out in the world today and I’m not sure how Dr. Jobe would feel about that.
The first month of the baseball season isn’t even complete and we already have many high-profile pitchers going down. The list includes Atlanta’s Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, Oakland’s Jarrod Parker, Arizona’s David Hernandez and Patrick Corbin, Tampa’s Matt Moore, The Mets’ Bobby Parnell and The Yankees Ivan Nova could be added to the list any day now. That isn’t even counting the dozen of pitchers who are rehabbing from their surgery and dozens more that will undergo the procedure as the season progresses. Last year, the White Sox alone saw eight, yes eight, pitchers in their organization go down with this injury. It’s a scary thought knowing one of your pitchers could go down for the year at any moment without any warning. Continue reading
I was tempted to attend last night’s Mets game, with the $3.50 ticket promo and all, but man am I glad that I sat this one out. The Mets continued their embarrassing play at Citi Field with a 6-0 loss to the Braves. This might have been one of the worst home performances I have seen since the stadium opened. With Aaron Harang on the mound, yes AARON HARANG, the Mets were held to ONE HIT! And that hit didn’t even come against Harang!
This is the same Aaron Harang who was on the Mets just last season and could often be confessed with a guy throwing batting practice. But somehow Harang was able to put together six no-hit innings, but also walked six, which had his pitch count up to 121. At that point, manager Freddy Gonzalez opted to go to the bullpen. This didn’t exactly turn things around for the Mets offense, as they were still unable to get a rally going. The saving grace was a David Wright single in the 8th to prevent the embarrassment of having a no-hitter thrown against them at home. Continue reading
If you compare Mashiro Tanaka’s first two starts, they are nearly identical. Tanaka has struggled in the early innings, but eventually settles down and gives the Yankees a solid outing.
In both of his starts, he has allowed home runs on pitches he left hanging up in the strike zone. Melky Cabrera took him deep in his first start, while yesterday it was Jonathon Schoop who took him yard. I know what you’re thinking, that’s advice that you could give to any pitcher. But it’s true, and is especially important for a pitcher who relies so heavily on a split-finger fastball. Tanaka doesn’t hit 95-98 on the radar gun, he can’t afford to be pitching up in the zone, as he doesn’t throw hard enough to get away with those mistakes. Continue reading
With all this talk about the current state of the Mets SS position, sit back and enjoy this extended length video of Rey Ordonez. He might have driven us all crazy with his knack for swinging at high fastballs and his mid .200 batting average, but man was he special with his glove. Ordonez was the anchor of “The Best Infield Ever”, proclaimed by Sports Illustrated, and made defensive baseball must see TV. Continue reading
MLB and the MLBPA have agreed on a new drug policy that is the toughest in all of professional sports. Some of the biggest names in recent history have all been linked to some sort of PED that has tarnished the leagues reputation and given the game a black eye. But baseball has taken yet another step forward with a revamped drug policy that even the Olympic committee would be proud of. Continue reading