You just knew this was coming

Ian O’Connor thinks it might be wonderful that the Yankees are going to be without the second best player in baseball for an extended period:

And yet this is no cause for the mass hysteria that greeted Y2K. The team could lose its most feared and productive hitter, and yet the sky isn’t falling on Tampa, the Bronx, or on any other corner of the Yankees’ vast universe. Why? Because an extended A-Rod absence would swing open a door of delicious opportunity, that’s why. The Yankees could go back to being the Yankees. They could go back to being the team that won four championships in five years with reliable pitching and a harmonious band of position players that didn’t need a slugger whose favorite teammates are Me, Myself and I.

“It was all about the team for us,” Tino Martinez said. “There were no real stars. You had Bernie [Williams] and [Derek] Jeter, but not superstars. We just figured out ways to get a lead and win games. “Position by position, this year’s team has much more physical talent than we did. It’s a way better team than our championship teams. But we knew how to come together, and that’s the trick” . . .

. . . The Yankees have no interest in devaluing an asset like Rodriguez, not when they have nine years to go on a contract worth more than $300 million. So they’re not about to declare themselves a better, happier team with A-Rod on the bench. But facts are facts: The Yankees haven’t reached the World Series in Rodriguez’s five seasons, and they reached six in the eight seasons before he arrived. Coincidence, or guilty as charged?

If the ability to crush a baseball was as insignificant compared to character and teamwork as O’Connor implies, why doesn’t he advocate for the Yankees to just sign O’Neill, Martinez, Brosius and, hell, Chili Davis right now? I’m sure their character is still intact, even if their bat speed isn’t.

Update: I should have probably just linked this and said nothing more.

(link via BTF)

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  1. Redsauce said...

    I whole-heartedly disagree with the “we didn’t have any superstarts” argument.  Jeter wasn’t a superstar?  Really?  That’s BS if I ever heard it.

  2. Millsy said...

    While I strongly agree there is something to the team chemistry argument, this is quite an overstatement.  Alex Rodriguez has virtually carried this team at stretches over the past 2 years.  To imply that losing him is better for them is silly.  I can’t imagine this guy really brings that much bad blood into that clubhouse.

  3. Chris H. said...

    This is the same tired argument that hack columnists keep rolling out every time they have an axe to grind against some superstar.

    I’m just sick of it, really.

  4. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Someone at BTF just noted that the Yankess are 20-23 when A-Rod has been hurt.  Sure, small sample, but how does that simple fact not cause an editor to spike this column before it sees the light of day?

  5. Rob said...

    This is delicious.

    On the one hand, I’m loving the fact that the Yankees are imploding over this kind of asinine analysis.  On the other hand, can you imagine how much it must suck to be ARod?  Sure, he’s got everything most people in this world desire, but he’s also done everything in his power to be the best player in baseball, everything in his power to be the good teammate, everything in his power to be media-friendly, and yet, he can’t get any respect for any of it.

    Facts are facts:  The Yankees wouldn’t have made the playoffs in any of the past five seasons without ARod at the hot corner and mashing the ball at the plate.

  6. APBA Guy said...

    Name one team that wouldn’t take a .900+ OPS 3B with quality defense at this point.

    We can argue about the degree of his contract. But the numbers don’t lie. This guy has been huge relative to all thirdbasemen, a shortage position, while at the Yankees.

    And you can talk about “character” all you want. Oakland is loaded with character. But when Rich Harden left last year, the team went from Cinderella to the pumpkin overnight.

    Knowing how to win is what you get with a veteran club. But you can’t win if you are behind 5-0 at the end of the first. Look at the Yankees pitching since their championship run and compare it to their pitching during the run.

    The loss of ARod will hurt them, especially if it’s a serious 20 week injury.

  7. YankeesfanLen said...

    So, now I’m back to Leave ARod Alone, again?  Ian is the most ridiculous addition to the Bergen Record anyway, he should compare himself to ARod to Bob Klapich’s Jeter.
    We’ll make it through with Cody.

  8. Melody said...

    Love the XKCD reference… as soon as I saw this one I sent it to all my stat-head friends.  I’m getting a doctorate in clinical psychology, so there are actually a lot of them.  Woo hoo correlation and causation!

  9. Rob said...

    The worst part is, he might have stolen this column idea from yesterday’s Around the Horn. Both Bill Plaschke and Kevin Blackistone made the same, “The Yankees are better off without A-Rod for the first month or two of the season” argument. I mean, do you have to turn in your logic and common sense cards to become a professional sports columnist? I’m not even sure how you could possibly think about this and come to the conclusion, “Ya, a team is better off with its best player on the DL for 20-30% of the season.”

    Here is a test I would like to see. Someone needs to go up to Ian O’Connor and pose the following hypothetical, “Do you think a sports team will be better or worse if its best player misses a quarter of the season?” How could you possibly say yes? And yet, that is EXACTLY the premise of his column.

  10. Eric Solomon said...

    Anyone who thinks losing Arod for an extended period of time is a net benefit, is an idiot.

    You think Jeter will disown Tino now because he said Jeter wasn’t a superstar?  Same thing Arod said 100 years ago and evidently hasn’t been forgotten…

  11. Utpal Sandesara said...

    I echo Melody—glad to see you’re reading xkcd! You should also check out this (unrelated to baseball but related to statistics) post:

    Also, I just want to make sure. It seems obvious, but since you didn’t link to the best player in baseball, you meant Pujols, right?

  12. TL said...

    I’ve heard the drama-free arguments too. Yeah, it will be drama free IF they are in first place. We all know the Bronx will be a zoo if they are in third or even fourth place.

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