Month: August 2013

The Legacy of the most talked about Sports Figure in the WORLD, the one the only Alex Rodriguez

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From 3 time MVP, MLB’s next All-Time great too the poster boy for this so called ‘PED Era’ and constant backlash on every single move he makes. Alex had the potential to go down as one of the all-time great players, if not the best ever, but now the question at hand is what will his legacy be? When you hear the name Alex Rodriguez 10 years from now, will you think about how he could carry teams single handedly or about the dark days when PED’s haunted his career? Well let me dive into it and maybe help you out a little bit

When Alex 1st started receiving AB’s everyday in 1996, let’s just say he made an instant impact to the offense. He hit .358, had 215 hits, 36 Home Runs and 123 RBI’s. Let’s not forget his .414 OBP and his .631 SLG %, which finished 2nd in the MVP race that year. Alex had a span of 6 straight 40+ HR seasons, 3 where he hit 50+ and had 8 total with 40 or more. He’s also one of 3 players in Major League Baseball HISTORY to have a 40/40 season; 1998 – 42 HR’s / 46 SB’s.

As his career progressed he became the number one feared hitter in all of baseball. In a 13 year span during his career he had 30+ HR’s and 100+ RBI’s in each season. That type of production has never been seen before with such longevity. A 13 time All-Star, 2 time Gold-Glove, SHORT-STOP, 3 time MVP and 2 time runner up, and 1 World Series Championship with the Yankees in 2009. Not to be forgotten, in the 1st 2 rounds of the 2009 postseason, he legitimately put the Yankees on his back when he compiled 14 hits, 5 HR’s, 12 RBI’s and hit .420+ in only 9 postseason games. The fastest to 500 Home Runs ever was Jimmie Foxx, Alex broke that. Babe Ruth was the fastest to 600, Alex broke that too.

But with the good and even the great aspects of Alex’s game, there’s something terrible that unfortunately outweighs the positive aspect of his career. After being mentioned in reports back in 2003 and than again in 2007 by Jose Canseco that he used steroids he denied all reports and that was not the right rout to take because 2 years later in 2009, he admitted to taking steroids from 2001-2003. Sports Illustrated actually had reported Alex had failed a drug test back in 2003, according to the Mitchell Report but suspensions were not in place at that time. After admitting it in 2009 everything seemingly has spiraled downward. From 2010-2012 he never hit for a higher average than .276, the last 2 seasons he’s had a combined 34 Home Runs and 119 RBI’s and the seasons have been riddled with injuries. His last 2 postseasons he hasn’t hit better than .125 in a series (3 Series) and has been nothing except a liability. Now, as everyone knows, 2013 hasn’t been A-Rod’s best year, to say the least. Earlier this season Alex was linked to a clinic down in Miami, with other MLB players as well, to Biogenesis, where they would supply him and the others with Performing Enhancing Drugs. As Alex continued to rehab after his hip surgery this year, the speculation of a suspension surfaced and next thing we know, the pieces began to fall. As Ryan Braun took his 66 game suspension and 11 others took there 50 game suspensions, we all awaited A-Rod’s ruling. The ruling came down the same day as the other 11, it was learned he would be suspended 211 games, all the way through the 2014 season. While Alex currently appeals this ruling, which is 100% in his rights due to what the players union passed, he’s had other reports about problems with the Yankees management and it seems to be a never ending cycle.

With everything you read or have seen about Alex Rodriguez, steroids, PED’s or not you can’t deny the talent the guy possessed. When you’re a talented athlete whether you bend the rules or not, you still perform at a high level, you still have to have the hand eye coordination amongst other things to succeed. I’m not defending Alex to the fullest extent because I do believe cheating is bad and the rules with cheating must stiffen up if we want to see our beloved game become the National past-time it once was. But with that being said, regardless of him cheating, you don’t approach 3,000 career hits and 700 career home runs if you’re not super talented. Alex is a great player with a dark history of things that can’t be forgiven by many people around the sport. You don’t make 355 MILLION dollars over a baseball career if you’re not a world class talent. The legacy of Alex Rodriguez has definitely been tainted, but looking at the big picture, he has lived up to expectations on the diamond of being one of the most feared hitters of all-time.

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Ichiro Suzuki, the Icon.

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From the moment Ichiro Suzuki touched down on American soil from the time he was playing in Japan, he put a pain in the side of every opposing team trying to figure out a way to get this guy out. 4,000 hits later, teams are still trying to figure out the same question they asked when his career started in Japan 21 years ago.

Ichiro’s career that started for the Orix Blue Wave in Japan saw his 1st 2 seasons total around 150 at-bats total. The next year, 1994, year number 3, saw Ichiro have 210 total hits and hit .385 his best year in Japan and the only time in 9 years he had over 200 hits in an entire season while in Japan.  When Ichiro touched base in the states to play for the Seattle Mariners in 2001, all thoughts that he wasn’t going to succeed in the majors went out of the window real fast. Ichiro went on to the win the MVP in 2001 having a .350 batting average, 242 hits, 56 stolen bases, a gold glove, won Rookie of the Year and the MVP, heck of a year huh? To top that season, Suzuki broke the All-time single season hits record with 262, previously held by George Sisler with 257 in 1920.

Ichiro started his MLB career with 10 straight 200+ hit and .300+ batting average seasons. He’s never had a season with less than 26 stolen bases, 18 this year with a month a few weeks to go so it will be close if that streak continues. Let’s not forget to mention the 10 years he 10 straight remarkable offensive seasons he won the gold glove in each and every one of them. A career .991 fielding percentage and lead all Right-fielders in Fielding percentage on 4 different occasions, oh I forgot, he has a cannon for a right arm.

One thing Ichiro did for the game was bring an international flavor to the game. Since he came in, more and more players from Asia, other foreign countries have came to play in the Majors and more have gotten the chance hoping to be successful as Ichiro has been. Ichiro Suzuki is an icon in the game of baseball and could and still can on occasion do whatever he wants / wanted on a baseball diamond and the way he impacted the game offensively, defensively and on the base paths is bar none.

Playoff push is not out of the question for our beloved Yanks

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After tonight’s 10-3 victory in Fenway Park, the Yankees improved there record to 63-58 on the season. With 41 games remaining for the Bombers, there may be light at the end of the tunnel, that light you ask? 33 games vs. the AL East. With the Yankees sitting in fourth place, playing all these division games will be huge if the Yanks want to make the postseason.

But, the keys to the Yankees success the rest of the way will be there starting pitching, mainly the trio of CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes. Now, granted it’s been one start for each, but each have shown improvements from there recent struggles;

CC Sabathia – Aug 13 vs. LAA; 6 IP, 3 Hits, 2 ER’s, 7 K’s, W

Phil Hughes – Aug 15 vs. LAA; 6 IP, 6 Hits, 3 ER’s, 5/1 K/BB

Andy Pettite – Aug 16 @ BOS; 6.2 IP, 6 Hits, 3 ER’s, 5/1 K/BB, W

Each pitcher coming off of solid starts during this mini 6-2 stint the Yanks have put together is big espcially taking pressure of Cy Young candidate Hiroki Kuroda and a resurgent Ivan Nova to put up zeros each night they’re sent out to pitch. CC has to return to a reliable starter the organization can trust putting out there and help make this push towards a playoff spot. He’s not making $24 million this year to be a 10-10 pitcher with a 4.50+ ERA giving up more than a hit per inning, something he has NEVER done during his entire career. Getting CC going would also take a little more burden off Andy, who before his past 2 starts this month, hadn’t pitched into August since 2009. I’m not expecting 7+ 1 run or less starts from these guys, but starts like they’ve had each there past game is something they need to put forth each start, at the least.

Now, to the offense that once resembled a minor league ball club.

Only July 22nd the Yankees penciled in a lineup card that looked like

1. Brett Gardner

2. Ichiro Suzuki

3. Robinson Cano

4. Lyle Overbay

5. Vernon Wells

6. Travis Hafner

7. Eduardo Nunez

8. Chris Stewart

9. Luis Cruz

 

A little than a month later, vs. the Sox in Fenway

1. Brett Gardner

2. Eduardo Nunez

3. Robinson Cano

4. Alfonso Soriano

5. Alex Rodriguez

6. Vernon Wells

7. Ichiro Suzuki

8. Mark Reynolds

9. Chris Stewart

With the likes of Curtis Granderson coming off the bench to pinch hit. A RH ridden lineup well equip to handle lefty pitching and they did just that scoring 10 runs. As the injured has came off the DL and the move to acquire Babe Ruth, sorry Alfonso Soriano has given the Yankees a lineup full of major league players ready to win games. Most importantly, Robinson Cano must be SO happy he finally has protection in this lineup, another hit tonight extended his hit-streak to 11 games who’s hitting over .400 over that span.

The Yanks are 5.5 games out of the second wild card spot right now and are within striking distance. The key for them is to continue with this 2 series winning streak and continue to do just that. Now that the cavalry has arrived, minus a few pieces on the way soon, there time has come to make there move. Yankee fans, we’re not done yet.