Tag Archives: Alex Rodriguez

Gary Sanchez: New York’s Next Superstar

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

The New York Yankees had by far the most interesting season in all the MLB this year. To sum it up, their year had three parts. The first part ranged from opening day until the All-Star break, where fans saw a continuation of the previous season with their team showing flashes of greatness only followed by long periods of disappointment. Sporting an everyday lineup filled with injury prone veteran players, fans had to hope t00at these men would play above their potential every game in the very tough AL East. But to their disappointment, we watched as Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, and Mark Teixeira struggled mightily and went through lengthy absences due to injury. When the All-Star break finally arrived, the Yankees sported a .500 record of 44-44, this is where the second part began.

Following the break, the Yankees ended July going 8-8 and capped it off by getting swept by the dreadful Tampa Bay Rays. This generated a lot of chatter about what New York would do at the trade deadline, either stay course and hope the team could rebound and make a push for the playoffs, or cut their losses and sell some of their top players to build for the future. General Manager Brian Cashman chose option number two and at the deadline agreed to multiple trades which resulted in Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, and Ivan Nova being shipped to different teams. The pool of players that New York brought in return were highlighted by highly touted prospects Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres among many others. To go along with these trades, the Yanks also decided to part ways with Alex Rodriguez when they cut him on August 13th and thanks to the pressure he was feeling from the fans, Mark Teixeira announced he would retire after the season.

With all of this said, the Yankees now had a totally revamped major league roster to go along with a much improved minor league system. Part three occurs when NY called up their top prospects Gary Sánchez, Aaron Judge, and Tyler Austin. Each player helped spark the team and allowed them to realistically contend for the post season. But as everyone is well aware, Gary Sánchez was the heart and soul in the last two months of the season.

On August 3rd Gary Sánchez was officially moved up to the big leagues and while many knew of the incredible skill set this young man had, no one could have predicted he would go on the tear he did. After making all the trades they did, New York was seen by many as officially entering the rebuilding stage, they were trying to get these young players at-bats and playing time so when the 2017 season rolled around they would at least have some level of experience. But to baseball viewer’s amazement, Sánchez played historically good and not just because he was a rookie. In two months, Sánchez was able to break multiple rookie records, was the main reason his team even sniffed the playoffs, and somehow put himself in contention with Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer to win AL Rookie of the Year. In just 53 games, Sanchez’s slash line was .299/.376/.657 to go along with an incredible 20 home runs and 43 RBI, those stats are nothing short of amazing.

Image result for gary sanchez                                                                                                 Image via nypost.com

Ever since two of the Yankees all-time legends, Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, retired, New York has been dying for their next superstar. After spending millions of dollars on big names like Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka, it’s only right the next star would work himself up through the team’s system. The buzz and hype that Sánchez generated from his play is ver similar to what Jeremy Lin did to the city when he came to the Knicks, not just the city of New York was in a state of shock and utter disbelief but as was the entire nation. In an article titled Gary Sánchez has impressed the baseball world written by Erik Boland, there is a quote from an opposing AL team executive describing his view of Sánchez, he says, “I’m buying. I don’t think it’s a fluke. That’s a stupid pace he was on, but . . . with that swing, he should be a 30-home run guy, I would think.” This just adds to the point of how in just two short months, Sánchez has already won over many people in the league thanks to his consistent high level of play.

During the 53 games he played at the major league level, it is impossible to find just how many articles were published about this player or how many times he was mentioned in broadcasts because simply everyone in the sports world wanted to talk about Gary Sánchez. He could have done what he did on any team in the league and would still be receiving a crazy amount of attention, but the fact that he did this in New York City, the center of the sports world, only added to the hype.

It is hard to wrap your mind around the fact that in such a short time Sánchez has already put himself in the center of the Yankees plans for years to come, looking to him as the player they need to build around. Even though his club still missed the playoffs, his efforts helped shift the view of the team from being in a state of rebuilding, to being one that should contend in 2017. Obviously in sports it is impossible to predict if a player can continue to have such an incredible level of play but when discussing Sánchez, how can you doubt him anymore? His tenure with New York this year was filled with many claiming it was beginners luck but night after night he kept producing. No adjustment could be made to slow him down and now fans are eager for next year to see the numbers he will put up. The 2016 New York Yankees season will simply go down as the year Gary Sanchez emerged.

Leicester City: The Greatest Sports Story. Ever.

 

By Nate Flax

As the clock hit the 96th minute of the Tottenham – Chelsea match, the entire soccer world realized that the greatest underdog story in sport history had concluded. After trailing 2-0 at halftime, Chelsea came back to draw with the second place Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a brilliant 80th minute equalizer by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. As the final whistle blew to end the heated London Derby, Tottenham’s title hopes were dashed and for the second year in a row, a new Premier League champion was decided at Stamford Bridge. However, this time it wasn’t one of England’s heavyweight contenders, but instead a club that had been written off before the season even started.

Leicester City

Located right in the heart of England, world-famous clubs, always surrounded Leicester with Manchester just to the North and London to the South, but until this year, very few that did not follow the BPL closely even knew a soccer club existed there, even though the team was founded in 1884 (132 years ago). The Leicester City Foxes were simply insignificant, finishing at the bottom of the table the year before and had only received promotion into England’s top league the year before that. They entered the season 5000-1 odds to win the title this year and featured a team that had cost just £80 million to put together (to put in perspective Manchester City spent £80 million on one transfer alone earlier in the year). Billy Beane’s Moneyball scheme wouldn’t stand a chance against this. Other recent previous 5000-1 odds as explained by ESPN’s Paul Carr included 16-year-old Paul Chaplet’s chances at this year’s Masters (where he shot 21 over par and finished dead last) and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ chances to make the playoffs with a month left in the season and their record sitting at 14-35. The odds for Elvis Presley being found alive were also 5000-1.

Being written off before the season even started, Leicester really had no chance of failing any expectations given to them, quite frankly because there were no expectations to start with. But that’s when everything clicked. Led by Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy, and seasoned manager Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes outdid themselves by continuing to be that pesky opponent that just wouldn’t give up even though they seemingly had no business competing with powerhouses like Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea. Yet somehow, with Chelsea holding Tottenham to a draw, Leicester City sat seven points clear on top of the table with just two games to play, making it impossible for anyone to catch them, and crowning them the kings of England. With the third smallest budget in the Premier League, the Foxes became the first team not named Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, or Chelsea in 21 years to win the title, and just the sixth to win out of 48 that have tried since 1992. After a season that proved that money can’t always guarantee a crown, Leicester City concluded the fairy tale of a season that underdogs could previously only dream of.

A Rod Trying to Fly Under the Radar

By Ellen Chlumecky

April 3, 2015

The day has come back where Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees returns to the grand stage during spring training to debut what he’s been doing during his suspension. Many Yankees fans and baseball fans recall the trial regarding Alex Rodriguez. For almost two whole years, Alex Rodriguez denied he ever used banned substances from a Coral Gables anti-aging clinic. In 2013, he finally admitted getting testosterone creams, lozenges laced with testosterone and human growth hormone injections from the fake doctor Anthony Bosch. Anthony Bosch not only lied to him about what the drugs would do, but he also gave him tips on how to beat the MLB’s drug testing.

In 2013, Alex Rodriguez was reduced from a 211 game suspension to a 162 game suspension. He received the longest suspension of all the MLB players. Rodriguez’s statement fortified the criminal steroid case against Bosch and indicated his cousin as the middleman. He also admitted that he had used performance-enhancing substances as a member of the Texas Rangers in 2001-03. Recently he wrote a handwritten apology letter to his fans. He’s trying to cover all his basics before coming back this season. I am not sure that he has everyone convinced though.

Media constantly question Yankee manager Joe Girardi about Rodriguez’s return to spring training. Their main question is if Alex Rodriguez has been a distraction during spring training. Girardi is of the opinion that no one is bothered by the media. He said none of the players are bothered or distracted either. Girardi thinks things will be fine and will return back to normal quickly. Sounds plausible, right?

As far as we know, Girardi’s intuition was correct. Rodriguez has settled comfortably back onto the Yankees. While the media has been hounding them, it’s nothing that they’re not accustomed to already. Girardi believes that the media doesn’t believe Rodriguez is high up on their radar right now.

However, it almost seems scripted on how Rodriguez has been responding to the media. He has recited general thankfulness and obedience to the Yankee staff every day he’s been interviewed. He expressed a want to just play baseball and to perform well for the team. He said, “I’ll tell you that I’m a lot more happy, fortunate, and grateful than I was twelve months ago.” He is acting in a professional manner as I’m sure his superiors told him to act.

It’s odd to see his transition. He went from suing the league to sticking the “mistakes were made” defense now to the loyal, devoted player. So far so good for A Rod, but we have the whole season to see what unfolds.

 

The Walls of Rodriguez are Crumbling

By Kaleb Page

February 20, 2015

Years ago as a young kid looking to get my hands on sports books to read, I came across a book about an athlete that intrigued me. I had this feeling that he was going to be a special player even more so than he already was. This player was a young budding star in the MLB playing shortstop for the Texas Rangers.

His name was Alex Rodriguez.

As the years passed, I guess my feeling did come true with how Rodriguez turned into a larger than life athlete in the MLB. Eventually he inked a deal in 2007 with the marquee team in the league, the New York Yankees, a deal so astronomical it still can blow your mind (10 years for $275 million).

Now as I mentioned earlier Rodriguez grew into this larger than life figure on the field, and it wasn’t just figuratively speaking either; it was definitely literal too. As soon as he switched from the Rangers to the Yankees he began to grow from a decent sized player to a rather hulking man who eventually moved over to third base.

With the eventual steroids scandal that rocked the MLB and prominent player being popped for it, one player had a big mark on his back. That player just so happened to be Rodriguez and rightfully so was he questioned and looked to since he had such a quick body transformation. In fact, back in 2009 Rodriguez sat down on ESPN admitting his usage of steroids from 2001-03.

However, this story was just merely a scratch on the surface with how Rodriguez was involved in the world of steroids.

Then in 2013 Rodriguez found himself back in another ring of steroid use when trying to rehab from hip surgery. As it came to light, his involvement with Anthony Bosch and Bosch’s Biogenesis corporation dropped Rodriguez in even bigger trouble.

His involvement resulted in him missing a substantial amount of time in 2014 (162 games) and with Bosch’s conviction Tuesday (four years in prison); Rodriguez is toeing the line of being banned from baseball for good.

I find it interesting that Rodriguez has been laying this low for this long. It has been far different from guys like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa or even Mark McGuire in how the media handled their steroid convictions. It seemed as if the storm around their convictions raged on for months and never ended (maybe in part to the time the convictions came out).

It will be interesting to see where this whole thing goes, especially with baseball season approaching. It also will be interesting to see the dissection of a statement issued by Rodriguez on Tuesday trying to distance himself from not only Bosch but his past involving steroids. As spring training approaches and more is made of his statement, I wonder if it will grow to the level we saw with Bonds.

I can remember watching TV and all you would see is every stadium Bonds attended full of signs against everything he did. Will it be the same this season for Rodriguez if he plays? I can’t imagine it being any easier than it was with Bonds. This mainly being due to how adamant he was way back when about being clean and then turning around admitting his guilt. I also see the media scrutiny and pressure from questions before or after games ramping up as well.

I’m sure as Rodriguez wrote that letter today, he thought back to a time when things were much better, a time where a young kid like me was picking up a book about him being the next big thing to look up to.

Now kids see him as nothing more than another baseball cheat.

As the walls come tumbling down it makes you think ‘oh how the mighty have fallen.’

The Return of A-Rod

By Savannah Malnar

Performance-enhancing drug use is a predominant issue in the MLB. It has tainted the names of many greats such as Joe Canseco, Barry Bonds, and most recently, Alex Rodriguez.

Last year the MLB suspended A-Rod for the entirety of the 2014 season for a scandal involving him taking performance-enhancing drugs and being connected to a medical clinic in Florida known to provide these drugs to players. This suspension was originally 211 games but was dropped to 162 games by an arbitrator; this is still the longest in MLB history for doping, and when it was issued there was plenty of debate as to the severity of the ruling by now-retiring MLB commissioner Bud Selig.

But as of the end of the 2014 World Series, A-Rod is back. Or at least he wants to be.

The suspension is in the past and the New York Yankees and A-Rod are working on their relationship. Both parties seem intent to get A-Rod, a historically great third baseman, back into starting shape. His age (he will be turning 40 during the 2015 season) and lack of conditioning from missing an entire season are a concern. If the Yankees were to drop his contract, it would force them to pay him the remaining $61 million salary.

This is a minor story that is being overshadowed by both the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series and Selig retiring; an ironic situation seeing how widely covered the story was covered when A-Rod was first suspended. The end of the suspension should be a bigger deal than it is.

The sport media needs to begin now in deciding how it will portray A-Rod. Will he be shown as a cheater, or someone to be admired for attempting to overcome all odds and recover his starting position? Already, writer Christian Red for The New York Daily News referred to him as a “steroid-tainted player.” Perhaps this is a preview of how the sport media will choose to label him.

I believe, if that is the case, it is the correct course of action. Too often, players who come back from suspension and do well are commended by the media and fans for their success in the face of “adversity.”

A-Rod’s ALCS Woes ‘Blown out of Proportion’

BY STEVEN KUBITZA

The New York Yankees bowed out of the ALCS last Thursday, but they still seem to dominate the media, both in print and on television.

The story throughout the postseason regarding the Yankees had to do with the struggles of Alex Rodriguez.  This was especially the case during the ALCS, when he went 1 for 9 in three games, as he was held out of the starting lineup for games three and four.

What the media ignored is that A-Rod was not the only Yankee to struggle against the Tigers in the ALCS. Robinson Cano went 1 for 18, Curtis Granderson went 0 for 11, and Mark Teixeira went 3-15. The entire lineup only accounted for 22 hits and 6 runs in four games against the Tigers.

While this offensive stagnation was occurring, it was made out to look like A-Rod was the sole reason for the decline. The coverage got worse once he was held out of the starting lineup for the third game of the series.

Upon the news that Rodriguez was being held out of the lineup, Curt Schilling of ESPN’s Baseball Tonight went on to say that he had a hard time seeing A-Rod return to the Yankees next season.  He questioned his ability to play in regular season games since he did not finish out the ALCS.

This point made sense, but he forgot to note that coaches make decisions based on who is playing well at the time. If A-Rod is struggling for a period of time, then it is nothing personal when he is held out of the lineup. It is simply done to give the offense a spark, especially when the entire team is struggling to hit. If there were valid replacements for each player, then Yankee manager Joe Girardi may have tried to make a few more changes.

Schilling echoed the thoughts of many, but those can quickly be put to rest by looking at the contract A-Rod is signed to in New York. He still has 5 years and $114 million left on the deal, along with incentives if he is to pass those ahead of him on the all-time home run list.

The World Series begins on Wednesday, and that should finally begin the transition from talk about A-Rod to talk about the Giants and the Tigers. That is, until the series is over and A-Rod again dominates offseason talks.