Sunday, April 19, 2015

ARod's ABombs Detonate The Rays
And Plenty Of Predictions ... But Not Mine

Originally published 4/18/15

By Barry Millman
On a night when eight Yankee starters managed just two hits in 26 at-bats, Yankee fans counted their blessings and Rays fans cursed their luck #13 was the ninth.

Alex Rodriguez went 3-for-4, smashed two long home runs and drove in four runs including the game-winner on a clutch single with two outs in in the eighth inning to singlehandedly lead the Yankees to a 5-4 comeback win at Tropicana Field. 

The first home run, a 477-foot blast to left-centerfield, was the longest hit in MLB this season and the longest at the Trop since 2006 when a a 488-foot home run was hit there by -- drum roll please -- Alex Rodriguez.

The second home run gave Alex 658 career home runs and just two away from tying Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time home run list.

He leads the Yankees with a .344 BA, four home runs, 11 RBI and 1.113 OPS.

As the Yankees slugger continues to confound all the so-called pundits who predicted he would embarrass himself or worse this season as a full-time designated hitter, it behooves me and Field Generals  to point out that,  per my article published March 26th prior to Opening Day, Alex is right on track to fulfill OUR expectations of matching the stellar numbers posted by Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui, the Yankees' last full-time DH, in 2009.

Alex's close proximity to Mays on the home run list has triggered major discussions in the media (finally!)  over the Yankees'  threats this winter to refuse to pay Alex a $6 million bonus they owe him for reaching the milestone  as part of a marketing deal they signed with him.  

Because most, if not all mainstream sports journalists thought Alex would not even make the club let alone reach the milestone, little thought or discussion was given this spring to the harsh stance taken by the club.

However, anticipating Alex's strong season in the article mentioned above, I analyzed the basis for the team's threat and found a huge hole in their argument, leading to another bit of deductive reason that was the subject of an article published by Field Generals prior to the season on March 14th predicting the Yankees will have no choice but to pay Alex his bonus. 

Do a google search of the usual pundits writing about baseball nationally and you won't find one who even suggested Alex might have a home run at this juncture in the season or that the team would even consider paying him his bonus if or when he managed to reach the magic number.

Punditry must be a nice gig. 

 In the latter article mentioned above, I also helpfully suggested a nice pre-game check-presentation the team should hold to patch things up with Alex when he ties Willie.  Key elements include Hal Steinbrenner doing the honors; congratulatory remarks from Willie (who supports both Alex's drive to surpass his place on the list and his rightful place in the Hall of Fame) and commemorative bobbleheads marking the occasion for everyone in the crowd depicting Willie and Alex shaking hands. 

If the team winds up making that suggestion come true too, I'm heading to Vegas.

That's two homers Alex hit out of the park for the Yankees and two he's hitting out of the park for me and Field Generals. 

Man, do I love that ARod.