10.29.07

A-Rod Opts Out, Marchman Tips His (Imaginary) Cap. Sort Of.

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 3:18 am by

Shortly after SI.com’s Jon Heyman spilled the beans that Alex Rodriguez would opt out of his final three years under contract to the Yankees, the New York Sun’s Tim Marchman hailed “the brazen magnificence” of A-Rod’s announcement (“Rodriguez was never able to convince some that he was bigger than Derek Jeter. Now he’s made himself bigger than baseball”)

During the World Series, no one, according to both formal and informal baseball law, is supposed to make any real news. The commissioner’s office in the past has exhorted teams to keep quiet about managerial hirings and firings and contract negotiations during the Series, so as to focus the attention of the world on the seven games that are supposed to represent the sport at its best. To announce such a thing during the last innings of a decisive World Series game, thus upstaging the crucial moment toward which the entire season builds, is a calculated affront to all the game’s proprieties and ideas of order.

Here, though, comes Alex Rodriguez to remind everyone that professional sports are about money and utter crass power. The pure cynicism of Rodriguez’s ploy does so much to expose the sham pieties of the men who promote baseball that it should be applauded for that alone. Being so forcibly reminded that baseball is about money and power doesn’t, after all, diminish our ability to appreciate it as a sport one bit. To go along with the pretense that it does, to pretend that Rodriguez’s contract isn’t at least as important as Aaron Cook’s noble defeat, would be absurd. Credit to Rodriguez for being shameless and showing baseball for what it really is.

16 Responses to “A-Rod Opts Out, Marchman Tips His (Imaginary) Cap. Sort Of.”

  1. Ben Schwartz says:

    Was it A-Rod or Scott Boras who leaked? Whatever, doing it in the final moments of the Series is the best ad space Bor-rod could havse asked. In a Series this boring, A-Rod saying “no comment” would have been more exciting than the game.

    The speculation of Who Can Afford Bor-rod (in the 12 hours since I heard the news, several of which were spent sleeping) lacks one thing: A-Rod was willing to take less money to leave Texas and may do the same to join another team. He doesn’t need to play ball to make a living, and I imagine a World Series is on his mind. The Cubs can afford him, especially since the Trib can pass off his salary on the new owners when they sell this Fall. The Cubs are also willing to spend on older players (moreso than the Red Sox, if Tim McCarver can be believed), and A-Rod and Lou are apparently still pals. Lots of places where he can go, of course,, but that’s where I see the Cubs sitting before any moves are made besides resoddelling Wrigley.

  2. Xa says:

    That image is horrifying.

  3. Rog says:

    I was reading a clip today (I think Rosenthal, possibly Heyman) that pretty much spelled out that Boras is the master of tampering (J.D. Drew, lookin’ right at you pal) and that he probably already has a deal, or a few deals, in place that would give the dude more than he’s making now. If A-Rod takes a pay cut, I will go to your house, Ben, and do all of your housework in the nude for a week.

  4. GC says:

    tampering? in the case of Drew, absolutely. But if Boras allowed A-Rod or any other client to opt out of the richest pact in team sports history without being reasonably assured of a more lucrative deal, that would be professional malpractice.

  5. Marc says:

    If the Mets sign A-Rod, I’m wondering how it will help solve their pitching problems.

    Of course, I’ll also cease to claim that beers could be profitably sold for $5 (instead of almost $8) at Shea Stadium.

  6. Rog says:

    I just think that in the past Boras has been given credit for making teams bid against themselves (Magglio O/Tigers a few years back) and paying much bigger salaries than the market demanded at the time but now it’s starting to look like these types of opt-out clauses and the like are just vehicles for the Boras Tampering Machinery. The clip I read made it seem like there’s not much MLB can do about it so I use the term loosly, but I don’t see it as malpractice if he doesn’t. But I do think it’s funny that anyone would be naive enough to say that A-Rod would take a pay cut of any type. The dude’s on a mission to see if his personal wealth can swell as high as the GDP of all third-world countries. Pay cut? That’s not even funny. Him caring about winning a ring? That’s old fashioned. A-Rod doesn’t strike me as being sincere enough to respect the game that much.

  7. hot shit college student says:

    Rog, it’s not very logical for a baseball player in a league with no salary cap to take a pay cut to win a championship. It would make some sense for a free agent with diminishing skills to sign with a contender for less than what a shabbier team is offering, but it’s hardly greedy for a player to get paid as much as possible when there’s no cap that would hinder roster flexibility.

  8. Marc says:

    How is it disrespectful to the game if he wants to get paid tons of money? If owners are going to charge $50 for a seat and $8 for a beer and $5 for a shitty lukewarm gray hot dog, why shouldn’t players ask for a cut?

    I know it goes hand in hand and the salaries escalate which causes the hot dogs to go up in price which causes salaries to go up some more which causes the tickets to cost even more, but its not like A-Rod or Beltran or any of the other overpaid stars are necessarily disrespecting the game by not trying hard, taking steroids, etc.

    Last time I watched the game, some of these ridiculously well paid guys showed up on time for BP and stretches, played really hard, maybe got injured running into walls, etc. There aren’t many Pacman Jones or Kobe Bryants or Chris Henrys or whomever else in the MLB. Even the fuckups are just pseudo rich white dudes who are middle relievers who get drunk and stoned and kill themselves. Baseball players almost border on boring when it comes to respecting the game (except for Urbina).

    I honestly go back and forth on the issue, but whenever free agency became the norm and players started asking for their fair cut of the action, the genie was out of the bottle. Owners were fucking the players for decade. Now both sides are fucking the fans, because both sides desire to be richer than rich only fucks the fans. And since I’m going to be fucked either way and I’m still going to root for my team, my team better spend all the damned money in the world on the team — I want to see the Wilpons spending every penny on the team. Etc etc etc.

  9. ben schwartz says:

    Uh, since when did my posting here ever mean I may have to contend with Rog, nude, in my house? I need to go over my massive non-capped salary agreement with CSTB, but I’m sure I’d remember that clause.

    re A-Rod: I may be wrong, but as I recall, A-Rod ate a chunk of his own contract to get out of Texas for NY. He won’t have to do that now, but I can easily see him opting for less money to go somewhere like Boston or some other contender, or accepting some other back-end deal that will nominally match the 27 mil/year (?) he gets now so that he can save $$$ face. What teams can afford him? Clemens’ 18 mil/year ruined the Astros, God bless him. How many teams in baseball can support his salary?

    Rog — any more talk of you showing up nude in my kitchen and I file for a restraining order. Does Mrs. Rog know you’re making that offer to other men on the Internets?

    Ben

  10. GC says:

    Ben,

    much as I hate to intrude on a private conversation between you and Rog, I must object. A-Rod did not leave any money on the table when he went from Texas to New York. There was some talk of his offering salary relief to the Red Sox during the abortive trade talks in early ’04, but the Players Association wouldn’t allow it.

  11. ben schwartz says:

    Please feel free to intrude, since if Rog does show up at my house nude, you are going to be named in the harassment suit.

    Ok, memory lapse solved on the A-Rod issue. I don’t expect him to do anything but manage his career as best he can, but his options for teams who can pay his price are few and he didn’t leave Texas because the checks were bouncing. He wants to win. If he can be taken at his word, A-Rod’s reasons for leaving the Yankees (personnel issues, future of the franchise) are telling. I do believe contending for a World Series will determine where he goes, and there are very few contending teams in markets that can afford him. Cubs, Mets, Boston … who knows, maybe the Giants will pay him to build their team around as their next Barry.

    If anyone sees an article or list of the possible markets, please post it.

    Ben

  12. ben schwartz says:

    Thanks Marc — I can’t post anything but comments right now due to being on the road (reduced to Rog status, whatta revoltin’ development) but Bruce Jenkins on SF Gate and that Wallace guy in Newsday also did some “analysis,” mostly as window dressing to trash Scott Boras. Jenkins calls him “slime-covered” and Wallace finds him laughable. Whatever, he’s putting up numbers, as they say, and arguably determining the future of some ball clubs as much as their managers.

    Very few teams (aside form those alientated by A-Rod in the past) seem to have clear cut motives for nabbing him (that is, teams with the money). Do the Angels really need him for $300 million/ten years? The WSJ suggests teams offer A-Rod a percentage of the franchise. I remember somebody once asked Joe Dimaggio, in the 1990s or so, how much he would ask from Steinbrenner if playing for the Yankees today. Dimaggio responded, “I’d say, ‘hello, partner.’” Anyway, try to find that Jenkins column, if you want to read one man’s temper tantrum upon learning baseball is a big business. With Bonds retiring, Boras seems a necessary figure to stand in as The Most Hated Man in Baseball.

  13. ben schwartz says:

    Sorry, Bonds isn’t retiring. I should have said, with Bonds “moving on,” as they say, to being a non-issue for the rest of his career.

  14. Marc says:

    If I remember correctly from a month or two ago, active players are not allowed to get percentage stakes in ballclubs. At least, I think that was the Seligminion answer when the broohaha about A-rod and the Cubs came up.

    I’m not sure why any club wouldn’t sign him (if they could afford him) and I’m not sure why any club would sign him. He’s a hell of a ball player and I don’t even think I hate him as a person no matter what stupid stuff he says or does. I just don’t understand how a guy who is that good at all aspects of baseball and really isn’t all that offensive a personality can somehow make people so passionate yet also so ambivalent.

    It seems like most people, if their team were to sign A-rod, would be celebrating the fact that their team just locked up a huge on field asset. And if their team fails to sign A-rod, everyone will be sighing a huge sigh of relief because their team has more money available, one less ego, etc etc etc. It’s like there is no disappointment or super elation no matter the outcome for an incredibly huge talent. It’s a really weird situation.

    Sometimes I wonder what A-rod is thinking. Just like I sometimes wonder what Donald Rumsfeld is thinking.

  15. ben schwartz says:

    I think the answers to both your main questions is $300 mil/10 years. The fact that Yankee fans don’t like him is only a plus around the rest of baseball.

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