King Kaufman’s Monday column at Salon.com aptly covered Steve Phillips’ bizarre insistence on Sunday’s “Baseball Tonight” that Alex Rodriguez was doomed in New York and should be traded at the earliest possible opportunity. Yesterday, Newsday’s Neil Best quoted A-Rod’s agent, Scott Boras, as raising the notion that Phillips’ history with The Third Baseman might figure into such commentary, a charge Phillips denies.
In today’s New York Daily News, Bob Raissman has taken the handoff from Boras…and he’s running pretty fast down the sidelines.
The longer he continues to push for an A-Rod trade, the more recognition Phillips gets as a TV personality. This will help to further distance him from his halcyon days of Mo Vaughn and Roger CedeÃ±o.
When Steve Phillips (above) now calls for the Yankees to trade A-Rod, is he simply reiterating his position of six years ago? Reiterating it with an agenda of ultimately being able to show everyone how right he was? With Rodriguez now a media and fan lightning rod, with all his self-analysis and verbal flagellation, have the Yankees actually become the “24-plus-one man roster” Phillips talked about in 2000?
Also, there was bad blood between Phillips and Rodriguez. Guys with big egos never forget this stuff. Immediately after A-Rod signed with Texas, he ripped Phillips for what he considered an unfair characterization.
“All I can say is, I wish I could play against Steve Phillips’ team and lead 24 guys to beat ‘em up,” Rodriguez said in 2000. “I don’t know Steve personally, but obviously he has an agenda against me. … Now everyone thinks I’m selfish.”
Phillips countered Rodriguez’s remarks, saying: “I think he doth protest too much for someone who just received a $250 million contract. We wish him the best with his new team. It doesn’t make sense to get into a response mode.”
Maybe not then, but now Phillips may be making up for lost time. By calling for the Yankees to trade A-Rod, Phillips is saying Rodriguez does not have the mental capacity, or the physical wherewithal, to deal with the pressure of playing in New York. And he’s saying it on ESPN, which is seen in 90 million households.
Yep, that’s a big get-even stick Phillips is carrying.
Then again, maybe his motives are pure.
After all, last season Phillips urged the Mets to trade Jose Reyes.