After sitting through a screening of “Yankees 2007: Pride, Power, Pinstripes”, The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman insists “there will be times when A-Rod commentary will not only reflect what’s on the minds of the Yankee high command, but be passed down directly from Pinstripe Mountain through YES production boss John Filipelli,” but also admitting “Watching to see which Yankee issues are totally ignored, and which controversies are played prominently, is far more entertaining, informative and intriguing than hearing Kimberly Jones ask Derek Jeter why he wants to win so badly.”
The moment of truth came when the subject of A-Rod was introduced during a panel discussion of YES analysts moderated by Michael Kay. Justice’s mouth might as well have been taped. And Al Leiter (he was “encouraged” to rip Rodriguez last June but refused to single him out for the Yankees’ problems) didn’t chime in, either. However, it was made abundantly clear that there are YES voices who ain’t waiting until late June to begin smacking Rodriguez around.
After Kay asked the panel for its take on A-Rod’s opt-out clause, Ken Singleton (above), a mild-mannered guy, basically told Rodriguez to shut up.
“Just play ball,” said Singleton, showing more passion than usual. “Go out and try to win a championship. Get as close as you can. If you don’t win it just give the effort. Show that you tried.”
Singleton went on to highlight A-Rod’s miserable playoff performance (1-for-14, dropped to the eighth spot in the lineup) against Detroit. “That’s not what Alex Rodriguez is supposed to be,” Singleton said.
Girardi entered the discussion, saying A-Rod is already a major “concern” for Joe Torre.
“I think he is a concern because he’s not able to relax. Alex takes on all the pressure of not winning a World Series,” Girardi said. “He has to find a way to relax. … Until Al stops trying to be perfect it’s going to be tough because he can never live up to the expectations of the contract. It’s just impossible.”
Ever since Justice put the wood to the Yankees’ third baseman last June (“If the game is 9-2, he might make it 9-4. If the game is 7-1, he might make it 9-1. But when it is 2-2 late in the ballgame he can’t get it done.”) it has been bombs away on A-Rod on YES.
Taking him to the woodshed on a “preview” show is further proof that A-Rod analysis, mechanical and psychological, will be an integral part of YES’ Yankee telecasts. But some issues will be completely ignored – such as Derek Jeter’s “relationship” with Rodriguez.