11.01.07

The Agent Doth Protest Too Much : Harper On Boras’ Anti-Mo Approach

Posted in Baseball, Sports Journalism at 12:34 pm by

Every now and then, the New York Daily News’ John Harper does something no other journalist would dare.  For instance, today he admits to watching “First Take”.

The question posed to Scott Boras was why Alex Rodriguez’s regular-season numbers haven’t translated to postseason success.

“That’s a characterization that, when you look at the data, is frankly inaccurate,” Scott Boras said. “If you look at Alex’s first season in New York, I believe he was 7-for-16 with two home runs and five RBIs going into Game 4 in Boston.

“The brilliant Mariano Rivera, probably the only flaw he’s made in a historic career over the postseason, if he got those three outs (in the ninth inning of Game 4), Alex would have been in the World Series and he would have been held to have a great postseason.

“When you look at his records with Seattle – and even this year – you’re talking about a player whose postseason records are really up there with many of the superstars of the game.”

For some reason, the interviewer did not respond with some obvious follow-up questions. Like:

What about Games 5, 6, and 7 against the Red Sox, when even one clutch hit, particularly in Games 5 and 6, might have changed everything?

What about 2005 against the Angels?

What about 2006 against the Tigers?

What about Games 1 and 2 against the Indians last month, when the ALDS essentially was decided?

This isn’t meant to dredge up all the old accusations against A-Rod and pound on him for what he didn’t do as a Yankee. He’s a deserving MVP who saved the Yankees from a wipeout season in 2007, and as arrogant and disingenuous as he comes off in opting out without even listening to the Yankees’ offer, I don’t believe he’s a cancer to a ballclub or someone destined to go his entire career without winning a championship.

I made the case yesterday that I thought the Mets should sign him as the next best way to improve their traumatized ballclub if they couldn’t acquire an ace such as Johan Santana, and I was surprised at the volume of e-mails I received in protest from Mets’ fans.

That reaction just shows what a makeover A-Rod’s image needs, but for now Boras can only make it worse by trying to make his client look like the victim of some media witch hunt.

It’s not that he’s wrong about Rivera in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. However, it’s like someone saying that if A-Rod hadn’t grounded into that ninth-inning double play in the deciding game against the Angels two years ago, Randy Johnson, in retrospect, would have been a hero for his relief work that night rather than a bum for his Game 3 disaster.

Indeed, the agent blaming Rodriguez’ teammates — particularly one as revered as Rivera — for The Third Baseman’s lack of jewelry, is a curious approach from a usually savvy character.  It’s also fascinating that Boras considers a hypothetical Yankee victory over St. Louis in ’04 — after the Bombers were humbled by the econo Marlins in ’03 –  a sure thing, had that goat-in-human-form Mariano Rivera not fucked with baseball destiny.

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