Saturday, October 07, 2006

Repeat After A-Rod: "I sucked!"

"You kind of get tired of giving the other team credit. At some point you've got to look in the mirror and say, 'I sucked."

- Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez told the media after another terrible October ended with New York's elimination at the hands of the Detroit Tigers Saturday.

One week into the post-season, A-Rod can be comforted by not being at all alone in his disappointment.

Consider the following:

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers, swept from the playoffs in three games by the New York Mets, extended their dry spell another year, having not won a postseason series since 1988.

  • Dodgers manager Grady Little incredibly put himself in the middle of yet another postseason second-guess feeding frenzy with a handful of questionable moves, including using starting pitching as middle relievers and letting starter Greg Maddux bat in a game L.A. trailed, 3-0, in win-or-go-home Game 3.

  • Joe Beimel, the Dodgers' indispensible lefthanded setup man, committed the inexcusable mistake of stepping out on the eve of the series against the Mets after curfew, then ending his season by slashing his pitching hand on a broken glass in a bar room. Beimel then lied to the team about where the injury occurred, angering teammates and Little once the deception was revealed. Undoubtedly that anger will fester long after the Dodgers pack up and head into the postseason, because Beimel's absence forced many of the awkward - and ultimately fruitless - moves made by the hamstrung Little.

  • Good guy Torii Hunter made some critical flubs in the Minnesota Twins' shortlived ALDS series against the Oakland A's, most notably the ill-conceived decision to dive for a Mark Kotsay liner to center in Game 2. The Gold Glove centerfielder missed the ball and the resulting inside-the-park home run broke a tie that led to a backbreaker of a defeat for the Twins.

  • Then there was A-Rod - 1-for-14 (.071) with no RBI in four games for the Yankees. The player who's opening foray into New York was to draw a distinction between himself and Derek Jeter - a "No. 2 hitter" - started the series batting sixth in the order and finished it batting eighth. None of Yankees manager Joe Torre's early attempts to ease the pressure from the high-priced Rodriguez and late attempts to hide a troubled bat worked. Tigers pitchers found the slumping A-Rod time and again. So, too, will the Bronx cheers, guaranteed to follow A-Rod into a long, restless off-season.

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