Vaya con Satan, A-Rod
Let me start by saying something nice about A-Rod and his agent, Scott Boras (whom The New Yorker ran a great profile of last week). By releasing the news that A-Rod was opting out of his contract in the middle of the final game of the World Series, the two of them diverted much of the sports talk away from the Red Sox winning the title. As a Yankee fan, I am happy not to listen to this crap or watch Jonathan Papelbon do his idiotic dance.
That being said, this was only the latest in what can only be described as a series of arrogant and low class moves. If he wanted to leave the Yankees, fine, but to release the info when he did is nothing short of disgusting. And I hope that for someone who seems to care only about money, he ends up with less (much less) than he would have gotten had he stayed in the Bronx.
As far as baseball in the Bronx next year, I am optimistic. For those who read The Sports Guy, he has discussed for years "The Ewing Theory," which holds that a team plays better when a particular star player is injured or no longer with the team. The genesis of the term was the 1999 NBA Playoffs where after Ewing's injury, the Knicks rallied to beat the Indiana Pacers and advance to the NBA Finals. (Yes, kids, the Knicks were once good.) There was other evidence in support of this theory regarding Ewing, but most of his defeats in the pros were at the hands of Michael Jordan, and he did win a title at Georgetown. (Of course, he often made idiotic guarantees of victory, and the Knicks almost always proceeded to lose.)
Yet, the theory should, it would seem, more properly be named for A-Rod. He is, without doubt, the best player in the game. His statistics in the regular season are beyond compare and when he retires, he will, almost certainly, hold numerous records including the granddaddy of them all, the HR record. And yet, look at what happens when he leaves a team:
2000 Mariners 91-71 (w/ A-Rod)
2001 Mariners 116-46 (w/o A-Rod)
2003 Rangers 71-91 (w/ A-Rod)
2004 Rangers 89-73(w/o A-Rod)
And it wasn't like these teams got a lot of talent when A-Rod left. (The Mariners got nothing, in fact, for him.) Improvements of 18 and 25 games are extremely rare, and yet they occurred when A-Rod left. In fact, the 2001 Mariners tied the record for most regular season wins. For the record, a bad 2000 Rangers team increased its win total barely when A-Rod joined them--from 71 to 73, both years far in the cellar. The 2004 Yankees had the same record as the prior year but lost in the ALCS after having made it to the World Series the prior year.
Thus, put your money now on the Yankees at least making the ALCS next year. Of course, the one thing that would truly guarantee a great Yankee year--the Red Sox signing A-Rod.