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Alex Rodriguez: Is This Really How It Ends? 1

Posted on August 08, 2016 by Dean Hybl
The Alex Rodriguez era in New York will officially end on August 12th.

The Alex Rodriguez era in New York will officially end on August 12th.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way. Rather than completing his career in a generally meaningless game on a Friday night in August, Alex Rodriguez was supposed to exit either with a dramatic World Series performance or after eclipsing the “bogus” home run record of a disgraced cheater.

Instead, following a hastened Sunday morning press conference, Rodriguez will serve on the active roster for the Yankees only through August 12th before being released. While there is still a chance that he will be picked up by another team, the fact that he is still owed more than $25 million dollars over the next year means he will likely instead move to an advisor role with the Yankees.

It seems like forever ago, but it has actually only been eight years (2008) since Rodriguez was seen by most in baseball as the savior who would free the game from the purgatory of having Barry Bonds and his chemically supported body at the top of the prestigious career home run list.

Of course, we all know about his dramatic fall from grace. It started with a Sports Illustrated article and a somewhat confusing explanation in 2009 where Rodriguez admitted to taking PEDs given to him by a relative while with the Texas Rangers, but insisted it was a short-term thing and hadn’t significantly enhanced his performance.

While his explanation was hard for some to accept, for the most part people (most particularly Yankee fans) took it hook line and sinker. Especially when he overcame past playoff failures and helped lead the Yankees to a World Series title in 2009.

Interestingly, while Rodriguez still showed above average power for the next couple seasons, he never again hit .300 for a season (something he had done nine times between 1995 and 2008). He also started regularly missing time with injuries starting in 2009.

After reaching 30 home runs and 100+ RBI in 2009 and 2010, from 2011-2013 Rodriguez played in only 265 games (out of 486) and totaled only 41 home runs and 138 RBI in three years.

During this time, his insistence that using PEDs was not a regular part of his career also came into question as he was prominently mentioned in the investigation of the Biogenesis lab in Miami. It was his inclusion and supposed attempt to cover up his involvement that resulted in Major League Baseball coming down with a historic suspension that ultimately saw Rodriguez miss the entire 2014 season.

Despite some wondering whether the Yankees would want him back, the fact that they owed him $65 million guaranteed that he would return.

Playing almost exclusively as the designated hitter, Rodriguez actually had a solid season at the age of 39 in 2015. He appeared in 151 games, his most since 2007, and hit 33 home runs with 86 RBI. However, he struggled over the final two months of the season and went hitless as the Yankees lost the Wild Card Playoff Game. Read the rest of this entry →

Alex Rodriguez Disaster Takes Focus Off The Field 9

Posted on August 10, 2013 by Dean Hybl
Alex Rodriguez has struggled in his return to the field.

Alex Rodriguez has struggled in his return to the field.

For all who simply want to talk more sports, the Alex Rodriguez debacle has not been good. Since the one-time sure Hall of Famer has become the latest poster child for the PED era in baseball, performance on the field of play has been overshadowed by the growing circus off the diamond.

It is hard to believe that just five years ago Rodriguez was seen as the savior who would save the baseball world from the “tainted” star who “stole” the home run record from Hank Aaron.

Now, Rodriguez is quickly replacing Barry Bonds and former pitcher Roger Clemens as the face of the steroids era.

Where once he was pointed out as the prototype for the 21st Century baseball star, there now seems to be enough doubt to wonder if Rodriguez was instead the 21st Century version of a test tube star. In recent weeks some have wondered if even the young Alex Rodriguez who emerged as a star at the age of 20 with the Seattle Mariners could have been enhanced through artificial means.

In hindsight, it could be considered a little fishy that Rodriguez hit .232 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 149 at bats in 1995 and then the following year won the AL batting title with a .358 average, 36 home runs and 125 RBI.

The following season he hit .300 with 23 home runs and 84 RBI, but starting in 1998 Rodriguez hit at least 30 home runs and drove in at least 100 runs every year for the next 13 seasons. During that time, he blasted at least 40 home runs eight times with three seasons of more than 50 homers. He also hit .300 or better seven times and never had a season with an average below .285. Read the rest of this entry →

Ten Sports Dynasties That Might Have Been 25

Posted on December 07, 2011 by Jena Ellis

Despite having many of the top stars in Major League Baseballs, the Brooklyn Dodgers won only one World Series title.

Now that the 2011-12 NBA season will happen, sports prognosticators will return to projecting how many championships the Miami Heat will win. Forget about the disappointment of last season — this team has more than enough talent to bring home at least a few Larry O’Brien Trophies, right? That’s what people were saying about the Lakers in the ’60s, Mets in the ’80s, and Mariners in the ’90s (different trophies for the latter two, of course), yet they wound up with just two championships between them when all was said and done. The following would-be dynasties failed to meet expectations for a multitude of reasons — including injuries, team chemistry problems, free agency, drugs, and even a strike — leaving fans wondering what might have been had things gone a little differently.

1940s and ’50s Brooklyn Dodgers
Even if the Dodgers had won multiple World Series titles during this era, the franchise would’ve been more remembered for its role in integrating baseball by signing and promoting Jackie Robinson. More than just an inspiring figure in the Civil Rights Movement, Robinson was an ideal second baseman with tremendous speed, excellent contact ability, and exemplary defense. He played alongside Hall of Famers Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Don Drysdale, and Sandy Koufax, one of the most talent-rich rosters in baseball history. From 1947 to 1956, the team won six NL pennants and the 1955 World Series, a resume worthy of NL dynasty status, but not MLB dynasty status.

1960s and ’70s Los Angeles Lakers
Before the Buffalo Bills, there were the Lakers. Sure, they had already won four of the first 10 NBA championships, but, with seven Finals losses in nine seasons during the 1960s and ’70s, they were the original poster child for second best. The primary culprit for their failures was the Celtics, who reeled off a remarkable 11 championships in 13 seasons. The Lakers also faced a 76ers team with perhaps the most dominant player off all time, Wilt Chamberlain, and a hungry Knicks team led by Willis Reid and Walt Frazier. When management figured out the mere presence of Jerry West and Elgin Baylor wasn’t enough, it added an older but still effective Chamberlain. The team finally got over the hump in 1973, after Baylor retired and Gail Goodrich had been added to the roster. Read the rest of this entry →

Boston Red Sox Acquire Erik Bedard 6

Posted on July 31, 2011 by Marisa Ingemi

Erik Bedard was 15-14 for the Mariners after being acquired from Baltimore in 2008.

After losing Rich Harden hours after seemingly trading for him, the Boston Red Sox did indeed make a deal for an arm. They acquired Seattle Mariners right hander Erik Bedard in a very confusing three team deal. Boston surrendered minor leaguers Chih-Hsien Chiang, Tim Federowicz, Juan Rodriguez and Stephen Fife to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Federowicz goes to the Seattle Mariners and  minor league outfielder Trayvon Robinson goes to Seattle.

Bedard allowed six runs to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, a key start for his trade value. The Red Sox were in on Bedard along with the the New York Yankees it was reported. Bedard has a career ERA of 3.69 in Seattle and Baltimore. He was traded from the Orioles in 2008 for Adam Jones and George Sherrill. Bedard’s strikeout average per nine innings is also at 8.35.

The prospects that Boston gave up are not devastating or really big impact players. Federowicz has the best defense of any catcher in the Boston system and he is a marginal hitter. He probably has the best future of three players. He is hitting .275 this season with 7 home runs. They also trade away Stephen Fife, who lacks some fastball command and tends to let his pitches fall flat. With Portland last season he had an ERA of 4.75 but this season he has improved to 3.66. Likely a high end bullpen pitcher at best. Read the rest of this entry →

Felix Hernandez is AL’s Top Pitcher; What Would Cy Young Think? 2

Posted on November 18, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Felix Hernandez claimed his first Cy Young Award despite winning only 13 games in 2010.

How ironic is it that an award named for a pitcher who won 511 games, including more than 30 on five occasions, has now been awarded to a starting pitcher who won 13 games in a season? That is the question that can now be raised following the selection of Felix Hernandez as winner of the 2010 American League Cy Young Award.

Playing for a team that won only 61 games, Hernandez posted a 13-12 record with a league-best 2.27 earned run average. It was his low ERA, rather than his lack of victories that made him the overwhelming choice of voters for the award.

This marks the third straight year and fourth time in the last five years that the American League Cy Young Award winner has also led the league in ERA. In 2006 (Johann Santana) and 2008 (Cliff Lee), the pitcher also led the league in wins. However, that has not been the case the last two years when first Zack Greinke with 16 wins and now Hernandez has set a new AL record for fewest wins by a starting pitcher who wins the Cy Young.

In many respects, it is a predictable trend given the changing landscape for starting pitchers over the last couple decades.  Because starting pitchers now typically are asked to only pitch five to seven quality innings per start, their ability to personally control win-loss records has declined. Read the rest of this entry →

Ken Griffey, Jr.: Baseball’s Player of the 1990s 10

Posted on July 11, 2010 by Carl Desberg

The sweetest swing.

Ken Griffey Jr. called it quits earlier this season. A sad end to a stellar career.

Rather than focus on the last decade of Junior’s tenure, lets rewind to the 90s when Griff was the cleanest star in the game.

Griffey burst onto the scene as a 19 year old in 1989 after being drafted #1 in the 1987 entry player draft out of high school. He immediately made an impact with the Mariners. The proclaimed “Kid” with his backwards hat and ear to ear smile would change baseball we knew it.

His “have fun” mentality worked for him. He enjoyed what he did. That made him better.

The numbers speak for themselves. In his first eleven Major League seasons (89-99) with the M’s Giff batted .297 with 398 HRs, 1152 RBIs, 1752 hits, and 167 stolen bases.

Junior also saw his trophy case fill up with ten Gold Gloves awards (1990-99), seven Silver Slugger awards (1991,1993-1994,1996-1999), a 1997 AL MVP award, a 1993 All Star Game MVP award (at 23 years old), and a three time HR Derby champion (1994, 1998, 1999).

His defense was spectacular. The Kid had a knack for making highlight reel catches whether it was diving in or jumping against the wall to rob a homer. He was the best fielder in the game.

Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Earl Morrall: The Perfect Backup
      November 16, 2019 | 10:46 am
      Earl Morrall

      In a career that started in 1956 and ended in 1976, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was never really a leading man, but he seemed to be part of the supporting cast for many huge moments in NFL history.

      The second overall pick in the 1956 NFL Draft out of Michigan State, Earl Morrall joined a San Francisco 49ers team that already included the famous “Million Dollar Backfield” of Y.A. Tittle, Hugh McElhenny, Joe Perry and John Henry Johnson.

      Morrall started four games during his rookie season, but just before the start of the 1957 season was traded along with guard Mike Sandusky to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for linebacker Marv Matuszak and two first-round draft picks.

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