Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Two-Year Anniversary of A-Rod’s Biggest Mistake

As it appears new incriminating information is released on a daily basis to help dig Alex Rodriguez’s grave, today we are reminded of an important anniversary date.

February 24th, 2007, was a day that may help to explain Rodriguez’s other errors in judgment a little more clearly. Two years ago today, he made an emphatic prediction.

As the words rolled off of his tongue, the reporter standing across from him must have checked his ears to make sure he hadn’t left his earplugs in from the night before.

“I was very impressed with the way he threw the ball,’’ A-Rod said. “He has it in him to win 15 games if not more.” With a 2007 spring roster that featured Phil Hughes, these quotes do not appear shocking.

The article’s headline said it all, however. A-Rod Predicts Big Things from Igawa. What was one of the key reasons for A-Rod feeling this way? “He throws harder than (Jamie) Moyer and (Tom) Glavine.”

So let me get this straight. He is bound for success at the big league level because he barely reaches velocities above two men who were a combined 85 years of age at the time.

Needless to say, Alex Rodriguez was wrong. He was very very wrong. Igawa did not just fail to win 15 games; he has not even started 15 games in his big league career to this point.

In the process of making even Hideki Irabu look like Sandy Koufax, Igawa has a career 2-4 record and 6.66 ERA. The devotedly religious can take this ERA as a sign if they would like.

It is judgmental blunders such as these that make me wonder if A-Rod’s steroid story is more accurate than he is given credit for.

Perhaps he truly is “naïve and stupid.” If he in fact believed that Kei Igawa was destined for greatness, is it that far-fetched to believe that he didn’t know ‘Boli’ was a steroid?

This also might explain some of Rodriguez’s struggles while in pinstripes, especially his tendencies to swing through high fastballs and chase off-speed pitches out of the zone.

If he is tantalized by Kei Igawa’s painfully average stuff, it would make perfect sense for him to have difficulty with pitchers who actually succeed at the Major League level.

A-Rod also managed to take Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano under his wing the season before their Yankee careers were left in limbo.

Alex Rodriguez may be a fantastic baseball player, and one that is destined to place asterisks next to many sacred records.

However, one thing A-Rod will never be confused with is a successful judge of talent. ‘Poor judgment’ is a term he expects to hear many times throughout 2009.


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