Results tagged ‘ Alex Rodriguez ’

Jeter stands by ‘flip play’; Tito weighs in

It had to be an amusing scene at Yankees’ camp today, what with Terry Francona roaming the clubhouse as a broadcaster and Derek Jeter being asked to defend perhaps the defining play of his career, which happened, oh, 11 years ago.

This came on the heels of Bobby Valentine saying on Tuesday that he thinks that Jeter was out of position on that flip play, and that the Red Sox would never practice that alignment in their cutoff drills. The moment in question happened on Oct. 13, 2001, Game 3 of the Division Series between the Yankees and A’s. Terrence Long lined a double into the corner, and Shane Spencer missed two cutoff men. But there was Jeter on the first-base side of the mound, in position to flip the ball home to Jorge Posda to get Jeremy Giambi, who didn’t bother to slide.

Valentine did tell me this morning he wasn’t trying to malign Jeter because he said, “I love Jeter”.

Anyway, here is what Jeter had to say from Yankees camp. Thanks to colleague Adam Berry for passing these quotes on.

On Bobby V. disputing the notion that the Yankees actually practiced that play. “I mean, we do. You know what I mean? You’ve seen it. You guys have been here.”

What does he think about this being a topic of conversation? “I don’t think anything. I really don’t. I have no thoughts whatsoever. Who cares? Why are we talking about this? They must be bored over there, huh? I don’t understand.”

Valentine’s motivation? “I don’t know Bobby well enough to tell you what he’s trying to do. I could care less, I guess is the best way to put it. I just don’t know why it’s brought up.”

“Think about it. We don’t practice it? We do. You guys see it. What else can I say. I was out of position? I was where I was supposed to be.”

Terry Francona’s view of the flip play?” I’m sure some of [what Valentine said] is in jest,” Francona said. I don’t know. I wasn’t there, and I’m out of it. I’m out of it. To me, it’s not important whether the Yankees practice that play or not. The fact of the matter is that he’s good enough to make that play. You could practice that play until you’re blue in the face, and he’s probably still the only guy who makes that play. That play was part of baseball lore. Again, I don’t doubt they do practice it. He’s probably the only guy that makes the play. He sees the field better than anybody in baseball. He’s the one guy that makes that play.”

Jeter was much happier to talk about his fellow captain for all these years, Jason Varitek, who will formally retire on Thursday.

“Talking about Varitek, I’ll point out the good things — an unbelievable career. I’m happy for him. I enjoyed competing against him all these years. That’s what we should be talking about as opposed to what Bobby said.”

Valentine praised Varitek in a blanket statement yesterday adding that he “beat up Alex”.

A-Rod didn’t feel like touching it.

“Like I said, I’m not going to win many battles here when it comes to words, especially against Bobby. But I will tell you this, I got my new press secretary that should be landing in the next couple days, Reggie Jackson, so I’ll let him handle that. All right? Thanks.”

More from Jeter: Rivalry still strong? “It’s the same. I don’t know. I can’t tell you that he’s trying to stir it up. I don’t know why you would have to stir it up. I think our rivalry gets so much attention anyway. But I am not saying that he is stirring it up.”

What will Jeter say to Bobby V. when he sees him?

“Hey, Bobby. That’s about it. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, really. A lot of people have said that I wasn’t supposed to be here, and I’ve told you guys from Day 1 that’s where I’m supposed to be. That’s what we work on. He’s not the first person to say that. Since I’ve come up, we’ve done it the same way. We might be doing something like that the next couple days, so I invite all you guys to come out there and see that I’m in the same spot every time.”

How about seeing Tito in the Yankees clubhouse? “Yeah, I’ve always respected Terry. I’ve enjoyed playing against him, getting to know him throughout the years. I have a lot of respect for him and how he manages. Every player that I’ve ever talked to about him appreciated the way he managed and the way he dealt with players. I always had a lot of respect for him. Yeah, it is [strange having him in the clubhouse]. But it’s good to see him. He did a great job. It goes without saying how great he did in Boston. I’m happy to see him.”

Five years ago today …

There are moments that are frozen in a season, and others that are frozen for an entire era.

Think back to five years ago today. The date was July 24, 2004. The Red Sox had just come off an excruciating loss to the Yankees the night before, despite three home runs from Kevin Millar. Despite all the  hype going into the season, they were entered the day 9 and a half games behind the Yankees in the American League East. And it was a rainy day. For a while, it looked like there would be no baseball game.

One or two Yankees had reportedly started showering, because apparently, the showers were going to wash away the game. But Jason Varitek,  Millar and some other members of the team told ownership, in a manner of speaking, “Get that field ready to play. We want to play baseball today.”

The Red Sox had some fight in them. Bronson Arroyo hit Alex Rodriguez with a breaking pitch in the third inning and the rest, you see in history. A-Rod barked at Arroyo, hollering and taunting expletives. Varitek wasn’t in the mood. He told A-Rod to get the “choice word here” to first base. Next thing you know, the superstar of the Yankees and the captain of the Red Sox were jaw to jaw. Arms flailing toward each other. Varitek literally lifted A-Rod off the ground with his glove, and then, a melee ensued.

Still though, the Yankes took a 9-4 lead on the Sox as the middle innings wore on. But the Red Sox kept chipping away. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, bam. Bill Mueller hit a walkoff homer off Mariano Rivera. The Red Sox had planted a seed in the minds of the Yankees, their bullies for all those years.

By the end of October, they had turned the tables on the Yankees from 3-0 down in the ALCS and went on to win their first World Series in 86 years.

Varitek’s mitt in A-Rod’s face was simply a sign that the Red Sox weren’t going to take it anymore. It is one of those moments that won’t be forgotten. And now it is five years later, and the Yankees — though they now lead the AL East — are still trying to even the score.

Red Sox against Puerto Rico

An interesting day here at City of Palms, with the Red Sox facing off against Puerto Rico’s World Baseball Classic squad.

It is the return of Alex Cora to City of Palms, though Cora isn’t in the lineup. Neither, for that matter, is Bernie Williams. Carlos Beltran is batting third and Pudge Rodriguez, still looking for a job, is hitting sixth. Sidewinder Javier Lopez could pitch against the Sox today, which is an interesting twist, but not exactly Derek Jeter facing the Yankees.

It’s a bittersweet day for Mike Lowell, who wanted to play for Puerto Rico but had to give up that dream thanks to his hip surgery. Overall, Lowell is in great spirits and plans on playing in an exhibition game within the next week.

The J.D. Drew situation really seems very minor. His main thinking behind the cortisone shot was simply to eliminate the problem before it became one. Drew should play Friday.

Clay Buchholz is pitching today for the Sox. He’ll be followed out of the ‘pen by Jonathan Papelbon, Michale Bowden, Marcus McBeth, Charlie Zink and Daniel Bard.

The Sox have a lineup of Ellsbury; Lugo; Carter (1B); Bailey (LF); Wilkerson (RF); Lowrie 3B; Kottaras; Green.

Big Papi on himself, A-Rod and the game

It’s officially a full house in Fort Myers as Mike Lowell just walked into a mostly-empty complex to unpack his belongings. Lowell will likely speak to the assembled media in the next couple of days. Today was David Ortiz’s turn to have center stage.

Ortiz addressed the media for some 25 minutes today, addressing issue after issue:

He is driven to bounce back in 2009 and silence some perceived critics:

sometimes, I listen to comments and it just does nothing but make me stronger.
I heard people saying, he’s getting old or whatever. Dude, I just turned 33. I
never seen a player be called old at 33. People are kind of used to seeing
David Ortiz producing like I have done as long as I’ve been here. I don’t blame
nobody. But people sometimes need to sit down and analyze the game. This is not
a game where you just play it and go home and that’s about it. We come here, we
get prepared to play. I try my best every time I go out there. Like I said, I
try to help this ballclub. These negative comments that people make about you,
just for one year that you’ve been off for injuries and things like that, that
makes no sense. So I just put that behind my back and it’s a new year.
Everybody is starting at zero. Let things happen.”

Ortiz is very happy about the way his wrist feels:

I finally don’t have my mind worrying anymore. I took my time off swinging like
the doctor said and I started right on when he told me and I went back to
Boston. I’m feeling fine right now. I’ve got no problem swinging.”

He seems a little concerned that the Red Sox didn’t pick up a bona-fide slugger to replace his pal Manny Ramirez in the lineup:

you can add a slugger to your lineup, it can do nothing but help. Everybody in
this division is getting stronger. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s
a lot of people out there in the offseason looking for jobs, guys who have done
it before. I guess sometimes our office needs to hear from somebody about what
we need at the time. I always talk to Tito and I always talk to Theo and they’re
always asking me questions. I tell them straight up. So, the problems we’re
facing right now, J.D. has back problems, still. If we would have another
slugger here, we would worry about it, but not that much. We don’t know what’s
going to happen with him during the season.”

Ortiz was proud of his close friend A-Rod for admitting wrong-doing on ESPN in regards to the failed steroid test in 2003:

think the A-Rod situation, it was a little tough for the game because you’re
talking about the best player all the way around. At the same time, people have
to give the guy credit because he came out and said what he said at the point
of his career where he had done it all. On top of that, that was what, six
years ago? The guy has put up numbers his whole career. It was one thing that
he said that caught my attention a lot and it was that he was young and at the
time, that was [happening] all around the league. When you’re young and
somebody comes to you with an idea of improving your production and things like
that, sometimes you make a wrong decision like he did. But he’s been playing
clean and still producing, and he’s still been the best player in the game. If
I’m a fan and I had to judge a guy, I would put that in the past and move
forward. The guy, he works hard, man. He’s still doing his thing. He still has
nine more years on his contract and he’s definitely going to do some damage.”

 On the game distancing itself from the “steroid era”:

I said, man, this game has been hurt, a lot already. This is not a players game
or a team’s game, this is a family game. everybody, we have a lot of families
that live off this game, we have a lot of families that enjoy this game, that
bring their kids to watch these games, and I don’t think that this game can
take anymore. Whatever happened in the past … Everybody right now, I guarantee
you that more than 80 or 90 percent of the players are playing clean. But what
you see out there right now is what you can get.  We’re going through a tough situation all the
way around, the economy, our soldiers fighting in Iraq and all this stuff, and
this game is a distraction for people, for the American families. I would like
to see some things. I would like people to leave this game alone and just let us
play the game. I would do whatever it takes to make this game get better, but
not everybody is on the same page. The game has changed a lot. There’s a lot of
pressure. This game, it’s been getting a lot of heat lately. Let’s just play
the game. The game is tough enough. People need to hear something different.