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Yuni vs. his predecessors, part 10 March 19, 2008

Posted by Brad in commentary, stats.
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Sorry for the recent slowdown. Suffice it to say, I hate Firefox crashes, taxes and the Queen Anne hill, but have a soft spot for barleywine, girlfriends, and Yuniesky Betancourt. As for Alex Rodriguez… he’s okay

1994-200: Alex Rodriguez
Stats: .309/.374/.561 in 3,126 at bats over 7 seasons. A four-time All-Star, he finished second in MVP voting in 1996, and third in 2000.
Place in M’s fandom: Forever scorned. Partly because he popularized “Who Let the Dogs Out?;” mostly because he had the gall to exercise free agency.
How did the Mariners react to Rodriguez accepting a then-historic, still-mostly-historic 10-year, $252 million dollar contract from the Texas Rangers? Not with their standard Pacific Northwest charm. Kirby Arnold (and his book) tells the story

Before his first at-bat after returning as a Ranger, Rodriguez stood in the on-deck circle unaware that a fan in the front row was using a fishing pole to dangle a dollar bill over his head. (146)

Google Alert: Alex Rodriguez gets paid to play baseball. Paid more than anybody else, ever.
For a better sense of how Seattle treated Rodriguez when the Mariners were the ones paying him, skim through Alex Rodriguez: A+ Shortstop, by Mike Shalin. Here’s a sample, kid-friendly paragraph from the “Small Market Blues” chapter:

While most players do their part in doing things to help people, no one does more than Alex. When you talk about putting something back into the game, you don’t look any further than Alex, who learned–from Griffey and others before him–how important it is to act the right way when you’re a professional athlete, or any kind of human being. Alex listened well. (11)

Wikipedia/Google: Even though A-Rod was drafted by the M’s first overall straight out of high school, he gave $3.9 million to the University of Miami to renovate their baseball stadium. He’s a ‘Canes fan? Given the amount of “Miami’s #1… Not!” t-shirts worn in Seattle in the early 1990s (due to the lack of a college football national championship game), this adds to Rodriguez’s perceived villainy.
Alex Rodriguez has his own website, ARod.com, run by Major League Baseball. It’s better than OmarVizquel.com, because it features a mailbag where you can learn what Rodriguez’s slump buster is (“I just have to remember what has made me successful, and in time, the hits will come again.”)
One of Rodriguez’s nickname besides the Niehaus-coined A-Rod is “The Cooler,” which may be the only William H. Macy reference in professional sports. Perhaps people should start calling Willie Bloomquist “Little Bill.”
It bears mentioning that Rodriguez is currently the best player in baseball.

Was Alex Rodriguez a better Mariners shortstop than Yuniesky Betancourt?
Yes. But he’s not nearly as likable. Every time I try to get over his leaving Seattle, he does something unforgivable, like play for the Yankees, cheat with an egregious runner’s interference, give politicians money, or cheat with a Canadian. Rikimbili, on the other hand, has never let me down.

Next: Injuries!

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