February 16, 2004

Well, Here We Go. Murray Chass of the New York Times sets the tone for the framing of the A-Rod Trade with some puke-worthy prose masquerading as "analysis" (and on the front page of the paper, no less):

"In the end, the Yankees' trade for Alex Rodriguez is just another instance in which the Yankees beat the Red Sox. They beat them by finishing first in their division last season; they beat them in the postseason and went to the World Series; and now, in the game of winter hardball, it's Yankees 1, Red Sox 0. The funny thing about this latest competition is that the Yankees were not even competing with the Red Sox for Rodriguez, a star shortstop and the American League's most valuable player last season. When the Red Sox were trying to get him in a trade from the Texas Rangers this winter, they were all alone. ... They had an exclusive period to meet and court Rodriguez, courtesy of an overly sympathetic baseball commissioner, Bud Selig, and they still couldn't win."

This will be -- or already is -- the party line: The Cursed Red Sox and the Mighty Yankees were both bidding for Alex Rodriguez and, as they always do, the Mighty Yankees came out on top. And even though Chass admits this is/was not the case, he still scores it Yankees 1, Red Sox 0 -- though since the Yankees made a play for Curt Schilling before Boston swooped in, at the very least it's 1-1. And with Babe Ruth's name littering ESPN's coverage, the media has fallen in line. The headlines alone give you the flavor (though there are links if you want to wallow):

Summer or Winter, the Yankees Show the Red Sox How to Win (New York Times)
Time to Put Away the Sox (Washington Post)
Curse of the Georgino (Philadelphia Daily News) [SoSH mentioned]
Ho-hum, Steinbrenner Trumps the Red Sox Again (Toronto Globe and Mail)
Bosox in Panic Mode (Bergen Record)
This Rivalry Always Has the Same Ending (Newark Star-Ledger)
Hey, Red Sox Fans, Please Come Back in Off the Ledge (Houston Chronicle)
A-Rod Trade May Haunt Red Sox (Contra Costa Times)
A-Rod's Ruthian Switch (San Francisco Chronicle)

The Boston Herald covers all the bases:
Same old tune written for second fiddle (Michael Gee)
Good news Sox fans: AL East is not lost yet (Steve Buckley)
Sox have only themselves to blame (Gerry Callahan)
NY must still win on field (Tony Massarotti)

Speaking of the Herald, here's today's Gratutious Manny Slam: Tony Massarotti with "Manny Magoo" ... Terry Francona awaits The Truck. ... "Francona Facing Fireworks at Frantic Fenway" ... Derek Lowe comments on A-Rod. ... "Rodriguez Trade Could Kill Sox-Yanks Rivalry" ... Chris Havel, Green Bay Press Gazette: "The New York Yankees are to baseball what dysentery is to the flu. They aren't the sickness so much as an irritating symptom of what ails America's pastime."

And some snips (taking me well into Gleeman-length today!):

Michael Holley: "This is usually the point in the story when someone who is not affiliated with the New York media complains about the evil Yankees and their payroll. That won't happen in this space. The Yankee payroll is not the focus of their matchup with the Sox; the starting pitching is. ... [In 2001, 2002 and 2003] the Yankees lost to teams that had better pitching. As loaded as their lineup is now, they are going to see -- for the first time -- better pitching from a team in their own division. Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, and Derek Lowe are better than any three starters the Yankees have, and they're better in the regular season and postseason. ... New York has someone Boston wanted, but this time the theme is not a tragic one. Bizarre? No doubt. A dose of humiliation after a whole lot of flirting? Uh, yeah. Tragic? Nah. The Sox have some people who can play a little bit, too."

Art Martone: "The Red Sox may have believed they were only potential landing place for A-Rod, and, logically, you can see why they'd think that. The Yankees had Derek Jeter at shortstop and a payroll approaching $180 million. ... You have to think the Rangers agreed, judging by their very public attempts to mend fences with both Rodriguez and their fan base ... up to and including the charade of naming A-Rod captain. But the Rangers weren't looking to trade Alex Rodriguez to Boston. They were looking to trade Alex Rodriguez, period. ... You want to blame the Red Sox for something? Blame them for not understanding that once they didn't acquire Alex Rodriguez, it meant someone else could. Or, more accurately, for taking the gamble that no one else would. ... [B]eating the Yankees just got harder. The decisions the Sox have to make after the 2004 season just got tougher. And the curse chorus -- which would have been silenced forever had Grady Little been alive and well during the bottom of the eighth inning on Oct. 16 -- just got louder."

Newsday: "Multiple baseball sources said the Red Sox reached out to both the Texas Rangers and Rodriguez Saturday. In these discussions, the Red Sox offered to take Rodriguez and his bulky contract "as is" - a stunning reversal from their previous position. According to a source, a mutual friend of both Rodriguez and the Red Sox approached the All-Star on Boston's behalf. ... Rodriguez enthusiastically told the go-between, 'tell [Red Sox president] Larry Lucchino to - off!' Lucchino did not return a phone call for comment yesterday. Through a Red Sox spokesman, general manager Theo Epstein denied the Red Sox made an 11th hour push for Rodriguez. However, he conceded that there might have been communication between the mutual friend and Rodriguez. ... [Rangers general manager John] Hart denied speaking with the Red Sox ..."

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