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Gammons wails on this guitar just as surely as he wails on A-Rod.

Today, on ESPN radio, Peter Gammons elaborated on his comments last night about A-Rod and the timing of his announcement. The winner of this one-sided smackdown? Why, Gammons of course, just as surely as the Red Sox just thrashed the Rockies. Below, a transcript of sorts* compiled by yours truly:

“Why did it have to be done before…the end of the World Series? It is a pitiful act [coming from] a desire to always get attention. It’s narcissistic. And you know what? I don’t care. Sports Center may be like Entertainment Tonight and they may care about that far more than I do. But the best story in baseball this year is not Alex Rodriguez, it’s Jon Lester.

“Jon Lester’s velocity is not back [yet], but nine months after coming off chemotherapy he went out and pitched the clinching game of the World Series. That to me is a lot more important than whether Alex [laughing dismissively] Rodriguez—who has never done what Jon Lester or Dustin Pedroia have done, that is, play in a World Series game—makes, you know, 38 million or 56 million or whatever he makes a year, and it disgusts me [voice cracking] and if I were the owner of a baseball team I would say, what are the priorities here? Is it winning? Or is it just simply getting my name out there and being on the front page of the New York Post?

“There’s a great story about Pedroia, who’s one of my favorite players because he’s just a little five-foot-five guy who can really play. After his freshman year at Arizona State the Sun Devils did not have very much pitching, so Pedroia gave up his scholarship [shouting now] so that they could take the money and go sign a couple of pitchers so that Arizona State could win. And when they went to the college world series in 2004 when he was already a professional player, the coaches and the players all had “DP” on their hats, playing in Omaha, in honor of Dustin Pedroia and his leadership and what it meant to him to win and get to Omaha. Alex doesn’t have that in his resume. So I thought yesterday was a very sad state [of affairs] and I think it’s even sadder that people are making such a big deal of it.

“[The Red Sox] are not going to pursue A-Rod. What’s amazing to me is, the way the Red Sox travel. There were a good 15,000 people at least, Red Sox fans, in Coors Field last night. I have no idea how much money they all paid to get the scalped tickets, but as the players came back on the field after the game, over an hour and a half after the game, Theo epstein came out and a chant took over the whole ballpark, which was, “Don’t sign A-Rod.” The fans were chanting that. It was kind of an interesting contrast to when Lowell was out on the field earlier, and they were all chanting “MVP” and “Sign Mike Lowell” and all of that. If you go back to 1985, and I haven’t gone back any further than that, there hasn’t been one team that’s won the World Series with one player who’s made more than 16% of the team’s payroll. This isn’t basketball. This is baseball, where the money gets spread out and it’s about 25 guys and a team concept. And that notion that one star [can get you there]—it’s a great idea if you want to lead Entertainment Tonight or Sports Center, but it doesn’t always do a lot of good when it comes to win world championships.

“I really like Alex, I think he’s a really good guy, but I think that sometimes the attention thing gets in the way…This whole thing just reeks with everything that’s wrong with sports and frankly, what’s wrong with the culture. It’s not about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, it’s about who is really accomplished. And this thing really was a bad move. Now I don’t think Tom Hicks in Texas is smart enough to understand it and maybe they can buffalo Artie Moreno in Anaheim into saying, “Boy, this is what we really need.” But in the end, when you go back and look at the great Yankee teams of ’96 through 2000, there weren’t any guys hitting 40 home runs. There weren’t any guys who were cover boys. As much as people love Jeter, he’s a very private person and the ultimate team player. That’s just not what dominated the last forty years of the sport.”

*I cut out all the stuff that wasn’t about A-Rod, because honestly, I’m feeling a little bit sensationalist right now, even though that sort of goes against the point Gammons was making. Unsurprisingly, I have an US Weekly addiction, too.

16 Responses to “P-Gam v. A-Rod”

  1. I understand that BoSox fans don’t want A-Rod because he’s a douche but two things are inarguable. (which means somebody is going to argue with me)

    1). The Boston Red Sox would be a better baseball team with Alex Rodriguez at third base.

    2). There would be no bigger f-you to the Yankees than if Arod signed with Boston, and promptly helped win a title next year.

    I’m not a Sox fan, so I’d love to see this.

  2. Sarah Green says:

    1) Though the Boston Red Sox might put up gaudier offensive stats with A-Rod at third base, they would in fact be a weaker *team* with Alex Rodriguez in that locker room and with his salary as part of their payroll.

    2) The bigger f-you than A-Rod signing with Boston would be A-Rod hopping on the subway and signing with the Mets, especially if he helped them get past the LDS hump the Yankees have been stuck on lo these many years.

    3) Boston doesn’t need A-Rod’s “help.”

  3. Paul Moro says:

    The guy’s right, obviously. There was no reason to announce this during the clinching game if it were not meant to get as many people as possible thinking about A-Rod wearing their team’s colors.

    But the cynic in me also wonders if he would’ve been so emotionally involved in this if it didn’t happen to the Red Sox. He’s born and raised in Massachusetts and covered the Sox for the Boston Globe for eons and he never lost the perspective of the Red Sox fan. So I’m not completely convinced that he’s speaking out as a citizen of the game of baseball, but rather, a guy who felt that something was taken away from him personally as a Red Sox fan. Either way, I can understand his sentiments, but it does frame the conversation in a different light.

    And yes, I am doubting the great Peter Gammons. Which means that I should be receiving tons of hate mail in the coming days.

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Paul, I don’t know. I think if it had been Rockies-Indians in the World Series, Gammons still would have been pissed. And I think more than it happening to the Red Sox, he was pissed that it stole the spotlight from Jon Lester, whose story this season was both a great baseball story and a great personal story.

  5. Nick Kapur says:

    Sarah, I think you’re right, Gammons would have still been pissed even it it weren’t the Red Sox…

    But his voice would not have been nearly as choked with rage!

  6. Maybe I’m just bitter because I took this line from his blog on ESPN personally:

    “Want to know about winners? Pedroia gave up his scholarship at Arizona State to free up money to sign a much-needed pitcher, so when the Sun Devils reached the College World Series, coaches and players had “DP” on their caps in honor of their leader who never got to Omaha. The sabermetrics guys in their garages never understand these things.”

    Umm… Peter? That stung a little. We’re not heartless bastards, you know.

  7. As a baseball (and not a Red Sox) fan, I was personally more interested in the A-Rod news than what the Red Sox and Rockies were doing on the field. Sorry, Peter.

  8. Sarah Green says:

    Actually, the whole US Weekly-ification of sports journalism was the topic of a recent article in the NYT by Richard Ford. I found his tone rather off-putting, though I think I basically agree with his main point: let’s not forget the game as it’s played.

  9. Sarah Green says:

    Paul, I’m not an ESPN insider, so I can’t read the full text of the blog. Was an earlier part of the blog about sabermetrics or something? Cause as you’ve quoted it, that jab does seem a bit random.

  10. Blastings! says:

    It would be one thing if we had to hear about A-Rod’s personal life in the middle of the game. Now, maybe we’re saying that contract negotiations and the like are a player’s personal business, but if that were true they wouldn’t call press conferences to announce free agent signings. No, A-Rod is baseball, and the World Series is the proper stage to announce it. If the Mets were about to win the World Series when this announcement was made, I would have shrugged my shoulders and continued watching the game. It’s just not a big deal.

  11. Sarah Green says:

    Why is the World Series the proper stage for A-Rod to announce his free agency?

  12. Nick Kapur says:

    Blastings, it was kind of a big deal, especially with the way the Fox guys made it seem more important than the game. As a baseball fan (and not a Red Sox fan), I kind of wanted to watch actual baseball (and not the A-Rod show).

  13. There is a written (or unwritten) rule that teams do not hold press conferences during the World Series. They respectfully allow the two teams their spotlight for the few days it takes to play out the culmination of the season.

    The Yankees waited until Monday morning to announce they had made an offer to Joe Girardi. I highly doubt that they called Joe to coffee that morning and said “Hey, wanna manage the Yankees?” They delayed their press release on purpose.

    A-Rod, and Boras, do not hold to that code. Given he had ten days after the completion of the World Series to opt out of his contract, it was a deliberate effort to upstage the World Series. A monday morning release would have provided similar buzz, with less tackiness.

    In a previous comment, I was too harsh on the Yankees. I retract such scorn and heap it on A-Rod instead.

    (PS. Excellent use of buffalo as a verb by Gammons)

  14. Sarah Green says:

    It is an excellent use of buffalo as a verb! I have made a note of it.

    But re: the Yankees, they had announced earlier that Monday was the day they would make their annoucement (they announced the annoucement, as it were). So if the Sox had lost on Sunday, there would have been a game Monday and the Yankees would have gone ahead with the press conference during the Series.

  15. Fair point.

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