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.