Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday 10/21 Quickie: A-Rod, CC,
Greinke, Cutler, Bama, Bradford, Magic

At this point, what A-Rod is doing in the playoffs has transcended skill and is approaching myth -- his 5 HR through 7 games matches Reggie in 1977, the gold standard for Yankee (even MLB-wide) power in the playoffs, when it matters.

"When it matters" is the crux of the A-Rod story. No one has ever denied his talent. They have merely denied that he is a winner. Or that he is "clutch" (not that clutch exists). Actually, it's possible that A-Rod's power this postseason is merely "progression to the mean" -- given his career, he was due for something like this. Long overdue, actually.

No question, some part of his previous problems were mental -- they defied quantitative explanation. And I'm willing to grant that even if there is no such thing as clutch, there is such a thing as choke -- consequently, there is something to the idea that A-Rod has simply relaxed.

It helps that the rest of his team is bashing the ball, that CC Sabathia is absolutely dominant, that there is a sense of inevitability to the Yankees' championship progression that has been missing since the first few games of the 2003 World Series.

So today's SN column lead is about how A-Rod has bashed -- and banished -- the ghosts of failures past.

More you'll find in today's column:

*Greinke and Lincecum for Cys? Obviously.
*Jay Cutler has momentum; Brady Quinn does not.
*Tony Pike > Jimmy Clausen
*I'll repeat: The Magic will win the East.
*CBB Top 25 countdown: No. 21 Illinois? What about No. 21... Northwestern?!
*Alabama kicking "scandal" is the new Rivera spitball "scandal"

Lots more. Check it out here. More later.

-- D.S.

1 comment:

Trenchman003 said...

Dan, A-Rod's sudden clutch play is indicative of a man who has finally become comfortable in his own skin. And I would argue that freedom comes from being free of the lies on which his life which we had previously come to "know" him were founded on--namely, his PED use and his failed marriage.
Here's a guy who "had it all" according to almost any definition of the words and yet always seemed to be distant and running from something; his own (or our) expectations of greatness, being a "clean" HR king, an iconic good guy. But the truth has set him free--he no longer has to worry that one day we will peel back the curtain and see that the all powerful Oz doesn't exist.
He has been exposed for all of his flaws and found to be just another human being with the same weaknesses and lapses in judgment we all have. And I think it's surprised him to find out that even after we found the skeletons in his closet, we still idolized his play and (mostly) thought none the less of him. That sigh of relief has been reflected in a post-season where he looks like a man who's made peace with himself and as a result is terrorizing opposing teams.
Alex has figured out that he's had the last laugh all along. He was so worried about living up to other's standards that he forgot that he'd already lived up to his. That truth has liberated him, and he, the Yankees and all of baseball (except for the teams standing in his way of a world title) are the better for it.