Sitting four home runs shy of 700, Alex Rodriguez should sign elsewhere and reach the milestone before officially retiring
Welcome one and welcome all back to the midweek bonanza of hot takes from yours truly. Before diving into this one, catch up on last week’s edition, where Brendan went buckwild on Eli Manning (he’s just not that good Brendan, get over it). Will the fearless leader/editor commandeer this week’s story? Let’s find out.
1. Alex Rodriguez owes the New York Yankees jack shit, and should sign with another team to reach 700 home runs
Ah yes, A-Roid, the easiest Yankee for me to hate over the last decade plus (just ahead of Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera) is calling it a career on Friday. Or is it more accurately stated that Rodriguez is being released by the Yankees and offered a special position for PR purposes? Whatever way you read the tea leaves go for it. I’m more in the second camp between those two positions, but that’s besides the point.
Here’s my biggest bitch about this whole situation. After such a long time with the Yankees, including a MVP and World Series, Rodriguez owes the Yankees absolutely fucking nothing. So what if the contract is awful? So what if he got suspended for steroids? So what if he did so many shitty things that made New York and baseball fans hate his guts? That doesn’t matter. In the world of guaranteed contracts in Major League Baseball, Rodriguez collects his paychecks the same this year as he did in his MVP season.
While it sucks to be released and looks terrible for an aging baseball player, I have no idea why A-Rod would accept this forced retirement and take a place inside the Yankees front office. Dude, you have more money than you could ever need, and you’re four home runs short of 700. The Yankees want to release you? Go for it, fuck them. There HAS to be a team in the MLB (I’m looking at you Tampa Bay, Miami, somewhere else that needs asses in the seats) that would sign Rodriguez for the rest of the season and see if he can get to 700 ding dongs. And if I’m Rodriguez, I do that every time. The Yankees were going to eat most of that contract anyways, so why not play for the rest of the year instead of retiring on a Friday against Tampa Bay?
And speaking of retiring, thank God the Red Sox aren’t going to “honor” this guy with a ceremony like they did for Jeter or Rivera. Once Boston won the World Series they’ve gone soft. I understood the ceremonies for Mo and Jeets, but I still didn’t like the idea of a rival honoring their best player. The same goes with New York for David Ortiz this season. It’s just not for me.
2. Lily King kicked some Russian ass at the Rio Olympics, but if she ever gets caught for cheating, she’ll eat her own words
When somebody goes full Mutumbo on someone else, it’s fucking awesome. And that’s exactly what US swimmer Lily King did to Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova during their back-and-forth battle in the 100-meter breaststroke at the Rio Olympics. King winning the Gold Medal and then calling out Efimova for doping right after was fucking awesome, and got my American heart thumping. Even though the Cold War ended, seeing that pro-US, anti-Russian storyline gets me going every single time.
But man, if King EVER gets caught doping, or even cheating in some way, shape or form, is she going to eat every single word she’s said during these Summer Olympics.
I’m all for calling out someone who cheats. That’s how it should be. You got caught cheating? Sucks to suck. And King said that and plenty more over the past couple days in regards to her rival in the pool. But if I’m Lily King, I am hoping that for the rest of my career, no banned substances or anything that can even be questioned for cheating comes up. If that happens, these clips will be on replay for days. And that’s exactly what should happen.
King is America’s darling right now for sticking a huge middle finger to the female Ivan Drago swimmer, but she can’t fuck this up down the road. Stay away from GNC, and don’t teeter the line between acceptable and unacceptable. You want to know what’s just as bad as being a cheater? Being a hypocrite who mouths off for opponents cheating and then cheats herself.
3. The new Penn State football locker room showcases everything that’s wrong with college football
I went in on Penn State earlier this year when reports came out about Joe Paterno knowing about Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse in the 1970s. And then this week we see Penn State players losing their minds over a brand new, state-of-the-art locker room at Beaver Stadium.
Total cost of the project? A cool $12 million. Total record of Penn State last year? A disappointing 7-6. Total amount of money awarded to victims of Sandusky at Penn State? Not enough at $90 million.
Oh does that piss me off.
A program that has proven time and time again that it’s more important than much more important topics (like fucking sexual assault and covering it up) just got a massive facelift that showcases the power of D-I college football. I wonder if another $12 million would have been nice for the victims or some other worthy topic? But if you’re a Nittany Lion, you would rather your football team be pampered in a new locker room. Seriously, fuck that.
Programs keep pumping money into these outrageous locker rooms and training facilities in college football, and overshadow the glaring holes in the system. Players are putting their bodies on the line for no real benefit, while fans buy their jerseys (with all profits going to the school) and coaches keep getting richer off contracts and endorsement deals. This system in a word is fucked. And Penn State, or Sex Offender U., just got a new locker room. Gross.
4. I love outdoor hockey games in the NHL, but let’s pump the breaks on how many there will be every year
On Tuesday, the NHL had its annual press conference at the site of the Winter Classic. For 2017, this means Busch Stadium in St. Louis as the Blues prepare to host the Blackhawks. I love the NHL, and I love outdoor games. They’re awesome, and I think it helps grow the game to a wider audience because it connects to the ideals of pond hockey and playing the game outdoors.
But, there is too much of a good thing. And, I think the NHL is tip-toeing that line pretty damn closely.
For the 2016-17 NHL season, there will be four outdoor games. Only 2014-15 had more outdoor contests, when six games were held the year after the NHL fucked over hockey fans everywhere with another lockout. But back to my original point. Here’s the outdoor game schedule for this season:
- Heritage Classic: Edmonton Oilers at Winnipeg Jets, October 23, 2016
- Centennial Classic: Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs, January 1, 2017
- Winter Classic: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues, January 2, 2017
- Stadium Series: Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins, February 18, 2017
Two games in Canada, two in the US. Two new teams to outdoor games, and six returners. There are simply too many games, and I think the NHL is shooting itself in the foot by adding more outdoor celebrations.
When the first Winter Classic happened in 2008 it was awesome. The ratings were great, and the league carved out a day where the average sports fan watched hockey. Now, it’s getting closer to losing its luster, and just becoming another date on the calendar. Stick with one, maybe two outdoor games a year and leave it at that.
Also, while we’re on the topic, let’s stop having the fucking Chicago Blackhawks in outdoor games. This will be their fifth since 2009, and fourth straight year playing in a game. Spread the wealth. Seven teams have yet to play in an outdoor game. You want to grow the sport? Figure out a way to make the other teams play in the games, and then can we revisit this discussion of outdoor hockey.
5. Ichiro Suzuki is the best five-tool player I’ve seen in my lifetime
The often quiet, constantly-hitting Ichiro Suzuki picked up his 3,000th career hit in the MLB last week with a triple. In true Ichiro fashion, he flashed his patented leg kick and turned on an inside pitch before showcasing his speed on the basepaths. Since leaving Japan to play in the States in 2001, or when I was nine years old, Ichiro has been the best five-tool baseball player that I’ve ever seen.
Even at the age of 42, Ichiro still has flashes of brilliance that made him a 10-time All Star and 2001 MVP. He played almost every game for the first 11 years of his MLB career, and collected 10 straight Gold Gloves in his tenure with the Seattle Mariners. And when he collected hit No. 3,000, it solidified my take.
Suzuki has swiped over 500 career bases, picked out 122 outfield assists, secured a .993 fielding percentage, hit for a .314 career average, and driven in 750 runs from the top of the order. Sure his power numbers aren’t that great, but Ichiro could certainly reach the seats if he needed to. Just look at his career stats.
Mike Trout is right up there as well, but he doesn’t have the time put in that Ichiro does. Watching highlights of Suzuki early in his career was like watching a created player in a video game. Lightning speed, cannon arm, great fly-ball tracking skills and an ability to get on base – man was he fucking fun. He’s not the all-time hit king, that’s still Pete Rose, but Ichiro has to go down as one of the best hitters of all time. It’s been fun watching his career, and I hope he sticks it out even longer. Or better yet, makes a serious playoff run. He’s never been to the World Series. So let’s go Miami, and get Ichiro a ring.
6. Camel of the Week Award: Chad le Clos
This had someone else’s name on it originally, but they were spared when Chad le Clos of South Africa came at the King (Michael Phelps) and missed wildly.
It was bad enough for ol’ Chad that Phelps pretty much led wire to wire, but to not even medal? That’s gotta hurt. Especially after the NBC spot that ran just a few minutes before the race made him look like a real cocky SOB.
Not going to lie, I was thrilled when Phelps won, and even more so when “le Clos” didn’t pop up as at least one of the three medal winners last night. But that cant have been a good feeling for Chad. He probably knew he lost when he hit the wall, but it seemed like he didn’t know he was off the podium until he looked at the timeboard.
Well Chad, I don’t want you to go home empty handed. So, out of the graciousness of my heart, I decided to give you the Camel of the Week. Wear it well.
That’ll do it for us. We’ll be back next week with some more hot takes for your Wednesday reading enjoyment. Follow Tim on Twitter@culvey13 and Brendan at @MurraySportTalk for more, or to tell me us we’re morons. Either way, have at it.