Thursday, April 30, 2009

A-Rod's "slump insurance"

Alex Rodriguez is an unusual baseball player, as fans are learning with every passing day and story. The latest oddity, according to the New York Daily News, comes from Selena Roberts who reports in her forthcoming biography that Rodriguez would tip pitches to opposing hitters in the hope that they would return the favor. While playing for the Texas Rangers, he would let "a friendly opponent at the plate know which pitch was coming in lopsided games. Rodriguez expected players he helped would do the same for him when he was having an off night and needed to get his batting average up and it wouldn't affect the outcome of the game."
Here's an interview with Roberts published by Sports Illustrated. What's equally interesting is this comment:
I don't know the history of how it has worked in the major leagues, but from my reporting and the people I spoke with on the Rangers, what they noticed was a pattern of behavior by Alex over a pretty lengthy period of time, two or three years, where it just became more noticeable that his mannerisms on the field were different in games that were already over, its 10-2, something like that.
Roberts is suggesting that there is a "history" of pitch tipping in the major leagues, though I can't find much to confirm such a contention. It does seem that careful analysis of video and statistical evidence could clear Rodriguez or validate Roberts. If only baseball fans were interested in arguments about stats...

9 comments:

Jordan said...

I really dislike the guy but the media obsession with him is troubling. There are a lot of things wrong in sports. A-Rod is a very easy target and generally not popular so I think that plays a role in the coverage afforded his various troubles.

David Archer said...

I agree that the media obsession is excessive (though I'm not convinced that he isn't complicit in the creation of his own hype machine). I am not particularly concerned about his use of steroids because he's hardly unique in that regard, and steroids alone can't explain success on the field. But the story about the pitch tipping is just really surprising to me. It's caused me to wonder exactly how naive I am.

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