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Baseball & Truth II

The biggest sports news of recent days, at least on the east coast of the U.S., is Alex Rodriguez's signing with the New York Yankees. A lot of baseball pundits have been comparing Rodriguez to Babe Ruth, but when we caught up with the A-Rod last September, he told Fast Company that his idol was not Babe Ruth or Cal Ripken... but Leonardo da Vinci.

He could do everything. He was a scientist, an architect, a painter, everything. To me, that's an inspiration I can bring to my game. Everyone focuses on the home runs and RBIs, but winning a Gold Glove for my defense last year was one of my proudest moments.

Rodriguez also took some time to comment on the meaning of money. "I don't think money really changes you. You have to remember that it doesn't make you who you are," he says. "You have to go about your business just as you did before: working hard, preparing, and performing. The money is just what you have after you're done doing your job."

Red Sox owner John Henry has said that the sport might need a salary cap "to deal with a team that has gone so insanely far beyond the resources of all the other teams." Is Rodriguez's move about money? Or do you the think the Yankees were able to offer him career advancement opportunities that the Sox couldn't?

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  • Geoff Miller

    As far as A-Rod is concerned, this deal has nothing to do with money...his contract will be paid in full no matter where he goes. However, he will earn a LOT more in endorsements now that he's in New York. Jason Giambi had zero national commercials when he was in Oakland, but after coming over to the Yankees he could be seen on Pepsi commercials with Sammy Sosa and in a number of other spots.

    But this has nothing to do with dollars from Alex's point of view. It's an opportunity for him to win a championship. And I have to disagree with Howard Owens that this deal doesn't make sense from a business and a baseball perspective.

    The Yankees were planning on having Enrique Wilson fill the 3B spot and now he'll play 2b, so they are no worse off than before in their "weakest" position. But they've gotten the best player in baseball in place of a very talented young player who had plenty of holes in his game (Soriano struck out more than 1 out of every 3 times in last year's playoffs and was average at best in the field). Offensively, Rodriguez has led the AL in home runs the last 3 years and he's a gold glove defender, too. So baseballwise, this is a big upgrade.

    From a business perspective, it's almost impossible to believe that the Yankees could generate even more interest than they already do, but this deal has turned the entire sports world on its ear. AP reports that "New York has sold nearly 104,000 tickets worth $4.6 million since Monday, when it acquired the American League MVP from the Texas Rangers. The sales are double the amount for the same period last year, the team said yesterday." Sounds like this move is paying dividends for them from the start! That was the side of the deal that Boston didn't ever comprehend and why they shouldn't have haggled with Texas over the extra millions they would have to pay on A-Rod's contract.

    I do think that there is plenty of truth to the fact that the Yankees are taking joy in causing the Red Sox pain over this deal, but the Sox have only themselves to blame for it. They teed the trade up, showed everyone in baseball that it wasn't that hard to get A-Rod from Texas as long as you were willing to commit the money to make the deal, and then they decided not to do it.

  • Howard Owens

    This deal isn't all that it appears. The Yankees were weak at 3b and strong at second. Now they're weaker at 2nd than they were at 3rd without upgrading all that much. A-Rod is the greatest offensive SS ever, but he will hit as just a slightly above average 3B. The Yankees were a strong offensive team before this trade, but they didn't upgrade themselves much if at all.

    From a pure business perspective, this trade makes little sense. The Red Sox had a much stronger sense of how fashion a smart business deal; the Yankees are just playing one-upsmanship and letting emotion overrule good sense. This deal would never even have been considered by the Yankees if the Sox hadn't made a strong run at A-Rod.