Yanks Need A-Rod To Speak Softly, Carry Big Stick

By Jason Klein

His words are hollow, just like his milestone records.

That’s ok though. I don’t need to believe his new humble “good guy” routine. I don’t care where his personal triumphs will ultimately rest within baseball lore either. As a Yankees fan, in 2015, I only need Alex Rodriguez to do one thing.

A-Rod Has Returned.  So Has His Power!

A-Rod Has Returned. So Has His Power!

Keep hitting.

Defying Yankees brass is his business.   Defying Father Time is mine.

Thirteen games into 2015, he’s doing a great job of both. Yankees management had hoped the 39 year-old, admitted PED cheat would disappear faster than his own credibility. Instead, he’s strong-armed his way back into the heart of the Yankees line up, batting .286 with 4 HR and 11 RBI. Coming off two hip surgeries, and a yearlong steroid suspension, he’s once again the team’s most potent offensive force.

Fans around the league are disgusted by his return to baseball. Big deal. They never liked him to begin with. Yankees fans should embrace this! To make the Postseason in 2015, the Bombers need his bat to stay hot.

Just a few months ago, the remaining $61 million left on Rodriguez’s contract was an albatross. For the time being, it seems like money well invested. This will hold true as long as he speaks softly and carries that big stick.

To date, he’s done everything right. Despite all the scrutiny, haters and doubters, he came back and refused to be insubordinate or average. Instead, he’s batted all over the line up, willingly learned how to play first base, and kept his focus on helping the team win games. He’s also determined to be A-Rod again – one of the premier sluggers in the game.

So far, so good.

In 2015, Yankees fans shouldn’t concern themselves so much with A-Rod’s past. When he ties Willie Mays with home run #660 – he’s only 2 HR shy – don’t worry about whether the team publically celebrates or privately pays him a bonus for it.

That’s his concern.

For the team to find success this year, there’s only one thing Yankees fans need Alex Rodriguez to do.

Keep hitting.

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Like A-Rod, Sanchez About To Take On The World. Alone.

By Jason Klein

Just four years ago, I compared Mark Sanchez, to Derek Jeter.

Now, he more closely resembles Alex Rodriguez.

It’s a shame, really.

Like a young Jeter, Sanchez once exhibited confidence, poise and passion.  He also found ways to win big games.

Big playoff games.

Both Sanchez & A-Rod will face hostile crowds, for different reasons.

Both Sanchez & A-Rod will face hostile crowds, for different reasons.

Now, like A-Rod, he’s all alone.

He has the majority of his own fan base, and people within his own organization seemly rooting against him.   He’s saddled his team with an immovable contract, been involved in controversial plays on the field, and controversial situations off it.

Yet, Sanchez takes the field tonight in Detroit looking to prove all doubters and dissenters wrong.

Sanchez against the World.

A-Rod begins a similar fight tonight in the Bronx, but for much different reasons, obviously.

A-Rod cheated his organization.  Sanchez was simply cheated by his.

A-Rod made his own poor decisions.  Sanchez was a victim of those made by others.

A-Rod deserves the ridicule.  Sanchez deserves a fair shot to prove he can win again with proper support.

Tonight, two well-paid, and well-famed New York athletes will take center stage.  Both are polarizing figures.  Both will be booed by their home crowd.  At 38 years-old, A-Rod is simply playing out the string.  At 26 years-old, Sanchez potentially has his best years ahead of him.

If he’s going to spend them playing in New York, the kid from SoCal needs to be confident, poised, and passionate again.  He’s got to find ways to win big games again.

He’s got to be more like the face of the Yankees.

Less like the face of Biogenesis.

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Steroids? How About The Guy Wearing Contact Lenses!

By Jason Klein

Steroids are bad.  I get it.

They’re bad for people and they’re bad for baseball.

Even if I felt otherwise, I’m bombarded by anti-PED messages almost every day.  I’m told that players who use steroids have an unfair advantage and have cheated the game, the fans, and themselves.  They are branded as frauds, vilified by the public, and relegated to pariah status.

Ryan Braun took a 65-game suspension for his steroid use.

Ryan Braun took a 65-game suspension for his steroid use.

The wrath felt is justified.

Let there be no confusion.  Steroids are drugs.  They can cause harm.  They can kill.  They are banned within Major League Baseball and are illegal, for recreational use, in our country…as they should be.

For a minute though, put the legal implications aside.  At face value, a steroid is a foreign substance, entered into the body, intended to give an athlete an advantage or improve their physical capabilities.  Strictly from a performance standpoint, I’ve often wondered: how is this any different than wearing contact lenses to improve vision?  There are plenty of other examples – using an inhaler to improve breathing or drinking coffee to stay alert – but just focus on contacts for a moment.

Like taking steroids, contact lenses allow an athlete to overcome their body’s natural limitations – in this case vision – in order to compete at a high level.

This week, in the wake of Ryan Braun’s 65 game steroid suspension, former MLB pitcher, and current ESPN analyst Curt Schilling said: “Steroids help average players become good, good players become great, and great players become Hall of Famers.”

There are plenty of “great” players who wear contact lenses.  Without them, would they just be “good” players?  Would they even be capable of seeing?

Without steroids, some guys would probably have to call it quits when their abilities deteriorate at an early age.  Without contact lenses, some players would probably have to do the same.

I would never condone the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports, or in life.  Steroids are bad.  I get it.  Those who violate MLB’s steroid policy deserve all the ridicule and backlash they receive.  Conceptually speaking, though, I just wonder how different they are from some other benign “performance enhancers.”

See my point?  Without your lenses in, you might not.

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Another Dark Day for Baseball – Ortiz Linked to PED’s

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 7/30/09

Cowboy Down.

David Ortiz, the face of the 2004 and 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox, is the latest name connected to the, once anonymous, 2003 performance enhancing drug test, according to a New York Times Report.  Ortiz joins Alex RodriguezBarry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa as the most prominent names to come out from that list of 104 names.  Former Red Sox teammate, Manny Ramirez, who already served a 50 game suspensionthis year for his use of PED’s, was also on the 2003 list, according to today’s report

Maybe they were a bunch of “Idiots” after all.

Confirmation of Ortiz’s link to steroids comes as a mild surprise to those who follow the game.  One of the most likable players in the game, prior to 2003, Ortiz’s highest home run total came in 2002 with Minnesota when he finished with just 20 home runs.  The following season, the year he reportedly tested positive, he jumped to 31 home runs.  From 2004-2007, Ortiz blasted 41, 47, 54, & 35 respectively.  Evidence of a hitter “coming into his own,” or did Ortiz have some artificial assistance?

In the two seasons following the release of the Mitchell Report in December 2007, Ortiz’s power numbers have suffered dramatically.  With today’s announcement, his lack of production in recent years appears to be no coincidence, especially to steroid guru, and former Major Leaguer, Jose Canseco.

When asked his thoughts on today’s announcements, Canseco scoffed: “When you tell me something I didn’t already know, I’ll be surprised.”

Though fans have always been suspicious of Ortiz, many who know him personally were blown away by the news.

“This hurts, this really hurts,” former Twins teammate Tori Hunter told ESPN.  “I don’t know what to think about this. I guess you just never know what people do in the dark.”

When confronted by members of the media on Thursday, Ortiz refused to comment on the situation.  What could he say?  With each revelation, fans are numbed to the fact that the entire era is tainted.  It is impossible to decipher who did it and who didn’t simply based on those who have been outed.  Instead, all players are guilty by association.  It’s unfortunate, but it’s the reality.

To paraphrase from the great Jerry Seinfeld, today we learned that back in 2003, Papi was a little sloppy.  There are many responsible for this Major League-sized mess, though.  Ortiz is just the latest superstar caught.

It’s another dark day for baseball.  Another Cowboy down.

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A-Rod: Rehabbing Player & Book Now Share Spot on Shelf

By Jason Klein

Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 5/5/09

Who cares?  That seems to be the overwhelming reaction to A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez, the new “tell-all” book written by Selena Roberts of Sports Illustrated.

A-Rod, the player, has been on the shelf for 5 weeks to start the season (hip).  As for the book, according to the New York Post, its first day on the shelf was disappointing – ranking only 61st in total sales on Amazon.com.  Isn’t this the juicy book everyone was waiting for?  The book that was going to expose A-Rod as a fraud, and a cheater?  If a tree falls and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?

It seems as though the book’s debut in stores was somewhat anti-climactic.  Baseball fans got their fill of the controversy surrounding the game’s most recognizable and dominant player back in February when news of his steroid use first broke.  Other revelations, including Rodriguez tipping pitches to opposing players, hasn’t translated into sales.

On the same day the book was released, Rodriguez was where he should be, on the field, rehabbing his bum hip.  He had a better day than Selena Roberts too, playing 7 innings and blasting a home run in an extended spring training game.  If all goes well, the Yankee third baseman could return to the big show this Friday, against the Orioles in Baltimore.

Now that’s a debut most Yankees fans are anxious about.  The reality is, his reputation has already been damaged following his admission of steroid use back in February.  Does it really matter how much more his rep takes a beating?  Love him or not, Alex Rodriguez is the most important player in the Yankees Universe.  If he hits, and the Yankees win, all is forgiven…that is…until he has an 0-4 day in mid-October.

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