Every now and then, there is a moment in a baseball game when there is such a display of incompetence from one player, say—a pitcher walks a guy, beans the next guy, throws a couple of wild pitches, lets one loose behind batter, maybe beans another guy—and then he finally, finally gets it together and, in this example, throws one single strike, such that the crowd erupts into a giant cheer that is one part relief and two parts sarcasm.
Well, the Daily News gives Alex Rodriguez the newspaper equivalent of the sarcastic cheer this morning with the back cover “Look Who Got A-Hit.” It’s not unfair, exactly: Before last night, Rodriguez hadn’t managed a hit with a man on base in the playoffs since 2004. Rodriguez got not just “A-Hit” but two hits against the Twins, finishing 2 for 4, with 2 RBIs. But he was hardly the hero; his two run-scoring singles drove in the 4th and 7th runs of a 7-2 victory, so those questions about whether he can be a clutch hitter in October, from those members of the media inclined to continue asking them, are likely to continue.
Joe Girardi seems encouraged. “I think the importance about playing in October is being relaxed,” Girardi said. “Alex has had a lot of fun this year. You say, ‘How do you know?’ I hear him laughing every day. And it’s laughing out loud.”
Others want to hand it to the bullpen, but the relievers were staked a decent lead and playing a team that had just won a thrilling, one-game playoff in 12 innings late last night, so I think I’ll wait to dive into the bullpen celebration. Actually, predictably, the hero was Derek Jeter, as Mike Lupica explains, dramatically.
The only other notable news this morning is the reaction to the Jets trade for troubled receiver Braylon Edwards. There’s cross-tabloid agreement from Steve Serby and Gary Myers that this is a “risk worth taking.” (It’s in Serby’s lead; it’s Myers’s kicker.) Serby is a little more bullish, suggesting Edwards could be the Jets’ Randy Moss or Plaxico Burress. Myers is at least a little skeptical, perhaps because he made a few calls:
“He’s a nightmare,” another GM said. “These guys never change. I understand the Jets’ thinking. They feel they can live with the downside. What I look at is the person. I just don’t like the kid. I’m not saying what the Jets did was stupid or wrong. I just don’t like those types of kids. He’s not a team guy. He’s an ultra-selfish guy.”
Jets’ General Manager Mike Tannenbaum is excited: “We’ll cooperate with all the authorities, and we’re glad he’s here.”