Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Just Who's Overrated?

Alex Rodriguez's off-the-field antics often
 draw more attention than he'd like.
I'm no fan of Alex Rodriguez, or any player who used performance-enhancing drugs, but it's hard to believe that a Sports Illustrated poll of major league players decreed him the most overrated player. Joba Chamberlain and Derek Jeter held down the next two spots on the list. It's interesting that all three are Yankees.

I suspect this vote against A-Rod has little to do with on-field accomplishments, or even use of PEDs. It seems to me A-Rod's behavior hasn't helped him gain his colleagues' esteem: off the field he often comes across as disingenuous; on the field he does off things like trying to slap the ball out of a fielder's glove.

The reaction of the players parallels that of Hall of Fame voters. Players who the press didn't like -- Jim Rice, of the Boston Red Sox, comes to mind -- often have trouble getting elected. Other players, who the press portrayed as likable, have smoother paths to the Hall. Kirby Puckett, of the Minnesota Twins, who some thought didn't measure up to the honor, comes to mind.

Rice was a top slugger for a dozen years. He played on good teams. But many reporters didn't like him. So, like the SI poll of players, the Hall of Fame vote comes down to a popularity contest.

Whether it's personal dislike, antipathy toward the Yankees or just the natural impulse to knock the king of the hill, I think the players got this one wrong.

Now, Joba Chamberlain is another story ...


  1. I always thought everyone viewed A-Rod as a very good player on a very good team. Which is exactly what he is. I would have picked Jeter. Why are we still pretending he's great? Why are we still giving him Gold Gloves? It really baffles me.

  2. Gold Gloves are based on reputation a lot of the time. Jeter is a Hall of Famer so people just vote for him, I think

  3. The overrated ones are the ones that never win, yet still get people to say they're great. For example, the Yankees just won their 10th straight against the A's, their 20th out of 24 against them, in large part because Nick Swisher homered, a player Billy Beane let go and Brian Cashman signed. Yet Cashman is "overrated" and Beane, who has never, ever, EVER built a team that has won so much as a single ALCS game, is a "genius." Can somebody explain that to me?

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