What Was A-Rod Thinking?

Defendant

Alex Rodriguez

Scouting Report:  Highest paid baseball player.  Constantly in People Magazine which is really weird to me.

Plaintiff

Dallas Braden

Scouting Report:  Likes yelling at guys for running over the mound.  That’s all I got on the guy. 

Breakdown

Apparently Alex Rodriguez jogged over the mound after Robinson Cano hit a ball foul.  Eventually the inning ended with a double play by the A’s and Braden decided to say,

“Get off my mound.”

Defendant’s Statement

“He just told me to get off his mound,” Rodriguez said. “I was a little surprised. I’ve never quite heard that, especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career. I’ve never even heard of that in my career and I still don’t know. I thought it was pretty funny, actually.”

Translation

Seems pretty straight forward.  Alex once again stumbles with his words by saying that he has never heard of anyone saying that before. Then he says “Especially” from a guy who has a handful of wins which really leads us to believe that he has heard that before?  Heck I don’t know.

Plaintiff’s Statement

“The long and short of it is it’s pretty much baseball etiquette. He should probably take a note from his captain over there,” Braden said, referring to Yankees leader Derek Jeter, “because you don’t run across the pitcher’s mound in-between an inning or during the game. I was just dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind.”

“I was just trying to convey to him that I was still out there, that ball’s in my hand and that’s my pitcher’s mound. If he wants to run across the pitcher’s mound. Tell him to go do laps in the bullpen,” he said.

Translation

Guy is sure trying to prove his case.  He has decided to jump Jeter into the conversation to sway opinion.  Kind of a lame move there.  Braden uses the possessive “My” which leads me to believe that he feels some sort of ownership to that mound.  That’s weird.  Finally he sends the final blow by saying go do laps in the bullpen.  I have no idea what that means.  Braden doesn’t use any “possessive noun” here so I assume he is giving the green light to jog over the bullpen mounds.  Problem is that those mounds are really far away from Rodriquez’s intended destination which is 1st base.

Does the Defendant Have Anything Else to Say?

Mr. Rodriguez:

“No”

Plaintiff?

Mr. Braden:

“I’m not really a speck on that guy’s radar but he’ll know after today that it might not be a good idea to run across the mound when I’m out there,” Braden said. “It’s not like I throw 95 (mph) and I’m going to hurt him. He’ll know I was there, though.”

Asked if Rodriguez said he was sorry, Braden said no.

“The guy was tasting himself too long to apologize,” he said. “No, he didn’t apologize. And it’s a shame. I have a lot of respect for that guy, everything he’s done in the game. It’s just disappointing when you see the other side of things.”

Translation

Wow.  So it seems like Braden is at the point of no return here.  Normally a player would cool off and start to settle down.  But in a surprise move, Braden goes way past anything we have seen before and threatens Alex by saying that “he will know that I am there.”

Finally, when there are no more options, Braden goes nuclear by saying that Alex is “Tasting himself.”  Braden goes “All in” with his chips. This is truly historical.

So is Braden Right?

Verdict

Mr. Braden invoked the law of “unwritten rules.”  The biggest problem with this is that we literally have no book to go through on this one.  In lieu of this, I will use the actions of a  “reasonable person” in my model.

Alex is caught in between second base and third base after Cano hits a ball foul.  Using my high school geometry as the backbone of this point, I know that the quickest way from one point to another is a straight line.  Rodriguez has to get back to 1st base, and the mound stands in his way.  Does a reasonable person just jog over the mound?

I believe he does.

There is no unwritten rule that a player can’t jog over the mound.  I know that because I am looking at the invisible unwritten rulebook.  Here is a the exact quote from the book,

”                                                                                                                  “

What?  You don’t see anything?  C’mon it is right below the 1st rule.  Right there!  You telling me you don’t see anything?  Jeez…ok….I’ll just translate it for you.

It basically states that a player is allowed to walk over anything that is connected to the Earth if it is located on a baseball field.

My Problem

This is a clear case of going way overboard and I would have some serious concerns about Braden.  If Braden was really in the right, his answer would have been something like this,

“He ran over the mound and we all know that players don’t do that.”

End of statement.  The truth is simple.

Did he really think this was a big enough problem that his manager had to come out and restrain him?  The guy fired his glove against the wall.  Then he takes it to a level unseen in baseball history by hitting the Gatorade jug.  That’s incredible.  This was a full blown loss of mind.  Dude lost his mind.

All Rise!

In the case of Dallas Braden vs. Alex Rodriguez, I find the defendant, Alex Rodriguez, not guilty.

Final Remarks

Mr Braden,

You lost your mind.  Even if you felt like the defendant was disrespecting you in some way, your actions went way past any reasonable reaction.  So much so that your actions prove your guilt.  Next time you use the word etiquette, you should really take a long look in the mirror because not a single action you took can be construed as appropriate.  You called out a guy because you couldn’t cool yourself off and see that he is simply trying to get back to first base.  Mr Braden, that was embarrassing.

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124 Comments on “What Was A-Rod Thinking?”

  1. Mark L. says:

    Hey Morgan, this blog is pretty groundbreaking and informative. It is rare to get such an informed perspective from someone so recently playing at baseball’s highest level. I was rooting for you to stick with the Yankees in 2008, it was a shame things didn’t work out.

    Regarding Alex’s blunder by calling out Braden for his inexperience — is that sort of bravado common at the ML-level? It seems like there should be a pretty clear understanding that making it to the bigs involves a tremendous amount of hardwork and talent and no one is truly a “scrub”

    Thanks!

    • Mark it isn’t that way. It should be, but baseball is slow to change. Guys really play up the amount of time they have. It is stupid. Respect should come from the way you play the game, not the amount of experience you have playing.

      Morgan

  2. Jeff says:

    Hi again Morgan,

    Apparently this unwritten rule Dallas Braden was citing is an older one? I’ve seen some comments in other online articles about this whole incident about pitchers like Bob Gibson talking about it at some point. Maybe it became a non-issue at some point since his time, or just never got noticed because no one did it till Rodriguez. Just thought I’d bring that to your attention. Not that I don’t partially agree with you; Braden did kind of go nuts there. But then again, I’m a Yankee-hater so his fearlessness at mouthing off to A-Rod made me grin a bit. ;-)

    • Jeff A Rod is an easy target. A hard target would have been Jeter if he had ran over the mound. As for Bob Gibson, he was an intimidating man. I am certain that you can run over the mound at any point in history. But, if you are going out of your way to run over the mound, then that is something different entirely. This is no different then when guys dodge each other as we switch innings. Braden just opened up a huge can of worms because guys will be running all over that mound when he is out there.

      Morgan

  3. [...] Braden was that there’s a side to A-Rod’s story as well. This post by Joe Posnanski and this one by Morgan Ensberg (yes, that Morgan Ensberg) really do a phenomenal job of coming to the defense of [...]

  4. RP says:

    Great post, I completely agree. There should be an “unwritten rule” about going psycho on the field for little to no reason. Why should that be permitted and a simple walk over “his” mound be a problem. Maybe C.C should have pitched from second base. I’m not a Yankee homer, I think A-Rod should have been way more diplomatic about the situation but hey A-Rod is A-Rod and the stuff he says makes no sense most of the time.

    By the way Morgan, I was a huge fan when you played for the Yanks. Yea you weren’t that great statistically but the way you came out on the field doing running drills and everything right, playing long toss with Jeter. I admire you as a baseball player so I take what you have to say with a lot of credibility.

    I didn’t know about this site till now and I’ll make sure it’s in my favorites.

  5. Mike says:

    I wonder what you think about this article: http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Alex-Rodriguez-does-not-respect-the-game-of-baseball-042810

    It includes this gem:

    “And that wasn’t the first time A-Rod put his own needs ahead of an organization. Tom Hicks, the man who is attempting to sell the Texas Rangers, was able to cover the Rangers’ share of Rodriguez’s 10-year, $242 million deal signed before the 2001 season, despite Hicks’ bankruptcy problems. ”

    I guess when it’s a slow news day, A-Rod is the go-to whipping boy for hack writers.

  6. Jimmy says:

    I still find it hysterical that Braden told A-rod to look at how Jeter plays the game and how it’s the “right” and “professional” way to play the game as he’s having a childish hissy-fit. Extremely entertaining to watch guys make fools of themselves to a national audience.

    I’m also 89% positive that he created this rule cause I’ve played in baseball and softball leagues (not very good ones) for a while and no one cared about that at all. It’s kinda funny that people are jumping on this bandwagon of his “unwritten rule.”

    Also, as I’m thinking about it, his “he’ll know I’m there” sounds like a little kid who just got his lunch money stolen for the first time and is vowing that one day he’ll punch the bully in the face next time he tries that *que puff out chest moment*

    All around just a terrible and useless – yet ultimately hysterical – situation that never should have blown this far out of proportion.

  7. Brian says:

    Morgan…great job, and I have been wondering since this has happened, if it is an unwritten rule that was broken, why was it brought to light by Mr. Braden?

    If it was unwritten, wouldn’t it have been settled in an unwritten way?

    Also, Tim McCarver goes on the record saying that Bob Gibson wouldn’t have stood for that, nor would any old-timer, but what I think what he is forgetting to tell the public is that Bob Gibson would not have put this unwritten rule into the press and would have settled it with a 95 MPH high and tight…close enough to put dirt on his backside.

  8. David S says:

    Here’s an article where Blyleven and Gossage also considered runnign across the mound to be an unwritten rule. And Jim Palmer describes that he admired Braden for barking at ARoid. Thoughts on the views of 2.5 HOF pitchers?

    Love your site, btw. A daily read.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=crasnick_jerry&page=starting9/100505&campaign=rss&source=MLBHeadlines

  9. casey says:

    Morgan

    Braden’s latest video on the topic- yes, he’s still giving interviews about this weeks later- is scary funny. Check it out.

  10. [...] Major Leaguer Morgan Ensberg found A-Rod ‘not guilty’ in one of a number of typically interesting and funny posts on the subject at his ever-enjoyable [...]

  11. [...] Alex Rodriguez based on his past actions. I ended up making a comment on the matter but did so at Morgan Ensberg’s Baseball I.Q. (his [...]

  12. Sean says:

    Hey Morgan — Fantastic post. I think the fact that Braden had to *explain* A-Rod’s “transgression” to anyone who’d listen is all the proof you need that this is little more than talk-radio-style manufactured outrage. If A-Rod had bunted or stolen a base with a 10-run lead, or if he’d stood and admired a long home run and took 90 seconds to round the bases… well, then it’d be clear why Braden got all hissy-fit on us. But this? C’mon. Get over yer bad self, Dallas!

    And now, Morgan, a question: Does anyone know where I can find video of the moment that A-Rod stepped on “Braden’s mound”? I have found video of Braden’s subsequent tantrum on mlb.com:

    If anyone knows where I can view the actual “offending moment” (which transpired on a foul ball by Robinson Cano), please let me know!
    Thanks, Sean >>>

  13. Karl says:

    What is it like to go from a everyday player and all star to not having a job with a MLB team? There has to be a job out there that you can do weather its just helping out the young kids, kinda like what Jr is doing out in Seattle.

    • Karl it is really hard. Timing is everything and played poorly at the wrong times. I would love to help a team, but I don’t think that is going to happen.

      Morgan

  14. Stephen Luftschein says:

    Not wrong of Braden to demand some respect. Better to do it in a way that commands that respect. Psycho hissy fits on the field, the dugout or the interview room don’t do it.

  15. Alex says:

    I say we oughta appeal this case if Braden pitches against the Yanks next week.


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