Results tagged ‘ Alex Rodriguez ’

Its how you finish that matters

It’s not how you start – it’s how you finish. A slow start by a team can happen for a lot of reasons, but it’s never anything to panic about. That’s especially true when you have a team of veterans, like we do, who know how to play the game. This is a confident team, and with good reason.

You look at the talent we have, up and down the lineup and on our pitching staff, and you know it’s just a matter of time before it comes together. A lot of times early in the season you’re not in your rhythm, you’re not feeling like yourself. You might get some hits, but even then you know you’re not right. Or you might be hitting line drives at guys and getting nothing to show for it. Early-season numbers can be very deceiving.

There are some guys who come out hitting .450 early in April and May, and everyone’s saying it’s their breakout year. And you know eventually they’ll finish about where they normally do. You find at the end of the season he’s hitting .260, or whatever he usually hits. Another guy might be hitting .150 in April, and everyone’s saying he’s done. And you know he’ll end up hitting .315 with 30 homers.

It’s a long season, and the cream rises to the top eventually.

In this game, you are what you are. You see guys like A-Rod or Mark Teixeira, for example, or David Ortiz, and they might not be driving the ball early. But you know they’ll come around. They’re hitters; that’s who they are. They’ll end up with their numbers, unless they get hurt.

Fans sometimes overreact early in the season, because they’re fans. They want to win every game and get upset when their team loses. We don’t ever want to lose as players, but we understand how this works. It’s a long season, with highs and lows, good times and bad times. You work through the rough times and stay confident that the good times are on the way.

The truth is, you don’t want to be peaking too early. I mean, you’ll take it if it’s there, but you want to be strong at the finish, when it really matters. You don’t want to peak in June and July and fall off in August, September. That’s what I mean when I say it’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish. That’s what counts.

Personally, it’s taken me a little longer than usual to get where I need to be physically this season. I had the sports hernia surgery after the season, and I wasn’t able to do my usual offseason workouts. I couldn’t really do anything in January. All I could do was hit.

When we got to Spring Training, I was skeptical about how the groin would react. If I made a really hard turn, was it going to hold up? I never went through anything like this before, and Mike Scioscia was telling me to take it easy. He’s a great manager; he always sees the big picture. He wanted me to slow-roll everything. Once I broke the scar tissue sliding, it was a big relief. It wasn’t until the last two weeks of the spring I really started playing.

I feel good about where I am right now, all things considered. I’m hitting the ball hard, and even though I have only one home run, they come in bunches for me. The big thing is, I’m having no pain with the groin. I’m confident I’ll be where I want to be in the summer, when it heats up.

I really like our team. I liked it last year, and I like it this year. We’re a little different, with some new guys trying to establish themselves, but we’re basically the same team with the same chemistry.

Remember how it was last season? We were a .500 team in June. The Rays killed us in Florida to end a road trip, and we were 29-29. Mike Scioscia had a talk with us after that game, and we came home and went off on a tear. We ended up with 97 wins, which means from June 12 to the finish, we were 68-36.

Hopefully, our fans are patient enough to know where the Angels are going to be in August, September. We’re fine where we are. This team knows how to win. I know the sun’s going to shine sooner or later – on and off the field, in baseball and in life.

It’s how you finish that matters

It’s not how you start – it’s how you finish. A slow start by a team can happen for a lot of reasons, but it’s never anything to panic about. That’s especially true when you have a team of veterans, like we do, who know how to play the game. This is a confident team, and with good reason.

You look at the talent we have, up and down the lineup and on our pitching staff, and you know it’s just a matter of time before it comes together. A lot of times early in the season you’re not in your rhythm, you’re not feeling like yourself. You might get some hits, but even then you know you’re not right. Or you might be hitting line drives at guys and getting nothing to show for it. Early-season numbers can be very deceiving.

There are some guys who come out hitting .450 early in April and May, and everyone’s saying it’s their breakout year. And you know eventually they’ll finish about where they normally do. You find at the end of the season he’s hitting .260, or whatever he usually hits. Another guy might be hitting .150 in April, and everyone’s saying he’s done. And you know he’ll end up hitting .315 with 30 homers.

It’s a long season, and the cream rises to the top eventually.

In this game, you are what you are. You see guys like A-Rod or Mark Teixeira, for example, or David Ortiz, and they might not be driving the ball early. But you know they’ll come around. They’re hitters; that’s who they are. They’ll end up with their numbers, unless they get hurt.

Fans sometimes overreact early in the season, because they’re fans. They want to win every game and get upset when their team loses. We don’t ever want to lose as players, but we understand how this works. It’s a long season, with highs and lows, good times and bad times. You work through the rough times and stay confident that the good times are on the way.

The truth is, you don’t want to be peaking too early. I mean, you’ll take it if it’s there, but you want to be strong at the finish, when it really matters. You don’t want to peak in June and July and fall off in August, September. That’s what I mean when I say it’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish. That’s what counts.

Personally, it’s taken me a little longer than usual to get where I need to be physically this season. I had the sports hernia surgery after the season, and I wasn’t able to do my usual offseason workouts. I couldn’t really do anything in January. All I could do was hit.

When we got to Spring Training, I was skeptical about how the groin would react. If I made a really hard turn, was it going to hold up? I never went through anything like this before, and Mike Scioscia was telling me to take it easy. He’s a great manager; he always sees the big picture. He wanted me to slow-roll everything. Once I broke the scar tissue sliding, it was a big relief. It wasn’t until the last two weeks of the spring I really started playing.

I feel good about where I am right now, all things considered. I’m hitting the ball hard, and even though I have only one home run, they come in bunches for me. The big thing is, I’m having no pain with the groin. I’m confident I’ll be where I want to be in the summer, when it heats up.

I really like our team. I liked it last year, and I like it this year. We’re a little different, with some new guys trying to establish themselves, but we’re basically the same team with the same chemistry.

Remember how it was last season? We were a .500 team in June. The Rays killed us in Florida to end a road trip, and we were 29-29. Mike Scioscia had a talk with us after that game, and we came home and went off on a tear. We ended up with 97 wins, which means from June 12 to the finish, we were 68-36.

Hopefully, our fans are patient enough to know where the Angels are going to be in August, September. We’re fine where we are. This team knows how to win. I know the sun’s going to shine sooner or later – on and off the field, in baseball and in life.

Let’s take it back to New York

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Too much CC Sabathia. That was the story again. The big man showed why he’s one of the highest-paid and best athletes in our game. He pitched his butt off for the second time against us, and it’s obvious what we have to do now.

We have to win Game 5, after we take tomorrow off, and take it back to New York. That’s our whole focus now: Take it back to New York.

The Yankees are a good team, and they’re up 3-1. It seems impossible, I know, but it’s not. We’ve won three in a row before. I’ve got faith in my guys. We’re going to come out in this next one and battle like we always do.

This one tonight just got away from us. CC was dealing, right from the start. He changed his pattern on us. His fastball’s still 94, 95 on the gun, but it was his changeup that was keeping us off balance. He had it sinking in and out of the strike zone, fading away from righties, out of the strike zone.

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Sometimes you have to tip your hat, and that was the case tonight. He was coming after us with the first pitch in the strike zone. Now what are you going to do? Battle.

Alex Rodriguez is having a great series. He’s shorter with his swing, a lot more patient. He definitely wants it. You can tell. That guy’s a bad man, like Muhammad Ali used to say. I wish he was on my team.

We’ve got our big man, John Lackey, going in Game 5. John’s a bulldog. I’m excited to have John on the mound. He always battles, always keeps us in the game and gives us a chance.

We joke about the Rally Monkey all the time, but it’s on us. We’ve got to have faith in ourselves and each other and know we can get it done.

The media is asking me what I’ll say to the guys, but I’d never tell. I’m old school. I talk to my guys every chance I get. I’ll encourage them, and they’ll encourage me, too. I need it, too. That’s what a team is all about.

We’ve come a long way, and we don’t want to stop now. Our mission now is to take it back to New York. Take it back to New York and see what we can do.

Lets take it back to New York

ToriikneelingGetty550x275.jpg

Too much CC Sabathia. That was the story again. The big man showed why he’s one of the highest-paid and best athletes in our game. He pitched his butt off for the second time against us, and it’s obvious what we have to do now.

We have to win Game 5, after we take tomorrow off, and take it back to New York. That’s our whole focus now: Take it back to New York.

The Yankees are a good team, and they’re up 3-1. It seems impossible, I know, but it’s not. We’ve won three in a row before. I’ve got faith in my guys. We’re going to come out in this next one and battle like we always do.

This one tonight just got away from us. CC was dealing, right from the start. He changed his pattern on us. His fastball’s still 94, 95 on the gun, but it was his changeup that was keeping us off balance. He had it sinking in and out of the strike zone, fading away from righties, out of the strike zone.

ToriigrimacingGetty375x275.jpg

Sometimes you have to tip your hat, and that was the case tonight. He was coming after us with the first pitch in the strike zone. Now what are you going to do? Battle.

Alex Rodriguez is having a great series. He’s shorter with his swing, a lot more patient. He definitely wants it. You can tell. That guy’s a bad man, like Muhammad Ali used to say. I wish he was on my team.

We’ve got our big man, John Lackey, going in Game 5. John’s a bulldog. I’m excited to have John on the mound. He always battles, always keeps us in the game and gives us a chance.

We joke about the Rally Monkey all the time, but it’s on us. We’ve got to have faith in ourselves and each other and know we can get it done.

The media is asking me what I’ll say to the guys, but I’d never tell. I’m old school. I talk to my guys every chance I get. I’ll encourage them, and they’ll encourage me, too. I need it, too. That’s what a team is all about.

We’ve come a long way, and we don’t want to stop now. Our mission now is to take it back to New York. Take it back to New York and see what we can do.

Looking for some love from our fans

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We played a good game; a great game, really, in many ways — an awesome game. It’s deflating, sure, but we battled and battled and battled, and it just didn’t happen for us. They took advantage of a mistake, and we didn’t take advantage of enough scoring chances.

Now we have to go home to L.A. and play a little better. It’s not over by a long shot. We’re not playing up to our capabilities. We need to do a little better, come through a little more.

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We had the lead when Chone Figgins got that big hit in the 11th, but Alex Rodriguez is a great hitter, and he saved them when he went deep. That’s what he does. He’s definitely one of the best hitters in baseball, and you know you have to pitch him tough.

Man, these games have been hard on the nerves. If I let my hair grow out, I’d have gray everywhere.

It’s loud and crazy here, people screaming for their team. And the Yankees respond to that. They got a lot of energy from their crowd in these two games, and now it’s our turn to go home and get that energy from our fans.

We need to get busy and take it one pitch at a time, one inning at a time. There’s a lot of baseball left to play, and we’re going to show we’re better than we’ve played in these first two games.

I’ve got a feeling we’re going to go home and it’s going to be a whole different scene in our place, with our fans, the Rally Monkey, all that Southern California energy working for us.

We’re all a little drained and frustrated now, but we’ll be ready on Monday. We’ll just check ourselves going home and take care of business. Nobody’s going to use the cold weather or the conditions for an excuse. We battled, they battled, and they took two games.

That’s done. Time to move on and make good things happen in our house. Gotta get going now. We’re out of here. See you all in Angel Stadium, and get ready to rock.

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Even wet, just happy to be here

We’re just happy to be here in the Big Apple, rain or shine. It’s been coming down all day, and a little chill in the air. Hopefully, we’ll get enough decent weather to play some baseball and get back home in good shape.

Facing the Yankees, the favorites, is kind of like facing the Red Sox. People said we weren’t supposed to win that series, but we had other ideas.

We were happy to play the Red Sox. We never said one word that we didn’t want to play the Red Sox. That all came from the media. We wanted to play anybody. We’re just happy to still be playing with a shot at the ring.

When I was younger and with the Twins, it was awesome going out and playing center field at Yankee Stadium in the postseason. They beat us in 2003 and 2004, but we were all minimum wage guys.

This team is a little different. We’ve got an owner, Arte Moreno, who wants to win as much as we do. When we went out and got Mark Teixeira last year at the Trade Deadline, I screamed, I was so happy.

Teixeira is the enemy, of course, but he’s a good dude. I really liked him when we were teammates, and I think he helped guys with his approach. Bobby Abreu has been doing that for us this year, helping not just the young guys but everybody. He has great at-bats. You don’t want to go up and swing at the first pitch after he’s had a seven-pitch at-bat. It trickles down, the domino effect.

We have a lot of leaders on this team, veterans who have been around, guys like Chone Figgins, Vladdy “Mula” Guerrero, John Lackey, Brian Fuentes. And Bobby is one of them. He’s a great leader.

People think he’s quiet, but Bobby’s not as mellow as you think. He is funny. He has everybody cracking up in the clubhouse. He’s so much fun off the field, but when he steps between those lines, he’s focused, man.

As for the Yankees, what can you say that hasn’t already been said? They always have one of the best lineups. It’s nothing different than in the past. You look at my old buddy CC Sabathia, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Tex . . . so many great players. Those guys are impressive over there. I like them as a team. They play the game right, the way we do.

As for the Angels beating the Yankees in the playoffs twice before, in 2002 and 2005, I wasn’t here, so I don’t have a lot to offer about that. We played them even this year, five wins apiece. There was a lot of scoring, a lot of yelling, and some quiet times. Yankee Stadium, old or new, it’s always exciting to play here.

As a kid, you grow up watching games at Yankee Stadium, and how here you are, in the postseason. The regular season doesn’t matter now. It’s all about what you do now.

I’m sure I’ll be as excited as ever running out to center field in Game 1, all that adrenaline pumping. It’s a dream come true, playing on this field, in the ALCS, with a chance to beat the Yankees. I think we can do. Let’s hope the weather cooperates and we can go out and see what happens.

Scared straight

First of all, I feel bad for Manny Ramirez. We go way back to when we were young players, Manny in Cleveland and me in Minnesota. He was two years older, one of the young superstar guys. We always got along, had a good relationship. There was mutual respect.

He’s one of those guys I’ve always respected, because I know how much work he’s put into the game. He’s one of the hardest workers in baseball, which is why this is so hard for me to understand. He’s never been a guy to take the easy way.

People look at how he is on the field, carefree, having fun, a character, and they think, Manny, no way he works hard. What they don’t realize is he’s always been one of the hardest workers, hitting the weights before and after games, working out like crazy in the off-season. I remember when he was with the Red Sox and I was with the Twins, watching him in Spring Training in Fort Myers, Florida. He worked his butt off and studied the game. He’s not just amazingly talented — he’s smart. Players know that.

I hate that this happened to him. I can only imagine how much it’s hurting him right now. He cares about the game, cares about his legacy. He’s always been a great player, and now there’s this shadow, like with Alex Rodriguez.

At the same time, it lets everybody know that the drug policy is serious. That’s how strong it is. This is Manny Ramirez, one of the greats of the game. There’s no covering up. Whatever it was, it was a banned substance, and it tells every player in the game that if you’re doing something, you better be sure to clear it with your medical staff. Even if it’s vitamin C, fish oil, whatever. If it’s something new to your system, take it to them and have them clear it.

You’ve heard about being scared straight. Well, that’s what we have here. Every player in the game, whoever you are, you’ve got to be careful about what you’re putting in your body. That’s a good thing. Awareness is always a good thing.

I understand how a lot of people are going to react to this. If you’ve got big-time guys like A-Rod, Manny Ramirez, Roger Clemens . . . what are other guys trying to do? They probably think we’re cheating. There are more guys doing it the right way, respecting the game, than not. Some guys cheat — just like in the real world — but most of the guys in the game are playing clean. It’s like the business world. You’ve got cheaters, doing anything they can to make money and climb the ladder, and you’ve got good people trying to do it the right way and be fair and responsible.

This is the real world here. Baseball is the real world, with real people. You’re going to always have somebody trying to beat the system. People forget we’re human. We’re bound to make mistakes. But I want people, all of you, to understand that by far there are more guys doing it right than cheating. That’s the truth.    

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