Saturday, April 5, 2008

SNY: A-Rod Postseason Numbers
Better Than You Thought

From Michael Salfino of Sportsnet New York comes a look at Alex Rodriguez in the postseason and the success he had before becoming a Yankee. Most fans realize this, of course, so it isn't particularly as groundbreaking as Salfino believes it to be.

It's also unclear how effective his analysis could be when Salfino - a Mets slanted writer working for a Mets tv network - claims "a majority of Yankees fans can't stand Rodriguez." This coming after he visited a North Jersey bar and sniped at Yankee fans as if he were some beacon of baseball knowledge.

From the column:

This so-called confirmation bias is a long-established universal of human decision-making. Psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky won a Nobel Prize in 2002 for their work in this area. For our purposes, it demonstrates that once we define a player in a certain way, we seek information that supports that view and reject information that contradicts it.

But A-Rod was a postseason force early in his career, and against the Yankees no less: .409/.480/.773 in the 2000 ALCS loss to the Bombers.

But his team lost. That’s another key to clutchness: your team has to win or your achievement is quickly forgotten or somehow viewed as “not quite enough.”

A-Rod went .320/.392/.600 in his first Yankees postseason. But two big things worked against him. He was the highest-paid player in baseball and thus was expected to perform at least at that level. More importantly, the Yankees lost that seven-game ALCS to the Red Sox. By the way, Derek Jeter went .200/.333/.233 in that Red Sox debacle, but the view of him being a clutch player, shaped during a string of successful playoff runs when he was earning near minimum big-league salaries, was cemented.

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