For those of you who get the New York Times, I have a short piece in today’s Sunday sports supplement, Play, in which I defend Alex Rodriguez from the popular and unfair complaint, “If he’s so good, why hasn’t he won a championship for the Yankees?” In fact, according to the best measures we have, the effect of adding one player, however great, just isn’t big enough to ensure a pennant; in fact, it’s not even big enough to overwhelm the effects of random year-to-year fluctuations by the rest of the team.
Since the piece isn’t online, here’s the close:
Moralizing sportswriters ascribe Rodriguez’s
ringlessness to something deeper than plain
luck: too lazy, too rich, not enough fist-pump.
But there’s nothing wrong with A-Rod; his
quantitative effect on the Yanks’ fortunes is
just not that large. Don’t expect Yankee fans to
forgive him, though. Everybody knows you
can’t buy a world championship. But it still
stings when you pay good money for one and
don’t get it.