Just One of Alex Rodriguez' Five Best Years Was in Texas

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A lot of the mainstream media types are repeating ESPN's statistic (helpfully available in a tidy sidebar on the Peter Gammons interview page) that A-Rod's career slugging percentage is lower than that of his three-year steroid-aided stint in Texas. Sure, it's a valid statistic, but don't believe them, because they're big fat truth-stretchers. Alex Rodriguez mashed the ball so well in Arlington because it's a teeny-tiny, eensy-weensy hitters park that favors any hitter, even a little twerp like Randy Velarde. See here, take a look at Alex Rodriguez' slugging splits over his three year career in Texas:

YEAR HOME AWAY
2001 .677 .567
2002 .700 .547
2003 .621 .577

My rudimentary HTML table doesn't lie, people! During three years as a Ranger, Alex' slugging percentage was about 100 points higher at home than on the road. In fact, I created a somewhat-less-crude table in Microsoft Excel that plots A-Rod's adjusted OPS across his career:

niftyarodopspluschart.jpg

Adjusted OPS, or OPS+, takes a players on base percentage and slugging percentage and normalizes it against park-adjusted league OBPs and SLGs. The important word in that sentence? Park-adjusted. To be sure, Alex Rodriguez' massive slugging percentage in Arlington was helped by the toaster-oven-sized park while his lower but still stellar slugging percentage in Yankee Stadium was hurt by the deep left field fences. Look, four of his best five years happened when spending half his time in pitchers' parks in New York and Seattle.

What does this all prove? Nothing, Alex Rodriguez was a Cheaty McCheaterson for at least three years because that lady Selena Roberts told us so. He might have cheated while with Seattle and he might have cheated while with New York and we may never know. The important part is this: when ESPN tells you a statistic, don't be so fast to repeat it no matter how damning the evidence may seem.


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12 Comments

If Matt Holliday's numbers go down this year, we'll know he was juicing in Colorado.

Who cares about the truth when you can isolate one number and use it to crucify a guy.
BOOO AROD HE CHEATED BOOO

I was 26-0 as an amateur cagefighter.

But I only fought 10 year olds that didn't know they were being entered in a cagefight until the last second.

I always liked Randy Velarde

This was a perfect excuse to focus on A-Rod's BONILLA, Rob.

How soon they forget...

Is there anything to do in Arlington besides hit home runs?

Crystal Meth.

That is a fine chart sir, it helps inform my world view. A major component of the human condition is to hate A Rod. Though a 175 OPS+ season at Yankee Stadium is pretty great, especially for a right handed hitter.

This was a very good piece. Entertaining, informative, and it mocked ESPN! Nearly brought a tear to my eye, Rob. (Not really.)

A-Rod OPS'ed 1.500 in my heart.

Looks like we need OPS

I was going to say we need OPS Less-than-three, but the HTML cut it off and ruined my joke. Heart-adjusted OPS. Ugh.

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