When Alex Rodriguez was in front of the media on a Sunday morning, the world took notice. Hero or villain; love him or hate him – the world wanted to see what A-Rod’s announcement was about. In the end of it all, viewers came away with an “awkward goodbye” from Alex. The whole situation had the feeling of an “ultimatum” instead of an “agreement.” Seriously though, if a player was able to stand upright and be only four home-runs short of the seven-hundred mark, he shouldn’t be retiring. A lot of the language was cryptic from A-Rod and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, and it was obvious. . .
New York radio and social media as a whole were taking their own stabs at the situation. The end of a career, although some may say tainted – Alex Rodriguez was as polarizing as a sports super star could ever be. A good looking, talented guy, getting paid ridiculous amounts of dollars to play baseball – the target has been on his back since 2000. That was when he decided to chase the money and sign with the lowly Texas Rangers franchise because they signed him to a ten year, two-hundred and two million dollar contract. Hey, lowly or not, that’s a ridiculous amount of paper.
As Alex Rodriguez continued to hammer his numbers into the record books, the hatred for him grew. People saw him as a player who could hamstring an organization and a player who would put up gaudy numbers in a losing career.
When the Yankees traded for Alex and his price-tag, he saw it as a road to redemption. He could continue to put up numbers with a franchise thats known for it’s “Championship or bust” mantra. Alex Rodriguez, who already netted two Gold Glove awards while in Texas was bound to go down in history as the greatest short stop of all-time, but to satisfy his (at the time) good friend Derek Jeter, Alex took up the task of learning to play third base, although he was clearly the better short stop of the two. . . Never the less, A-Rod picked up the technique to play the “hot corner” for the betterment of the organization and to satisfy the hands that were already at the table. . .
Again A-Rod continued to pound out numbers at a Hall of Fame rate. He gave them an MVP season in 2007, in which he put up his best numbers and was signed to another lucrative ten year contract in this time.
In 2009, rumors started circulating about Alex not being a “clean” player – but New Yorkers quickly stopped dissecting those rumors because they won the World Series in 2009. Not only did they win the World Series, they won it mostly because of Alex Rodriguez. Alex’s on-base-percentage was .500, slugging percentage was .808 (those two stats combined gave him a ridiculous OPS of 1.308, 19 hits, 18 rbis and six homeruns. . . For a guy who was infamously known for “disappearing” in the playoffs, he gave the Yankees one of the best playoff performances of all time in 2009.
In 2011, the City That Never Sleeps, started getting colder towards A-Rod. His home run totals were decreasing, bat speed had slowed down and whenever things went wrong for the Bronx Bombers it was always the fault of Rodriguez. The Yankees built a team of “Super-Men” but it seemingly would always fall on A-Rod.
Sure, the years followed with his admittance of using performance enhancing drugs and his one year suspension. The Yankees organization and many of it’s fans were out-casting Rodriguez. Corny people would say “its not the Yankee way,” “he’s a cheater” or even degrade his character with profanities – this was odd. Odd because this is a fan base that still favors admitted P.E.D user Andy Petitte, and still holds a torch up high for the beer chugging womanizer that was Babe Ruth and even the alcoholic, narcissist Mickey Mantle (who wasn’t even liked by his own son).
Fans are insane. We forget our own flaws while judging the flaws of others. But fans are so insane that they NEVER forget the GOOD that a player has done for his or her franchise. Except this time. Yankees fans found it more to their liking to gang-up on a player who was already hated by the masses. Keep in mind, he only added to that hatred when he joined your team (the MOST hated franchise in baseball – next to Philadelphia), gave up playing short stop and all the accolades that would’ve come with finishing his career at that position, gave you his greatest season in 2007 and a remarkable run in 2009 which gave you the last post season success the franchise has seen.
Alex could’ve put these numbers up and been loved anywhere else. Bonds was and is still adored in San Francisco and even Ryan Braun (who was truly the biggest piece of scum when it comes to P.E.D scandals) still gets an applause when he bats for the Brewers.
Hopefully someone will take on Rodriguez just long enough so that he can get his home-run total to 700. That would mean the world to Alex – and oddly enough it would mean just the same to feel appreciated in New York.