First came Will Leitch in New York. Today, Howard Bryant weighs in on Alex’s future, over on ESPN.com. Honestly, we’ve been around the block with this so often, we’re dizzy, but have at it if you like…..
I love this part:
“When is he just going to say, ‘I’m the baddest [dude] out there?’ ” Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar says. ” ‘I hit .320 with 40 and 130 RBIs, every [stupid] year, and what about it?’ What is anyone going to say to that? Nobody can challenge him in this game because nobody else is that good. He spent a lot of time trying to be liked. I just want him to say, ‘Don’t [mess] with me, because none of you [guys] can do what I do.’ That’s all he has to do, ’cause he’s a straight-up gangster.”
I do love me some Kevin Millar; not the best player in the league, but one of the most colorful. Here he is describing something I already knew. A-Rod could use a little bad-ass in him.
Just my thoughts trying to get some perspective.
Alex Rodriguez makes an average of 25.2 million dollars a year. And has done so for the last 7 years. He has three years left on his contract but has the ability to walk at the end of this year and try free agency. The Yankees would hate for him to do this because not only do they want to keep the best offensive player in the game on their team, but they want to do so at the current price. Because even though A-Rod makes $25.2 million, the Texas Rangers pick up a big chunk of that, and would continue to do so for the next 3 years. But if he opts out, gets into free agency, not only would we be forced to match his likely target of $30 million, but we’d also lose the $8-$10 million Tom Hicks discount.
So, ideally A-Rod would decide not to opt-out and save the Yanks some money. Unlikely. Opt-out and resign for a new contract that acts more or less like an extension, with more money; that seems more likely.
All of this was setting up to be a bad time. A-Rod had performed magnificently in NY, just like elsewhere, but NY fans are more demanding than most. 40HR, 130+ RBI seasons aren’t enough if there isn’t a ring at the end of the rainbow. And A-Rod bore that blame. If it were to continued, it would be easy to see him taking advantage of his freedom and finding a better place to play. He would have lost the “big stage” appeal and although an obvious Hall of Famer, the feeling of sitting in Monument Park next to Ruth, Gehrig, Dimaggio and Mantle is hard to replicate elsewhere.
And so its fitting that he’s taken on the pose of a current Yankee who will soon be in that Park. The article describes fully the classic Derek Jeter pose and how A-Rod has stolen from it. It mystifies me that it took him 3 years to learn not to talk to the Post reporters, or that not every one is out to be his friend and that unlike the real world: the more you know, the easier you hate. I was astounded that he let us know that he was in therapy, because although I imagine that therapy could help many players, I’d never expect any of them to come and tell me so. Even as refined as I’d like to think myself, I remember recoiling and wishing for the aura of inhuman infallibility that is Derek Jeter. “Derek Jeter” isn’t human, I don’t even know if he’s a person. He’s a construct; i do not know the real Derek Jeter, just the ballplayer and that’s really all I need to know. And its all he needs me to know. A-Rod is getting to that point and I agree that its made him a better player. Every one needs that wall and superstar athletes need it more than others…even if it makes them sound like automatons who have never read a book. Its safest for them and if it helps their production and livelihood, so be it. A-Rod spent three years trying to be our friend and it hurt him, hurt him so badly that I started to think of life without him.
But, we don’t have to worry about that, do we? He did more than just perform in 2007, he transcended. In the contract year to end all contract years, A-Rod has batted .314, hit 54 HRs, driven in 156 RBIs, scored 143 runs, and rebuilt the Sphinx in his spare time. He might also have walked on water, but reports vary. He’s led them to the Wild Card after a miserable first half where he was the only thing keeping them afloat. He’s won games by himself and kept them in it by himself and now he’s going to demolish pitching in the playoffs!
Ok, that second part is wishful thinking. The truth is if the Yankees fizzle in the playoffs, the conversation of “Should he or Shouldn’t he?” will continue. It brings a certain amount of shame to me as a Yankee fan that we are honestly consider pushing a player of A-Rod’s caliber out of town. We can afford him, he helps us win and he’s the best player in the game and he’s a few months past 32…why exactly do we not want him?
He doesn’t hit in the clutch. He hasn’t won anything. He seems to be a little too pretty sometimes.
Its a shameful list because it sounds like an obscene amount of nitpicking, like the kind of selfish, spoiled brats that every one expects from Yankee fandom. And yet, we can’t get away with it, and we won’t get away from it until he makes the choice to let him go not just preposterous (because it already is), but also unthinkable. Sure, its his choice, and if the target gets too high, we may not be willing to match it. But we let it get to this point. A-Rod was happy to be here and although he struggled at times, he was fighting through it. It was a professional challenge, and the fans made it into something more. We made him wonder if it was worth the trouble, and only now have started to provide the cheers and adoration that is just reward for all that work and talent he churns out. But is it too late? And does he realize that it is still fickle, that he has yet to go to reach untouchable status?
And so Alex, go out and kill pitches in this postseason. Go out and win both postseason MVP awards. Go hit a walk-off HR, actually give me two. And pitch a no-hitter. Just do anything that makes me (and makes you) think of playing nowhere else. The kind of postseason that allows you to transcend into a player we adore and trust, and one that makes the adoration a little less temporary, and makes you remember that failing here is awful, but succeeding here is worth it. Make the conversation moot so that we don’t have to convince you (and ourselves) that we really do love you, for now and forever. Because I do not want to be part of the fan base that drove one of the top-10 players of all time (hell maybe top-5) out of town because he didn’t “blank” enough.
And the award for the longest comment in YFSF history goes to…
A-Rod is a gangster? For some reason that condures up an image of A-Rod, Louisville Slugger in hand, beating the living crap out of a fax machine.
I daresay that image of A-Rod (kicking the crap out of a fax machine) brings to mind Office Space. And I’d bet we’re all closer to that vision of “gangster”.
Word to Your….
I had the same thought, Pete. And it made it awesome and sad all at the same time. Maybe A-Rod gets paid in parts of pennies.
Fantastic! You think A-Rod will mind if I start throwing pennies at him? Or would is that why Youk ran so far out of the baseline?
How about this as insentive to keep A-Rod a Yankee:
Ortiz followed by A-Rod? That would be worth 30mil/yr. I would pull the strings necessary, NY. Threaten to expose the sex tapes, bend over for Boras, roll out the red carpet. If A-rod plays half a season in Fenway, the Sox would run away with the East.
Let me get this straight: This Sox ownership was too cheap to pony up for a Hicks-subsidized A-Rod. Now they’re going to pay twice that to sign him?
Color me skeptical (and very bitter tonight).
we are exactly 35 hours away from the a-rod disappearing act, otherwise known as the playoffs. before you go spouting off about how well he did in the ’04 series against the twins, realize how silly that sounds. “the best player of our generation had a good ALDS…….once.” sure, the numbers help you forget about weak groundouts in key situations, but you’d be avoiding facts. the show pony has a few games left in pinstripes. let’s all move on.
This has nothing to do with A-Rod, but it needs to be seen. I know this is now a few days old and to but it is absolutely priceless. I can’t even think of any funny comments, that’s how stunned I am…
sf rod, if you’re going to troll, at least make it less obvious.. or something new..
Trisk, It must run in the family: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8360697575044509579&hl=en
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