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Saturday, October 20, 2012

DESPITE THE ATTACKS, ALEX RODRIGUEZ IS A YANKEE

This will sound incredibly strange considering the circumstances.  I am now an unconditional Alex Rodriguez fan.  Yes, he sucked in the playoffs, but he showed an amount of class, dignity, responsibility and accountability that were truly, well, what we expect from real Yankees. 

I have been incredibly critical of Alex throughout his career in New York.  I used to believe that he was all about his own numbers and didn’t understand the Yankee standard – winning championships.  But since 2009, we all saw the change in his attitude.  He became a team player.  He finally understood that he gets a bigger ovation for hitting a sac-fly to tie a game than he does for hitting a 3-run homer to put the Yanks up 12-1.  He finally understood that it is the Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte attitude – do whatever it takes to win as a team even if it diminishes your own stats – that Yankee fans love.
Okay.  He stunk it up.  But he wasn’t alone.  The entire team with the exception of Jeet, Ichiro, Mark Teixeira and Eduardo Nunez amassed more whiffs than any of us have ever seen.  And yet the media flat out attacked Alex.  The hypocrisy here is breathtaking.  These were the same writers who thought we were all too critical of Alex when he was turning in MVP seasons that ended with early October exits.  These were the same pundits who criticized us fans when we booed Alex for batting under .200 with RISP after the 7th inning year after year.  “Come on,” they’d say, “What do you want?  The guy hit 50 homers and drove in 125 runs!”  and we would laugh at them because we could care less about garbage home runs and RBIs. For the record, BYB was maybe the only website defending him in THE ALEX RODRIGUEZ PILE-ON IS RELENTLESS.
(In Photo: Luis Sojo)
Sure, at the end of the day, we want the old Yankee magic! We want the Luis Sojo single that drives in the winning run in the 9th.  We want the Paul O’Neill 11-pitch at-bat that ends in a walk that starts a rally in the 8th.  We want guys to do whatever it takes to win.

Alex was clearly not himself this year.  And he may really be in an irreversible, physical decline.  Of course, that’s what everyone said about Derek Jeter after last year… 
Before the Game 4 rain out on Wednesday, Alex stood on the field and took what seemed to be about a zillion iterations of the same 2 questions:  “Alex, why are you sucking?” and “Alex, has the benching poisoned your relationship with Girardi and the Yankees management?”  Alex could have walked away after one or two.  But he stood there, accepted responsibility and didn’t throw anyone under the bus.  He talked about coming together like a family.  And after yesterday’s loss, he was a class act again. 

Well, Alex, welcome to the family.  I’ve got your back.  I may yell at you from time to time until the day you finally hang up your spikes, but hey, that’s what real families do. We argue, we fight, we can even occasionally say hurtful things to each other, but when the going gets tough, we stick together, form a protective wall around our hurting brothers and sisters and support each other.  So go home for the winter, keep your head down, rest, relax and get back in shape.  We’ll be waiting to see you at 3rd base in Spring Training.




--Chris Kram, BYB Contributor



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