It is my feeling that everything to do with Alex coming to New York had to do with breaking the home run record. The Yankees love "records." It's my opinion... so just hear me out.
Barry Bonds too the lead, it almost seemed tainted and the timing was right to get Alex to New York, who, in 2004 was the best in baseball. He was the guy with the most legit shot to break the record. The Yankees signed him, there were a lot of missed opportunities, chaos, baggage, PEDs admission and injury attached, and now, the Yankees are left with a broken down player and a lot of money to pay him. Now, if this played out the way the Yankees thought it would, Alex may have broken the record by now, or at least be close and Yankeeland would be rejoicing. But it didn't happen that way. I posed the question of if the Yankees had a "big picture" plan to have the all-time home run record return to the Bronx with Alex to my favorite Bergen record writer Pete Caldera. Here's what he said:
Pete Caldera: "Though there is a marketing angle linked to ARod's pursuit of the All-Time Home run record, I don't think ownership was also thinking in terms of a Yankee finally reclaiming what Ruth lost in 1974. Even with the opt-out fiasco, Rodriguez had the fortunate timing of coming off a monster season, with Hank Steinbrenner commanding the stage."
Marty Appel: "It was a nice by-product of the process, but not critical. Even if he does break the Bonds record, a lot of those homers came with Seattle and Texas anyway. I wish the fans at home would ease up a little on him when he fails. He's one of the greatest players in baseball history; we ought to appreciate that more. We see the outs with men on base, and the old time greats - we only see their heroics. Not every at bat was on television. I know his body language sometimes suggests, "whatever," but he really seems to work very hard, and I admire his talent a lot."
Both interesting answers, both guys I respect tremendously... but I'm telling you... My theory is correct.
Suzuki is still a very talented baseball player. He was dying in Seattle so being in New York rejuvenated him. If anything, age hasn't slowed the man down and to be in New York with an achievement of 3000 hits one day is not only big... it's huge... and huge for the Yankees.
If I'm the Yankees, I make sure Ichiro gets a chance to break 3000 hits in pinstripes and I let him retire in New York, a Yankee for life. It's all about the Yankees any way and with Ichiro... He's kind of a sure thing, isn't he?
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