With all the negative press that has surrounded Alex Rodriguez, it is hard to picture him as a role model for young, up-and-coming ballplayers. Yet over the last 2 seasons, that is exactly what he has become to Greg Bird, a highly target and promising ballplayer in the Yankees farm system. Andrew Marchand did a great piece covering Alex Rodriguez' influence on Greg Bird in the minors (read HERE).
Bleeding Yankee Blue recently did a piece on Greg Bird and his meteoric rise through the minors (read HERE). We noted that 2013 was his breakout year, when his home runs and his OPS got the attention of scouts throughout the organization.
It should be no surprise that the mentorship of a seasoned veteran was involved in his sudden success. The Yankees organization promotes this value year after year in spring training. They bring back the old stars to impart wisdom and guidance to some of the younger players vying for a spot on the Major League roster.
What is surprising is that it is Alex Rodriguez. OK I admit it – I am not a fan. I cannot sign on to what he has done, what he has been associated with and how he has handled the resulting media scrutiny. Nevertheless, if I am going to be fair, I have to say that what he has done with this kid is admirable. As he was rehabbing his way back from his hip injury, ARod could have lived up to his reputation as a self-absorbed egotist whose only interest is collecting on the dues of his contract. Instead, he spent time with the kids and encouraging them and giving them advice on making it to the next level.
I do not know what is in Alex's heart. I am hopeful that in everything from taking grounders at third, taking grounders at first, and all the talk about helping the team, that there is some sincerity in what he is doing. Nonetheless, what he is doing with Greg Bird is great, and he should get props for that.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row
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