Sunday, August 7, 2016
A GOOD, YET CONTROVERSIAL RUN WITH NEW BEGINNINGS
You either love Alex Rodriguez or hate him. There is no in between. I have never been quite fond of the man, but appreciated his talent very much. Many believe that his talent was artificial for all of his career. I do not. But for that run that we know was made up of PEDs, I hated every bit about it, much like I did for Barry Bonds. And yes, I'm speculating, but that's the world MLB has become now. My honest feeling on these 2 men is that they never needed the extra help. They were special, talented players. Alex is a very special player... but he just can't play well anymore.
Alex had a press conference today and now the world knows what happens next. He will retire. His last game being August 12th. He will stay a 'Yankee' in an advisory role after that, because let's face it. He may not have common sense, but he does have an incredible baseball mind. But does it mean exactly? I means after the 12th, he goes home. His new role begins next Spring Training where he will work with and mentor our minor leaguers. Ultimately it's a terrific idea and move by the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez.
Look, Alex just wasn't playing and wasn't playing well if he did. The guy was hogging up a roster spot. Now he can be a mentor to our young players and still be part of the team. The Yankees didn't like what ARod did with PEDs, but they respect his mind. They respect his drive, and now he will be part of the team in a new role. It's an important role, one that can help the Yankees move further in the future.
It's been an interesting run, hasn't it? As Yankee fans, there was some form of excitement when Alex was traded to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano all those years ago. But with that signing, there was controversy. He was the richest player ever... and known as a selfish player and George Steinbrenner appeared to be swindled. But for me, I knew exactly what the Yankee machine was doing. They wanted him, the top player in baseball to re-gain the all time Home run title and with that, bring it back to the New York Yankees. Merchandising... marketing... a Yankee crown an all-time record again. Yes, that was the plan, but that just didn't pan out.
Instead, we got a guy that was outed for using PEDs by Selena Roberts, an admission on ESPN, and after that, the spotlight was forever on this man until he was then suspended for a full season in 2014 by Bud Selig.
Meanwhile, at the same time, Selig's hugging David Ortiz... a Alex Rodriguez friend, and known PEDs user as well. Sure, 2003 didn't count under the MLB rules... but you don't get on a PEDs list if you're not using... and I think that's why I started to back ARod alittle more. No, I'm still not a big Alex fan, but you don't do to one what you wouldn't do to another. You know what I mean?
Whatever the case, fair or not fair, Alex Rodriguez is a good teammate and always a smart player. His co-workers liked him always have said so. They've called him "real" and "fun" and had the most incredible work ethic they have ever seen. He worked hard after his suspension in 2014 to prove to the Yankee fan base that he was sorry, and had a very good 2015. But not too many people remember that he slowed down considerably in the second half of that season, and now, in 2016, he was reduced to a pretty expensive bench player that doesn't see many at bats.
Many speculated it was over then. That the Yankees would release him, that he should just retire. My buddy suggested that having a year off in 2014 brought a much needed rest to Alex and that's why the first half of 2015 was extraordinary. Thinking it through... it makes perfect sense, because right now... the guy's got nothing, and the Yankees still need to pay him.
But now we have answers... Alex will no longer play for the Yankees after August 12th. He'll help them build their future. Many won't get this move, but the reality is, now another kid can come up and take the roster spot he no longer fills. Moreover, the Yankees will still pay him until his contract runs out next year... and when it does, they will determine what to do next. This gives the Yankees to justify spending all that money on this guy, instead of cutting him and "eating it."
In a season with a ton of turnover... it all makes sense. The Yankees are changing... the Yankees are getting younger. The Yankees want to come back and win eventually... but not this season. This is the turnover season, the re-build, and more will come soon. But with Alex and Tex and others soon to be off the Yankee books, we can now move forward, with no controversy, with Alex Rodriguez helping with his mind, not with his bat.
There were good times... and very dark times with Alex Rodriguez as a player. But in the end, he did his job for as long as he could, and yes, sometimes dirty... but in the end, there were fun and exciting moments featuring Alex in pinstripes, and right now, those are the ones I choose to remember.
Alex may not have been a true Yankee, but he was a good Yankee. Unfortunately, sometimes with the "good" comes the "bad"... and that defines Alex most.
Whatever the case, I wish Alex well in this new role. It wasn't always pretty, but we won a championship with him carrying us on his shoulders, we had a few exciting moments, and he did the best he could.
But one important part of his Yankee career was this... he finally grew up. I appreciate that. This role proves that and this could be very exciting.
Good luck, friend. It's a good move, a smart one and despite the problems and controversy surrounding you, that's water under the bridge.
Time to move forward.... let's do this.