Derek Jeter was often asked if Hollywood scripted the big moments in his career. I mean let’s face it, it did seem like a screenwriter was behind the dinger that got him 3,000 hit.
Not to mention the fact that he was 5 for 5 in that game.
The night Alex Rodriguez played his last game in the storied borough of the Bronx also had a bit of a “Once Upon a Time” feel to it. A bitter sweet, cautionary tale, but a great story nonetheless. ARod didn’t get a farewell tour like The Captain or The Sandman. He had his goodbye jammed into a very strange week.
The pre-game ceremony was rushed…maybe because the fans would be subject to two more days of the Michael Kay/ John Sterling LONG WINDED show. Or maybe it was because of the biblical storm brewing in the New York sky. Either way, the controversial Yankee received a few gifts and a nice pat on the back from the organization he once tried to sue.
But it was really ARod in a nutshell. The fans gave him a warm send off, and you could see that he really did and always will appreciate that. It’s truly important to him. Rodriguez was so used to hearing the crowd react…the good, the bad and the ugly. He was simply one of the greatest players ever to put on a uniform in my opinion. Alex was player for the ages who inflicted so many wounds upon himself that it left us all wondering why.
My favorite moment of the evening was his double to the gap. That was the part of his story that seemed beautifully poetic. It wasn’t a mammoth home run that was often the ammo for his biggest critics. No, it was a piece of productive, pure hitting. I believe that that is what ARod was. He was a textbook player. A guy that the Webster’s Dictionary could use for the definition of : A BASEBALL PLAYER. It would simply read – See. Alex Emmanuel Rodriguez.
As he stood on second base you could see him let all the hurt, anger and frustration go. He was a ballplayer again. Just a ballplayer that realized it was time to go. I smiled as he called for timeout. It was a redemption moment. He wasn’t getting the Champions parade. He won’t have #13 retired. Alex put himself where he stood that night. He was responsible. But he also learned a lesson. He righted some wrongs and became the player he was always supposed to be. That was something great to see.
People will often talk about Josh Hamilton’s battle with addiction and the way he fought to be back in the game he loved so much. Alex Rodriguez also fought with addiction. Only ARod was addicted to his talent. He was addicted to being the greatest player in a generation. And then one day he wasn’t there like it used to be. Where was that feeling of superhuman ability? It was leaving him the way it did to Roger & Barry. To hang on to it Al did whatever it took…even cheating the game he loved. He needed that feeling. He didn’t know who he was without it. Think about that before you bang the gavel on the Case of Alex Rodriguez.
** Not sure this has a message regarding Alex, but it’s always seemed like a redeeming song to be. THE END… **
--Mike O'Hara, Senior "Features" Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @mikeyoh21