I guess I’m just not as affected by the idea of A Rod not being able to play for the Yankees like so many others Yankee fans seem to be.
I was a Yankee fan before A Rod joined the Yankees….I remember when Clemens intimidated the hell out of him during the 2000 playoffs and loved it.
Living in Texas, I remember all of the hype when he came to play for the Rangers and how he signed with the Rangers to ‘dethrone’ the Yankees. All the talk was that Rangers owner Tom Hicks was set to become the George Steinbrenner of the Southwest…And after a year of that approach not working and the popularity of “Money Ball”, he decided to switch philosophies…(Being a Yankee fan in Texas was fun during that time as every interview Tom Hicks did about the Rangers started off with him blaming the Yankees for their lack of success within the first five minutes…The only silver lining about the 2010 playoffs that was the Rangers won AFTER he was no longer the owner…But I digress.)
Then A Rod got traded to the Yankees….I’ll admit it….I was thrilled. The best player in baseball in pinstripes….Playing along side Derek Jeter. He would put the Yankees over the top..Right?
Well, then the 2004 ALCS collapse occurred with the memory of A Rod slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s hand and then feebly trying to make it look like it happened because he was moving his arms while running.
That image still makes me want to hurl.
Then came 2005 when after losing in the playoffs he went to a club and asked that the dj ‘pump up the hip hop’ while the Pinstriped Faithful writhed in agony.
06, 07 and 08 are kind of a blur to me. I remember how he was photographed in Toronto getting into an elevator in his hotel with a buxom woman who was not his wife. I remember him not coming through in big moments.
Is it unfair to use A Rod’s off the field issues against him right now?….Probably. He had a knack for saying the wrong thing at the most crucial time. And while I’m sure a lot of what drives him is insecurity and the fact that he didn’t know his father while he was growing up, at some point it just always annoyed me every time he came up on the wrong side of things.
I really wanted to have his back….And at times I did try….But there were some things I couldn’t get past.
Then 2009 happened….He started off the season in spring training admitting that he had used PED’s before joining the Yankees while the rest of the Yankees sat behind him looking as uncomfortable as uncomfortable can be. He realized he made a mistake…He was clean now. And he was determined to show that he could win when it counted.
And so he did. He came through that year in the clutch during the season and really played well.
And then came the postseason. What a performance. It looked like he would finally get the monkey off of his back…He came through….In a huge way. Sure, Matsui got the World Series MVP….And it was deserved. But A Rod was huge during that playoff run.
And he was clean…..
Well, maybe not.
Now it turns out that he may have been juicing then.
After 09, the old A Rod returned. He struck out in big playoff situations and last year, it was reported that he was flirting with girls in the stands while in the on deck circle.
It was as if after being convinced that the annoying friend who always embarrasses you and your other friends had finally gotten a clue did something extremely stupid as if to say “gotcha!”
Was A Rod good for the Yankees?….He helped them win in 09….And that should not be forgotten.
But taking EVERYTHING into account, he has been a source of embarrassment for me as a Yankee fan ever since he first arrived.
And while I realize his exit may signal dark days ahead for the Yankees, I would submit that those dark days have been coming for a long, long time…..And as a fan base, we are due to have to suffer a bit.
Think we’ve already suffered enough for one lifetime?….Trying explaining that to a Cubs fan and see what happens.
And you know what?…..I’m to the point in my life where while the idea Yankees stinking makes me cringe, in light of being a father, a husband and an adult trying to do something worth a d@mn with the rest of a life….It’s an idea that doesn’t signal the end of all things good like it did before.
So A Rod….Thanks for the memories.