We could have used Venkman, Ray, Egon and Winston – the original Ghostbusters – with the way the oddities of this week have played out for the New York Yankees and Alex Rodriguez.
The 12-year marriage is over and the fat lady has sung.
It’s finally over Yogi.
The ending however, couldn’t have been any more perfect for Rodriguez. Prior to the game a ceremony was held to honor A-Rod’s time in the Bronx. The baseball gods and mother nature had other plans. Lightning and the cracks of thunder filled the skies (There is no Gozer, only Zuhl) over the new stadium and the heavens opened up. Go figure.
Rodriguez was joined on the field by his mother, brother and two girls (escorted by Mariano Rivera) for the rushed ceremony. Hal and Jennifer Steinbrenner joined by giving A-Rod gifts as the heavy rain poured down.
Rodriguez, batting third came to the plate in the first inning and ripped an RBI double to tie the game at one and slammed his hands together. No matter what he did from that point on in the game, he had that moment standing at second base. There was no Derek Jeter ending for A-Rod. He finished the game 1-for-4 and did get his moment for one out in the 9th inning by playing third base.
So it’s all over now, Saturday we begin life without Alex Rodriguez. For some it may feel strange almost like it was when spring training opened the last two years without Rivera or Derek Jeter respectively. Twelve years with the Yankees, over $300 million dollars and one championship. It’s going to be real quiet around the Yankees for a little bit because with A-Rod nothing was ever quiet with his time with the Yankees. At the end of the day, Alex loved this game and this whole week was unfortunate for him so you do feel for him a bit. His statement all week was that he was “at peace” with the cards he was dealt.
Give him credit, he wanted to come to the Yankees having played no other position but shortstop but knew that would have to change because the god of the Yankees aka Jeter was there already; A-Rod took it gracefully. He was a massive threat in the Yankees line-up through those early years and into the later years up until steroids came back into the picture, although never tested positive while being a Yankee. He racked up some MVP awards and helped lead the way to a 27th championship for the Yankees franchise.
Without a doubt he is a tremendous baseball player, it’s in his blood. When listening to Rodriguez talk the whole week leading up to his final game he mentioned his former skipper and mentor Lou Piniella. “I wish I played more years under Lou, because he taught me a lot”, A-Rod stated. Maybe, just maybe, if he did indeed play under Piniella some more, is it possible Rodriguez doesn’t touch steroids? Who knows, not even Alex knows when asked if he would be the same player without the “juice”, “I can’t really answer that question” when talking to WFAN’s Mike Francesca.
You can go on and on about analyzing the legacy A-Rod will have left, but the dark cloud much like the one we saw in the pregame ceremony will certainly haunt him going forward and his quest to Cooperstown. The numbers certainly don’t lie. He is, by all accounts, a Hall of Fame player on the numbers alone. So is Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and so forth. The steroids however, bring an unsettling discussion amongst the baseball writers who get to vote. He has indeed mended the fences with baseball, the commissioner and the boys and girls who looked up to him but it takes a long time to rebuild a reputation.
Rodriguez joined the Yankees when they were considered the Evil Empire and those times have changed since “The Boss” George Steinbrenner gave up control to his sons due to declining health and passed in 2010. He became a villain in opposing ballparks especially up in Fenway in Boston. The rivalry was hotter than hot. There are so many words that come to mind when you sum up the career Rodriguez has had not only with the Yankees but for his entire career. Some of those words good, mostly bad.
For starters when he leaves Yankee stadium he’ll be going home to Miami for a long summer’s nap and some quality time with his two daughters. He will take a $26-million-dollar slumber and then eventually be a special advisor to the Yankees, joining Reggie Jackson and Hideki Matsui in those roles. Stuck at 696 career home runs, Alex will ride into the dark and stormy clouds with the most awkward and strangest final two years in his Yankees tenure.
In the post-game press conference, the Yankees manager broke down. This was indeed a stressful week for him. He, along with the rest of the team and the public knew of the decision basically at the same time. You have to feel for Girardi a bit; he was put in a tough situation because he was still trying to win games with the Yankees believe it or not still in the thick of a playoff race. Given the fact Rodriguez hasn’t given much to help the team Girardi had to do what was best for the team to try and win. Although, he could have done the right thing and play Rodriguez his final five days? Nonetheless, the moment for A-Rod was given and Girardi showed his heart.
Cheaters don’t deserve a free pass. Discussions have been made and the voting system flawed in the BBWAA. So does Alex Rodriguez belong in the hall? Most would say no. Would there ever be convincing down the line, sure there could be but then you have to seriously consider other offenders. Without a doubt, Alex Rodriguez will go down as one of the best baseball players to the play the game, he will also go down as one of the most controversial athletes in all of sports.
Rodriguez did so much good to help win games, and then made the fans turn against him. The New York fan can be hard but A-Rod made it that way. In the end you can’t help but say thank you. Thank you for the love and passion you have for the game of baseball. Thank you for the work ethic you put in each day to better yourself and the teammates around you and thank you for all that you have done for the New York Yankees.