I became a fan of Alex Rodriguez shortly after he became a New York Yankee. I, like everyone else, have been impressed with him for as long as he was in the league, but beyond the pleasure of watching him play, I didn’t really care who he played for. Seattle and Texas were two teams that were always so flawed that, beyond Rodriguez, there wasn’t much to care about when they played.
The Yankees flexed their wallet, though, and brought a man with the chance to be the best shortstop (perhaps even the best player) in the history of the game to an already impressive team. Rodriguez was immediately intriguing by showing some modesty by switching positions to allow a player lesser in every aspect of the game (Derek Jeter) who had seniority in the city the great slugger was headed to. There is nothing that Jeter does that Rodriguez couldn’t do better, and what’s more, Rodriguez almost certainly knew this. Jeter was one of the big names from those championship teams, and by deferring to Jeter, Rodriguez entered New York as quietly as the best player in the world with the biggest contract in the sport possibly could.
Before the all-star break, however, the Yankee faithful started booing A-Rod as the Yankees started the seasons slowly, and Rodriguez seemed to come up short “when it counted”. It became patently obvious that the best player in the world was a pretty amicable guy–dull, sure, but just fine–and he was a little short on fans. Well, I was jumping on the A-Rod bandwagon.
Alex Rodriguez has “earned” a fleeting reprieve from New Yorkers after this weekend’s game winning grand slam against the Baltimore Orioles. It probably won’t last. Sure, he’s got 5 home runs right now, which is more than anyone else, and, yes, he’s sporting the ultra-cool high socks, but there will come a time when he hasn’t hit a dinger if a couple weeks and the boys with the navy pinstripes will lose 3 in a row, and suddenly, there’s a lot of booing coming his way.
Not from me, though. A-Rod, I’m rooting for you this season. I hope you hit .400 with 74 home runs and you walk 233 times. I then hope you flip Yankee Stadium the bird as you walk off the field, opt out of your contract, and come on down I-95, trading those navy pinstripes for some red ones. Here’s to you, A-Rod.