4/12/15, "In the Yankees’ Reality Show, It’s Alex Rodriguez, Flaws and All,
" NY Times, William C. Rhoden
fans had the first glimpse last week of life without Derek Jeter and life with Alex Rodriguez
Hometown fans generally greeted Rodriguez warmly
. He had spent a year away from
the game after being suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Baseball wanted a longer suspension, but Rodriguez fought and got the
ban reduced. His return gave fans a reason to be hopeful.
it would be a stretch to say Rodriguez has roared back, he has been
more than credible.
Even as the Yankees lost four of six games to open
the season, Rodriguez offered a ray of hope. He had six hits, including a
home run, and was batting .300. He even played first base, where he
committed an error, but otherwise turned in an encouraging performance.
Sunday, his bases-clearing double in the first inning
set the tone for
an offensive explosion that culminated in a 14-4 rout of the Boston Red
been working hard and I’ve been feeling better each day,” Rodriguez
said after Sunday’s game. “But I have to remain patient and not expect
Rodriguez is not the Yankees’ problem this season,
and he may even be the team’s salvation.
larger issue is a pitching staff led by Masahiro Tanaka, who was
drilled in the season opener but earned a victory Sunday, and C. C.
Sabathia, who lost his first start as well.
Tanaka was better on Sunday, pitching five innings and allowing four runs in a 14-4 Yankees win.
Yankees know what they have in Rodriguez: a baseball prodigy who, at
age 39, is better than many players 10 years younger. The reality is
that only Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Yogi
Berra had more home runs as a Yankee than Rodriguez.
I’m fascinated by critics who write that Rodriguez has “ruined” his legacy. In whose eyes?
Clearly not among the thousands who have applauded Rodriguez for the last few days.
writes the history? Who determines which legacies are “ruined” and
which are not?
An overwhelmingly white, male baseball establishment that
sits in judgment, that’s who.
it were my vote, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens would be in the Hall of
Fame effective immediately. In the stats-driven, nostalgia-laced
business of baseball, statistics speak for themselves.
We keep reading that Alex Rodriguez played us.
He didn’t play us. We — fans, the news media — played ourselves. Deluded ourselves as baseball continued to lie to itself.
Baseball tells us that the wicked witch of performance-enhancing drugs is dead. Right.
this month, we learned that three other players had tested positive for
stanozolol. Clearly, they don’t have access to the latest science on
Manager Joe Girardi made a sensible and fair-minded point last week
when asked about Rodriguez. “We live in a society that gives people
second and third chances — fourth, fifth,” Girardi said. “Look, as
humans we’re going to make mistakes. That’s the bottom line; we’ve all
that Major League Baseball has never paid for its transgressions.
Owners, team presidents, general managers, athletic trainers have never
been held accountable for their roles in the so-called steroid era.
had this conversation in the commissioner’s suite with Bud Selig during
the World Series. My argument is that baseball will never have closure
on this issue until former baseball commissioners, the current
commissioner, team presidents and officials, as well as team owners past
and present, testify under oath about who knew what and when.
players have simply been fall guys for a sport that knew exactly what
was transpiring and for fans who largely did not care. Let these Yankees
begin winning and you will not have enough seats to accommodate the
if he felt vindicated by his strong spring training and good start in
the Yankees’ first six games, Rodriguez stuck to the script: It’s not
about me; it’s about the team.
terms of Rodriguez’s legacy, he was on the way to becoming one of the
greatest shortstops to play the game until he reached the Yankees and,
out of deference to Derek Jeter, switched to third base. Rodriguez
became one of the best third basemen in the game, and I have little
doubt that with time and reps, he could become an All-Star-caliber first
baseman and could become an outstanding designated hitter.
Rodriguez knows how to play the game — on and off the field. So far this season, he is saying all the right things.
love our fans,” he said after the Yankees’ opening-day loss. “We have a
long history here. I think about 2009 and some of the things we
accomplished together. I think this is an opportunity to help the team
And then added:
fans don’t owe me anything. I’ve said all along, since spring training,
part of feeling like a rookie is that I have to earn their cheers and
reality is that Rodriguez is the only true star the Yankees have. T
season, he will pass the great Willie Mays on the career home run list.
Will the baseball establishment celebrate or will it treat Rodriguez’s
feat as the tree that falls in the forest?
Now we look for celebrity deeds and misdeeds to fill an insatiable, eternal news cycle.
Jeter era is over, and fans are right to lament its passing. Jeter was
the consummate professional, giving crisp, no-frills interviews that
revealed only what he wanted to reveal.
Jeter was the image of the clean-cut, unflawed Yankee.
Rodriguez is flawed. That, for me, is what makes him one of the most compelling figures in contemporary sports.
learned, among other things, that he liked cigars and played a game of
poker now and then. We know that he used steroids and lied about it.
He gave the people what they wanted, and baseball what it wanted. Now he is back.
is such an incredibly special year for me,” Rodriguez said on Sunday.
“So different for me, I don't have anything to gauge it against. I’m
really just trying to do the best I can every at-bat.” Next stop: Willie Mays." via John Sterling mention on Yankee radio