Wednesday, May 23, 2012

When Does It Stop?

Playing baseball for the New York Yankees is a tremendous privilege; especially if one gets paid a busload of money for the honor.  In New York, respect is earned and it is not a right. And, of course - everyone has an opinion at the very least about the Yankees. Opinions about character assassination run rampant in New York - as well as being contemptuous.

For Alex Rodriguez, this is a normal day at the office.  Although, he has always displayed the required backbone for excellence and continues to work his tail off, he's denoted a choker and a swaggerer.  We have all heard the chinwag: Catcalls for his head on a bad play or a strikeout, resentment over his lofty contract, envy, and vogue for this season - annoyance for his pitiable performance with RISP (6 for 40 with 2HR and 12RBIs).  Now, lets have a look-see at two categories for his career.  With RISP he's batting a very respectful .298/.400/.539 with 154 HRs and 1,216 RBIs  and .346/.394/.697 with 22 Grand Slams with the bases full.  Not Bad! However, a great deal of fans continue to have selective amnesia, including the press as they pile on and overanalyze  his statements, modulate his success and constantly disparage him.

There are plenty of flies buzzing around the stadium lately, but we can't continue to censure and exile the unproductive.  We need to root for wins and provide a vote of confidence.  AROD's unrelenting supremacy may be gone, but he's not the only one to blame - It's a 25 man team.  It's understandable for all this to be fad in New York as he makes the most money, and as such - should have the biggest target ironed on his uniform.  The numbers: the Yankees are obligated to pay Alex $143 million with another $30 million in possible incentives.  Still, let's not forget the money remaining on the contracts of CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter - over $300 million with possible incentives.  Not exactly pocket change.  Yet Alex must absorb all the heat.

Some are so dismayed at the notion that he's got a chance to top the HR and RBI records.  And, because of his admitted steroid use, he then, should be removed from any serious consideration to be mentioned alongside other baseball immortals: Aaron, Ruth, Mantle or Mays.  Perhaps, Alex should be relegated to complete obscurity?  C'mon?! What about the Ruth era, when players were notorious for drinking and gambling and the days of Mickey, Whitey and Billy - where liquor was a constant.

There is no debate about the poor showing so far this season for Rodriguez (.276/.369/.404 with 5 HR and 15 RBIs) - an unproductive beginning by AROD's standards. But, it's just not producing for him, his benchmark is so high that no matter what he does, it would never suffice New York.  How will his pinstripe legacy be defined? Who knows, but one thing is for sure: most will continue to disapprove and most sentiments about him will always be hurled outside the realm of goodwill.

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Geo Ginrosge