Much of the last 5-6 years of my New York Yankee fandom has been spent on defending the Yankees’ decision for trading for, and eventually resigning Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez. I’ve had so many heated battled with Red Sox fans and fellow Yankee fans about the merits of getting one of the greatest players of this generation (and possibly of all time) for arguably the greatest sports franchise in the world. The vaingloriousness of New York demands such a matchup. Plus, until Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series vs. the Comeback Red Sox, there was no question about how great an acquisition this became.
Of course, no one talks about Mariano Rivera’s 2 blown saves because it had to be the new guy’s fault. Everyone on that team was a “true blue Yankee” with pinstripes in their veins, whether they were acquisitions or from the farm system … unless their name was Alex, and these definitions often made Yankee fans the laughing stock of baseball, even with the gaudy 26 championships at that point. While it’s hard to pity a man who’s making 400 times more money than I am, I couldn’t help but think about how this Dominican overachiever resembles and reflects so many people within our society.
Our society has countless stories of people who succeeded tremendously on an individual level, but never got the respect they deserved simply because the factors and societies around them couldn’t legitimize their work and put it in its proper perspective. So you can only imagine my excitement when Alex Rodriguez won his first championship, fingers to his eyes, in the embrace of Mr. Perfect, Derek Jeter. After all the hard work, the sports psychoanalysis, the drama, the steroids, the surgery, the criticism from all angles, he not only became a champion, but he contributed in a major way to ensuring that his team won, in a league where his secret name was “The Freezer” … for making his teams worse for playing on them. (An unfair comparison if you ask me.)
Finally, a chance for people to see him for what he is, blemishes and all. Oh right, and a championship ring to go along with that.
Jose, who hates to say he told you so, but … I don’t hate to tell you.
p.s. – 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009 were his best years … A-Rod is odd.