Saturday, November 3, 2007

In Defense Of A-Rod

Obviously, I won't defend the punk-ass way A-Rod and Boras hijacked the World Series. (I can't believe Selig isn't going to fine or condemn them directly. It's a terrible precedent to look the other way over that behavior.)

But A-Rod's decision to leave the Yankees? Makes perfect sense. My friend Noam said as soon as the fans started booing A-Rod in 2006, he knew A-Rod was gone. I too thought the aggressive, daily booing was obnoxious, stupid, and unhelpful. Of course, I think booing a pitcher who has had a bad outing, booing a player for striking out and booing your own team in general is pretty stupid. If a player on my team makes a mental error or doesn't play smart, I might let out a snort of disgust; if a player doesn't run hard to first or do the things that every player should do, they earn my anger. But booing a player in a slump and every time they have an at-bat that doesn't produce (which means booing even the best players 65% of the time)? That's crazy. Who needs it?

Further, A-Rod didn't come to New York to patch up his friendship w Jeter. But surely he must have expected/hoped it would happen. Surely he spoke to Jeter before committing. He just didn't ask, 'Will we be buddies again?" So Jeter didn't have to say no. A-Rod came to Jeter's team, switched positions, and found they were no closer off the field than they were before. That must have been a drain as well. (And no, it was not Jeter's responsibility to become buds again.) Merciless media attention (oh my God, A-Rod is in Central Park w his shirt off!), booing, coldness in the clubhouse, the feeling of always being Number Two (or more like Number Five) in the fan's affection, being batted number eight without being told about it in advance, having the team management call you out early in the season and demand you re-negotiate right now when they NEVER negotiate during a season and insisting you'll have to walk if you don't and winning MVP two out of four years but knowing, KNOWING that the fans don't care and don't consider you to be a real Yankee yet.... Who needs it?

Go somewhere else, get some love from the fans, get a pile of money, join another team with post-season hopes and know that eventually you'll play in the World Series and eventually you'll perform terrifically well on that stage (surely it's just a matter of time) and leave that cold, unfriendly New York City behind, just like countless harried, stressed-out tourists have breathed a sigh of relief when they're on the way to the airport or heading out of Lincoln Tunnel towards Jersey. Really, who needs it?

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