Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal got statements from each of the “Core Four” New York Yankees of the 1990s-2000s Yankee Dynasty: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada.
All of them had good things to say about Alex Rodriguez, calling him a hard worker, a good teammate, a smart baseball mind and someone who cared about the game. You know, all of those things the media and fans claim he wasn’t even though they were in nowhere as good a position to know as those four guys.
OK, I realize that the rules for such farewell statements are the same as for funerals: if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. I’m 100% certain that at one time or another each of those four was livid at A-Rod for something and obviously they’re not going to say it here. Still, the idea that one can hold two views of Alex Rodriguez — appreciate what was good about him even if there are things about him you didn’t care for — is a pretty shocking concept for most people, even if we treat everyone else in the world that way. The statements:
“I’ve spent 22 years playing against, playing with and watching Alex from afar, and there are two things that stand out to me the most: the conversations we had when we were young — hoping for the opportunity to play at the major league level and then somehow finding a way to stick around — and the championship we won together in 2009. That was a season everyone on that team could cherish.
“What people don’t realize is how much time, effort and work that Alex put in on a daily basis. He lives and breathes baseball. I know it will be difficult for him to not be on the field, but I’m sure he will continue to give back to the game. Congrats, Alex.”
“It was a privilege to play with Alex. Through his preparation and work ethic, you saw how much he cared about this game and about helping this team win. I love him — as a friend and as a teammate. He was all you could ask for in both.”
“I had a chance to see Alex as a young player in the league, and I knew immediately he was going to be special. It was always fun competing against Alex, but I really enjoyed having the opportunity to play side-by-side with him in New York. He was a big reason we were able to win the 2009 World Series. I wish Alex and his family nothing but the best moving forward.”
“Alex was not only one of the best players in the world, he was one of the smartest players on the field. It was such a great combination. Please go have fun and enjoy your family — you are an awesome dad. I’m very proud of you.”