Reading the Juliet Macur A-Rod column in the New York Times because, apparently, I hate my life and I want to die.
It’s the usual thing in bad A-Rod columns: assertions that the current situation is “untenable” and that something must be done without explaining why, exactly, something must be done. A total memory-holing of the fact that the New York Yankees wrote the freakin’ book on how to deal with off-the-field drama and have never, ever once been sunk by it. And that even if they could be, the tail end of a drama involving a 40-year-old player is pretty small potatoes compared to a lot of stuff they’ve dealt with over the years.
Fact is, the A-Rod situation is going to play itself out pretty easily, actually. He’ll either play well or he won’t. If he plays well, the Yankees will use him. If he doesn’t, they won’t. If he sucks and they need the roster spot, they’ll release him. At most there will be some legal scuffling about the $6 million Willie Mays home run bonus, but it’ll probably settle quietly because who really has the stomach for that fight? This isn’t the Bronx Zoo here. This isn’t one of those fun Babe Ruth controversies. A-Rod is famous, but he’s not some big star who must be deal with anymore. He’s almost done. Hell, he may be totally done.
That stuff aside, however, here’s my favorite part of the Macur column:
The Yankees didn’t have to make Rodriguez the richest baseball player in history, with career earnings now at about $356 million. They didn’t have to agree to pay him more than the player in the No. 2 spot, Derek Jeter. They could have said goodbye to him for good in 2007. And they didn’t.
You cool with that Yankees fans? You cool with the team not signing A-Rod in 2007? Because I’m pretty certain that the 2009 title doesn’t happen without A-Rod almost single-handedly bringing it home for you all that postseason. I’m sure you can construct a reality in which the Yankees, freed of not paying A-Rod, acquired every good player available between 2007 and 2009 in order to win it, but you’re just speculating there. The actual facts on the ground are that Alex Rodriguez led the 2009 Yankees to the World Series title.
People say Yankees fans are spoile. That their team has won so many titles that giving up one wouldn’t even be noticed. But I think that’s baloney for the most part. Yankees fans I know are like any other sports fans: that season, that moment is what matters and that their joy of winning it all in 2009 is not fundamentally different than the Phillies winning one in 2008 or the Giants winning in 2010.
But what say you? Honestly.