New York Yankees

Hank Aaron AP

Hank Aaron is rooting for Alex Rodriguez


The Hammer was asked about Alex Rodriguez. His response, in Newsday:

“I am rooting for him,” Aaron, 81, said Monday. “Despite all of the things that people say he had been involved in, I’m rooting for him to come back and have a great year. I am very much anxious to see what he’s going to do . . . I’ve met A-Rod, and to be honest, between him and me, he’s been nothing but a friend to me. I liked him.”

Aaron went on to note that, yeah, after a year off it’ll be hard for Rodriguez this season. He also talked about what it’s like to have PED guys like Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez at or near the top of the home run list alongside of him:

“I’m not sitting here saying the reason that a lot of these guys are breaking records are because of steroids. I can’t say that because I’m not God. I don’t know [if] they’ve been in steroids, I can’t say that. The only thing I can say is I wish them well and that they do the best they can. They have to live and meet their own maker, not me.”

Imagine: wishing someone well, even if they have acted poorly. And not standing in public judgment regarding the manner in which they acted. How generous of spirit. How empathetic in nature.

How utterly rare.

Remember, back in 2009 when no one was paying any attention to Alex Rodriguez? Me neither.

Image (1) AlexRodriguezAP-thumb-250x303-6668.jpg for post 4407

Tony Massarotti, who claims that “no one cares about A-Rod” anymore and then proceeds to write an entire column about him, had this to say about Alex Rodriguez while doing the de riguer cataloging of his shortcomings:

“Rodriguez always had more ability than his chief contemporary, Derek Jeter. He just didn’t have the makeup. For all the attention Rodriguez sought during his career, he routinely wilted under it. On the field and off, as it turns out. In assorted postseason series with the Yankees, Rodriguez batted .133, .071, .190, .111, .125 and .111. His career postseason batting average of .263 was noticeably lower than his career regular season number of .299, and it was worse if you eliminate the productive 2009 postseason in which A-Rod was not the focus.”

Translation: “Alex Rodriguez was awful in the postseason except for that time he was AMAZING but that didn’t count because of this narrative I just made up about how it didn’t count.”

He goes on to say that no one was paying attention to Rodriguez that postseason as “[t]hat October, C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were the ones in New York’s crosshairs.” Because no, Alex Rodriguez was not in the spotlight in 2009. Not at all. It was only the sleepy little year in which:

  • A salacious tell-all book came out about him, written by a New York Times columnist;
  • He gave a nationally televised admission of steroid use to kick off spring training after his name was revealed on the list of guys who tested positive during the sample testing period;
  • He had hip surgery;
  • He nonetheless hit a home run on the first swing he took after recovering from hip surgery;
  • His relationship with Kate Hudson was all over the tabloids;
  • The story about him allegedly having a painting of him depicted as a centaur in his room broke; and
  • The ENTIRE runup to the postseason and every single postseason story about him and the Yankees that year was about how, in the past, Rodriguez had choked in the postseason.

After the World Series that year, ESPN’s Jim Caple called it “the most interesting season of [Rodriguez’s] life by far.” But sure, “A-Rod was not the focus.” He was just a regular joe, going hardly noticed by people. Most of us forgot what he even looked like.

It must be nice to be a radio/columnist dude. You can just make up stuff all you want and merely assert it with no care whatsoever about, you know, reality.

Report: The Yankees were “fuming” at how A-Rod handled his early arrival to spring training

Alex Rodriguez AP

Alex Rodriguez arrived to Yankees camp in Tampa, Florida today, first completing a physical before doing his first workout at the team’s minor league complex. Normally teams would applaud their players for reporting early. It’s showing initiative. But this is A-Rod we are talking about, so of course somebody has a problem with it.

According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Yankees officials were “fuming” that A-Rod didn’t give them a heads up about his early arrival. Really:

A-Rod’s early arrival was a bit of a surprise, as many had pegged him for a Wednesday appearance when position players are slated to report to Steinbrenner Field.

Roughly 20 reporters and a handful of cameras were on hand at the minor-league complex to greet A-Rod, a fraction of what had been expected for his arrival.

But while the early start may have lessened the media boom, it also caught the Yankees by surprise, leaving Brian Cashman and the team’s media relations staff scrambling for answers when asked about Rodriguez’s rumored arrival.

The Yankees had no issues with A-Rod arriving on Monday, but team officials were fuming that he hadn’t alerted them to his plans.

“He’s learned nothing,” said one baseball executive. “He’s the same old guy. He just did what he wanted to do.”

And if A-Rod merely reported on time with the rest of the position players, we’d likely hear an anonymous source saying the Yankees were disappointed he didn’t get there early to show that he means business after his year-long PED suspension. We’re in damned if you do, damned if you don’t territory here and it’s beyond silly. But it’s also oh-so-predictable.