Some guys can play with a team for a few years and I have a hard time picturing them in any other uniform. Carlos Beltran springs to mind. He joined the Mets in 2005 and right now his time in Kansas City seems like it was decades ago. Other guys can play someplace for around the same amount of time and I still think of them as the property of another club. A-Rod is one of those guys. In my mind he still wears a Mariners or Rangers jersey.
Which is crazy, because as Joel Sherman noted yesterday, A-Rod has been a Yankee longer than you realize:
He has played more than 1,000 games with the Yankees already (1,027), ranking him 41st all-time. That might not read impressive, but he is about to get in the left lane and go zooming up that chart. If he plays just 140 games this season — his eighth with the Yankees — Rodriguez is going to pass Lou Piniella, Joe Pepitone, Tino Martinez, Hal Chase, Charlie Keller, Clete Boyer, Moose Skowron, Tony Kubek and Tom Tresh and rank 32nd all-time. If he plays another 140 games in 2012, Rodriguez would move by Dave Winfield, Red Rolfe, Roger Peckinpaugh, Horace Clarke, Paul O’Neill, Bobby Murcer, Tommy Henrich and Bob Meusel into 24th place.
Another 140 after that puts him in the top 20 and, well, you can see where this is going.
Where it’s going is that A-Rod will one day be in the inner-circle of all-time Yankees as far as games played in pinstripes (or Yankees road grays) goes. Mantle, Ruth, Gehrig, Berra territory. Or at least someplace close to it depending on how durable he is during the course of his contract.
I guess it’s not a time thing for me (yes, I acknowledge that headline doesn’t make a ton of sense). Just a time-space perception, because intellectually speaking I know that A-Rod has been with the Yankees since 2004. I just have a hard time getting my brain around it.