Friday, November 16, 2007

Enough A-Rod

I want to love A-Rod. I really do. As a die-hard Yankee I would love to be able to hold A-Rod as near and dear to my heart as I hold Bernie, or Paulie O'Neill, or Tino, or Mo, or Jeter, etc. I'm sure most of Yankee fans would agree. I mean christ, the guy has one of the greatest offensive seasons of all-time last year - .314, 54 HR's, 156 RBI's. And every time I think he's about to turn that corner and become another in the long line of heroes in pinstripes, he does something to mess it up - and usually messes up in the worst possible way. Let me take you through this most recent example.

After a terrible (by his standards) 2006 campaign that culminated with him being dropped to eighth in the Yankees line up in the playoffs, he wins back most in 2007 getting countless big hits late in games, even outperforming Mr. November Derek Jeter in the first round loss to Cleveland. Primed for a huge offer from the Yankees (extending his contract to 10 years, $295 million), not only does he not accept the offer, he refuses a face-to-face meeting with the Yankee brass. Then to top it all off, he announces that he is opting out of his contract - during the Red Sox World Series-clinching victory in Game Four.

Granted, the timing was absolutely horrendous for when he announced his decision (I still think it was mostly Scott Boras calling the shots at this point), but I actually respected him for this decision. He got treated terribly in New York for two of the four seasons he was there. I really believed that he opted out because he wanted out of New York - he wanted to give a big Eff You to all the fans that booed him. And as much as it would have sucked to lose a guy who in all-likelihood will go down as one of the five best baseball players of all-time, I had to give respect to the man for turning down what was obviously going to be the most money he gets offered for a chance to play somewhere he would be happy and loved. And you couldn't even say he didn't care about winning, because if he ended up in a place like Anaheim or L.A., he would have had just as good of a shot to win a World Series as if he stay in New York.

But lo-and-behold, that too was not the case. A-Rod, listening to the advice of Scott Boras, thought he could get a contract worth $350 million. Because the $295 million that the Yankees would have given him was not enough, and the $169 million from the Texas contract he had already earned was not enough, and the countless millions he had earned from endorsements was not enough. His image and reputation have been dragged through the mud so extensively in the last 18 days that he will likely never recover. Every stadium he plays at this season, he will get booed.

The only thing that is giving him the benefit of the doubt in my mind is that HE contacted the Yankees - without Boras. He went to Tampa, and agreed to the outline of the deal that they would have offered him, minus the $20 million or so that the Rangers would have paid. He was scheduled to make $27 million each of the last three years of his previous contract, so essentially what he is signing is just an extension - which is probably fair. He is also negotiating for a portion of the revenue off of his pursuit of Bonds' record - again, probably fair.

Since I heard the first rumors about A-Rod going to Tampa to talk to the Steinbrenners face-to-face, I have been trying to decide who I feel A-Rod really is. I've widdled it down to two possible answers. Either A-Rod really does care about winning, and since the day he was drafted just has been getting bad advice from the wrong people, but until this past week just didn't have the backbone to say enough is enough, I'm doing this my way. Or he really is the greedy, selfish, money-hungry brat that doesn't care about winning, but is extremely savvy and street smart and has used these last few months to convince the baseball world Borad has taken advantage of him.

I really hope he's not the latter.

1 comment:

matthew said...

stop hating on a-rod