This October, it’s all about A-Rod

Prospect Profile: Carmen Angelini
Safe or out?


Yesterday evening, I received an e-mail from an assistant account executive working on a Nike campaign. In an attempt to drum free advertising – it worked here and here and, of course, right here – Brandon wrote to me about the 80-foot-tall billboard of Alex Rodriguez going up today at the corner of 34th St. and 7th Ave.

Now, that billboard, shown above, is pretty huge. And it’s pretty much Alex Rodriguez in your face just in case New York needed a reminder that A-Rod is playing in October again. The billboard exhorts the Yankees “Just Do It” this October. But is that encouragement for the team or a disgusted plea of a fed-up fan base? Really, just do it already, A-Rod.

Meanwhile, in The Times, Tyler Kepner looks at the expectations resting on A-Rod’s shoulders this postseason. A-Rod, we all know, hit .314 this year with 54 home runs and 156 RBI (or one every 9.1 innings this season).

Kepner’s piece runs over familiar ground. The rest of the team has to put A-Rod in a position to succeed; he’s working harder this year and ignoring the criticism; he’s laughing off mistakes and not letting every little thing get under his skin; he’s not going to change his hitting approach in October; etc., etc., etc. It’s something we’ve heard ad nauseum this year.

If that’s not enough for you, then scoot on over to where the Worldwide Leader has just unveiled a Howard Bryant-penned missive on Alex Rodriguez. Entitled The King of Gotham? the piece is a challenge to Alex Rodriguez. Rise to the occasion, Bryant says, and bring home the gold to New York. The world will be yours.

So here are again in October, and the attention is squarely on A-Rod. Like or not, A-Rod has to follow up his 54-home run season with a stellar October. The Yanks could lose in the first round, but if A-Rod hits, he will bear no weight for another early exit from the postseason.

Is this fair to A-Rod? Of course not, but that’s the price he has to pay for a $25-million annual salary. You can bet this year that A-Rod won’t get dropped from the four-hole. It’s been his slot all year, and Joe Torre isn’t about to mess with success.

But that whole opt-out business will come into play too. The Yankees need A-Rod. They need him this week; they need him next week; they need him next year. In the current state of baseball in New York, anything short of a stellar postseason against some of the best pitchers in the game will be a disappointment for A-Rod and the Yanks. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen.

Prospect Profile: Carmen Angelini
Safe or out?
  • Ivan

    There is no question that this is a huge postseason for A-Rod. Hopefully, he can shut the critics up and become this year Peyton Manning. (finally winning the big one) Lets go A-Rod and most importantly lets go Yanks. We need you Man.

    PS. Is it me or has Mike Lupica really been queit when the Mets collapse this year. If this was the yankees, he would of wrote three pages about them. Instead, he turns the other cheeks because he’s friends with the wilpons and etc. Talk about ridiculous, Mike Lupica is not only a yankee hater but a mets fan. What a fucking bitch.

  • steve (different one)

    Is this fair to A-Rod? Of course not, but that’s the price he has to pay for a $25-million annual salary.

    it’s funny that $25M is just “too much” money, but $20M (Jeter) or $19M (Giambi) won’t get criticized if they have a poor series. i mean, Giambi could have been the difference in 2004 if he wasn’t ravaged by steroids. jeter had a piss-poor ALCS in 2004 and escaped without criticism.

    $20M is ok, but $25M is just ostentatious.

    don’t disagree with anything that was written here, just think it’s funny.

    as if A-Rod shouldn’t make 20% more than Jeter.

    • Ben K.

      Of course, it’s not fair. It’s the pressures that come with being the highest paid player though. Comparatively, I think Jeter and Giambi are both way overpaid in comparison to A-Rod. That’s a whole other point though.

  • Patrick

    Thanks for the link.

    Like you said, it’s what the contract buys him, fair or not. It’s a team game and it’s more than him, for sure… for all intensive purposes, Jeter will have as much or more a hand in how we do than he does, but I’m definitely rooting for him. As all Yankees fans should be, really. If A-Rod wins – we all win.

    • Ron

      What the hell are “intensive purposes”?

      • Mike A.

        Purposes. That are intense. Duh.

        • Patrick


  • Count Zero

    It all comes down to the 3 and 5 slots. On Thursday night I am assuming we will see Posada hitting fifth if Duncan gets the DH start. That will be a chance for Alex to get it rolling. But if he has an ineffective, 4-3 groundball-hitting Matsui behind him all postseason, he’s just going to have to take a lot of walks because no one in their right mind will give him anything to hit with runners on.

    I think Alex is going to play well. If nothing else because he is now able to take the walks when he has to instead of pressing for hits when no one is pitching to him as he did in the ’05 ALDS.

  • The Scout

    I just like the billboard.

  • Barry

    so nike does have a sense of humor maybe they should of showed him up at bat.