Jun
26

(Prematurely) pondering A-Rod’s legacy

By
(Ronald Martinez/Getty)

(Ronald Martinez/Getty)

By now, you’ve most likely heard all the Biogenesis rumors swirling about. Major League Baseball is reportedly trying to suspend Alex Rodriguez (along with 19 others) for their alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. This time, MLB officials will also have the sworn affidavit of totally-non-shady-guy, Tony Bosch, to strengthen their cause.

So, here we are. #STEROIDS! are plaguing the headlines. And as per universal baseball law, Alex Rodriguez is once again in the (self-imposed) spotlight and facing a potential 100-game suspension. This got me thinking (prematurely) about A-Rod‘s legacy, which, when all is said and done, could be decidedly more complicated than most players who have had some questionable moments throughout their MLB career.

Before Pinstripes

Alex-Rodriguez-Scouting-Reports

It’s really hard to remember a time when Alex wasn’t a Yankee (for better or worse), but it happened. During his years with Seattle, he amassed 189 home runs and batted to the tune of .309/.374/.561.  Through his first six seasons, he was already a four-time All-Star vying for MVP candidacy.

Texas provided Alex with his first monster contract and he reciprocated with some monster years. In three seasons (!), he hit almost as many homers (156) as he did during his seven years in Seattle. He batted .305/.395/.615, won his first MVP award and remained a perennial All-Star. By age 27, he had established himself as an elite defender at shortstop (earning two Gold Gloves in the process).

As a Yankee fan, I knew nothing about A-Rod during this time other than he was an exceptional player who was not only the best at his position, but one of the best players in all of baseball. I figured he would fit in very nicely with the increasingly massive NY payroll despite the fact that the Yankees already had a perfectly capable shortstop of their own in Derek Jeter. The only problem was that A-Rod was heading to Boston.

The A-Rod Era, Part I: Welcome to New York

Hilariously (at least to those not in Boston), the MLBPA nixed the deal that would have sent him to Beantown. Coincidentally, 2003 postseason-hero Aaron Boone injured himself in the offseason playing basketball. The stars had aligned. Much to every non-Yankee fan’s chagrin, Cashman convinced the Rangers to trade Alex Rodriguez for Alfonso Soriano in addition to eating $67M of the remaining $179M left on his contract.

I remember Red Sox friends screaming that the damn Yankees had done it again. They were “buying” another championship. Consider the chart below, which shows the top-five leaders from 2004-2007 in some of the various offensive metrics.  As to be expected, A-Rod’s name shows up … a lot.

A-Rod Chart

Now, I prefer to split A-Rod’s tenure in New York into three different eras — the first era consists of his first four years in pinstripes. During those first four years in NY, Rodriguez was pretty awesome, generally speaking. He put up monster numbers each season and won the MVP award twice (which isn’t easy in general, let alone in the Bronx). In 2007 — the second of his two MVP seasons with NY – I remember watching the games in complete awe. A-Rod was that good (54 HR, .314/.422/.645, 9.6 fWAR).

There were a few incidents that earned some negative attention during this span. Back during the 2004 season, A-Rod brawled with Jason Varitek after getting drilled by a Bronson Arroyo pitch (though I’m not sure how many Yankees fans saw this as a negative at the time). Later, in the most depressing postseason of my lifetime, A-Rod drew ire for slapping Arroyo’s glove in an attempt to get on base. In 2007, Alex was chastised in Toronto after apparently yelling something to the effect of “I’ve got it!” or “Hah!” (as he claims) while rounding the bases. These were some minor irritations for sure — perhaps a bit unsportsmanlike even — but nothing deserving of the vitriol he received.

Moreover, it seemed as though most of the hate directed at A-Rod came from Yankee fans! Despite putting up monster season numbers, fans dubbed him as “unclutch” in the postseason.  After the team was eliminated in 2007, I remember folks screaming for blood on WFAN. They blamed A-Rod for the team’s lack of playoff success and questioned whether he would ever achieve the legendary “True Yankee” status.  I remember absurd proclamations that the team was cursed to never win another World Series while he remained in NY. You’d almost think he was the sole reason the team was eliminated from the playoffs during these years given the complaints. Here’s his postseason performance during that time:

Year Age Series Opp PA HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2004 28 ALDS MIN 21 1 2 1 .421 .476 .737 1.213
2004 28 ALCS BOS 37 2 4 6 .258 .378 .516 .895
2005 29 ALDS LAA 23 0 6 5 .133 .435 .200 .635
2006 30 ALDS DET 15 0 0 4 .071 .133 .071 .205
2007 31 ALDS CLE 17 1 2 6 .267 .353 .467 .820
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/5/2013.

Shortly after As the Red Sox finished dismantling the Rockies in Game Four of the 2007 World Series, the inevitable happened. Scot Boras announced that his client would be opting out of his contract. This was despite Cashman’s public declaration that should A-Rod elect to depart, the team would not re-sign him — thus taking one of the biggest potential suitors out of the equation.

I remember claiming at the time that A-Rod was one of the best Third Basemen in the game despite his warts. I remember arguing relentlessly with my father that regardless of whatever postseason woes he may have had, the team was far better off with him than without. The logic was always (and continues to be) that I prefer the guy who produces very well over 162 games ahead of the one who manages a few big hits in an unpredictable playoff series. Sure, I thought he was a bit of a diva (on a team full of divas mind you), but whatever drama was produced off the field was vastly overshadowed by his contributions on.

If history was re-written with Alex departing for greener pastures, we may have found ourselves very dissatisfied with his replacement come 2008 – similar to how some of us feel now about Nick Swisher. We may have found ourselves conflicted as we considered a guy who posted monster numbers while simultaneously falling victim to all the “not-a-true-Yankee” narratives floating about.

Regardless, those four seasons would have gone down as a monumental success for Brian Cashman and the team in terms of production gained versus talent lost. The trade was undoubtedly an absolute A+ for the Yankees (and all the team’s spoiled fans). As for Alex, he would have probably been unfairly remembered for being a great player who couldn’t handle big moments. He would have been ridiculed perhaps for achieving personal triumphs despite never obtaining the one thing players and fans treasure most, a title.

Instead, the relationship got kind of weird…

The A-Rod Era, Part II: Let’s do it all over again

The market wasn’t quite as lucrative for A-Rod as Team Boras had hoped. Teams weren’t lining up to give him the ten-year, $300 million pact he was hoping for. Instead, he personally addressed Yankees ownership and expressed his regret for opting out and vocalized his apparent discontent with his former agent. Competing with no-one at all himself, Hank Steinbrenner decided to offer Rodriguez the most lucrative contract in all of sports — ten years, $275M with incentives.  The circus was back in town.

From 2008-2012, A-Rod hit .282/.370/.503 (.377 wOBA, 132 wRC+) with 129 home runs. While 2008, by all accounts, was a generally successful year, A-Rod managed a then career-low in games played (138) which highlighted what would soon become a steady decline in physical health — 124 games played in 2009, 137 in 2010, 99 in 2011 and 122 in 2012 — ultimately resulting in two hip surgeries. In 2010, he also showcased dramatic batting splits with noticeable difficulties against lefties (.217 vs. LH, .290 vs. RH). Though A-Rod was still an above-average third baseman relative to his peers, his performance was most certainly not validating his mega-salary. In terms of postseason play, his successful run in 2009 was overshadowed by his miserable stats in 2010, 2011, and 2012 (which culminated in him being pinch hit for, and eventually benched altogether by Joe Girardi, despite the fact that the entire team less Raul Ibanez was scuffling offensively!).

Here are his playoff stats during this era:

Year Age Series Opp PA HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2007 31 ALDS CLE 17 1 2 6 .267 .353 .467 .820
2009 33 ALDS MIN 12 2 1 2 .455 .500 1.000 1.500
2009 33 ALCS LAA 30 3 8 3 .429 .567 .952 1.519
2009 33 WS PHI 26 1 3 8 .250 .423 .550 .973
2010 34 ALDS MIN 13 0 1 2 .273 .308 .273 .580
2010 34 ALCS TEX 25 0 3 4 .190 .320 .286 .606
2011 35 ALDS DET 23 0 4 6 .111 .261 .111 .372
2012 36 ALDS BAL 18 0 2 9 .125 .222 .125 .347
2012 36 ALCS DET 9 0 0 3 .111 .111 .111 .222
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/5/2013.

Unfortunately, the off-field issues were becoming more frequent and increasingly public. In 2008, the tabloids had a field day with Alex and Madonna’s relationship after his estranged ex-wife voiced her thoughts. Baseball was rocked in 2007 with the Mitchell Report. Shortly thereafter, A-Rod went on the record with 60 Minutes’ Katie Couric claiming he had never used banned substances. In 2009, however,  he reversed his stance publicly with Peter Gammons when he claimed to have used them from 2001-2003 while with the Texas Rangers. He also mentioning his strained relationship with Derek Jeter (which was obviously very contrary to the Captain’s preference of handling in-house issues privately).

There would be further tabloid nonsense surrounding his relationships with Kate Hudson in 2010 and Cameron Diaz in 2011. Finally in the 2012 off-season, the Biogenesis drama began surfacing while A-Rod’s cousin and long time apparent drug liaison, Yuri Sucart, simultaneously was threatening a lawsuit. Unlike the 2009 steroid allegations, the Biogenesis story has the potential of becoming substantially more damaging for A-Rod, as the Yankees were rumored to have begun exploring ways of voiding his contract and have become very vocalized with their discontent.

Biogenesis hasn’t disappeared as some of us thought it eventually might; rather, it’s actually picked up steam since it first surfaced. At this point, if A-Rod was a stock, his ticker line would probably be plummeting. Since re-signing with the Yankees, it’s been a very rocky road to say the least. Unfortunately for A-Rod, these past few seasons may also be the ones that define his career in the minds of a lot of fans — that is to say a guy whose successes were fraudulent and whose personality is equally questionable.

The A-Rod Era, Part III: Presumably, a rather unceremonious end 

So here we are. A-Rod will soon be 37 years old with four (!) more seasons remaining on his contract. We’ve seen the good, the very good, and the freakishly good only to have those moments be completely overshadowed with the disappointing, the absurd and the down right bad. Between the injuries and Biogenesis, it’s possible A-Rod may face a very unceremonious end — especially if the Yankees can somehow figure out a way to void the remaining dollars owed (which they will surely try to do if a suspension is handed down). At the very least, even if he returns from his rehabbing and avoids a potential ban, chances are he’ll be only a fraction of his former self. Perhaps he can garner a little positivity if he performs better than the miserable production of the current cast of Yankee third basemen though it probably won’t be enough to change the minds of fans.

I think we all have our opinions about A-Rod and his albatross contract. It seems like everything he does makes his legacy all the more polarizing too — even his Cashman-infuriating Tweets. I’m sure there will be some who discount everything he’s done out of principle, or because of steroids, or a general dislike of his personality. I’m not sure that’s appropriate though as his career should be contemplated in the context of his peers. He played in a generation of abusers, and regardless of his personality or shortcomings, there is no doubt he was a truly gifted ball player for much of his career. And for at least the duration of his first contract with the Yankees, he was a monster contributor and perhaps Cashman’s most triumphant trade.

Unfortunately for Alex, he just never quite fit in. Since then, he’s been a constant point of scrutiny (and deservedly so at times). His second NY contract was obviously a disaster from the very first moment and will continue to be. Hopefully, in another few years we can look back at A-Rod with clearer perspective.  Until then, we’ll just have to wonder.

Categories : Musings
  • MannyGeee

    We should all just walk away from this comments thread right now…

    • MannyGeee

      But for what its worth, this is really good stuff Matt. Really well written and provides some perspective on one of the most loved/hated/loathed/misunderstood/underrated/overrated men to ever wear Pinstripes

      • MickeyP

        Agreed.

        • http://RiverAveBlues.com Matt Warden

          Hey, I appreciate it guys. I was a bit apprehensive about publishing this post because of the turmoil it’s bound to cause. But it was a topic of interest to me, and one that I hope, others could appreciate as well. With people as polarizing as A-Rod, it’s tough to remain objective, but we can try.

          • I’m One

            Glad you decided to publish it despite your apprehension. Great read. We all have our opnions on A-Rod. This article doesn’t seem to promote yours, but allows us to think about ours. Very nicely done Matt.

      • jjyank

        +1

  • MUIDATS EEKNAY

    I’m sorry, but what the fuck is wrong with Cashman, cursing out A-Rod over his tweet? Dude was simply excited that his doctor said he can play again, and Cashman is pissed because HE wanted to be the one to make the announcement? Way to somehow make yourself seem MORE petty than A-Rod.

    • jjyank

      As a supporter of both A-Rod and Cashman, generally, I really have no idea what Cashman was thinking there. If he didn’t A-Rod to tweet anything, or if he had conflicting reports, he could have handled it with a lot more tact.

      I don’t think what A-Rod did warranted anything more than maybe a light admonishment to check with the team before announcing your rehab status. All in all, I don’t really care about this little “story”.

      • WhittakerWalt

        Hate ARod all you like, his tweet seemed totally legit and even sweet. The guy wants to get back on the field. What kind of mental gymnastics do his detractors have to perform in order to see this as a BAD thing?

        Cashman was out of line.

        • jjyank

          I agree. I don’t see the harm with the tweet.

        • Rod

          Well said, WW. The clearest, most intelligent and succinct comment on this subject by anybody.

          • Rod

            And by the way, when he does get back on the field, he will rake.

            • jjyank

              And if you are correct, I shall buy you a steak dinner.

            • trr

              Unless he’s being forced to join the ground crew, then no…

              • Jim Is Bored

                Compared to our current crop of 3B, just a near average hitting line would look like raking.

                • trr

                  from that perspective, you could be right Jim

        • trr

          My take is what he tweeted was really no big deal…. If Cashman wanted to critique it, he should have spoken directly to Rodriguez ibstead of making a profane statement in public.

        • Betty Lizard

          While he generates controversy “in real life,” watching Alex Rodriguez on the baseball field is, for me, just sheer joy. He’s one of my favorite players, both because of his amazing physical skill and also for his prodigious baseball IQ. (Still remember an interview when Alex was reminding Andy, in precise detail, what pitches Andy threw.)

          I hope I get to see him play again, and I hope that he tears the cover off the ball. Everything else, is, for me, just noise.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      Cashman blew up because he’s had it with Arod even if his tweet was relatively benign. Arod now has a similar problem as Terrell Owens, Manny Ramirez, Chad Johnson or Alan Iverson.

      When you’re great, it’s easy to overlook all the bullshit like PED use, lying, taking shots at Jeter in magazine article, trying to pick up women in the middle of a baseball game, etc.

      When you regress to average or below, people just want you to be gone since the play on the field doesn’t make up for the BS.

      • LK

        The guys you mention have a very different problem from A-Rod. They can’t get anyone to sign them. A-Rod has 4 more years left on his deal after this one. Cashman might not like it, but bitching about it to the media is probably the worst possible course of action he could take.

      • steves

        I think the Cashman comments reflect that he is simply carrying out company approved policy of provoking Arod; if they can’t get Arod to quit due to physical reasons (their primary strategy in order to get financial relief) then they want him to quit for psychological reasons so public insults/humilation is just part of implementing that strategy. If Cashman was doing this on own, and the Steinbrenners thought that Arod was a valuable asset essential to Yankee on-field success, they would be coming down heavy on Cashman for what any reasonable exec would characterize as terribly inappropriate public comments.

        • LK

          You could be right. If you are, it’s hard to have respect for the organization.

          • steves

            Just heard that Cashman apologized and Hal called Arod to smooth things over so my theory stands debunked!

    • TomG

      Agreed, and this is the second time that he’s publicly ridiculed a player for saying something relatively benign this year. He did the same to Joba this spring for honestly answering a reporter’s question. If you were a free agent, would you choose to work for a guy that conducts his business like this?

  • LK

    You know how I’ll remember A-Rod? As the 9th most valuable position player in team history (per both versions of WAR), and likely moving into 8th before the end of his contract. As the guy who had the most amazing season I’ve ever seen up close in 2007. As the guy who had the greatest postseason I’ve ever seen from a Yankee in 2009. And as the guy who took the most undeserved heat from his own fans as any player in any sport I know of.

    A-Rod has his flaws. They get so much more attention than they need from everyone else that I’ve always focused on the positives when it comes to him. And I always will.

    • jjyank

      These are my thoughts absolutely verbatim. I won’t even bother making my own comment, so I’ll just say:

      This.

    • Dan

      Totally agreed with every word.

      I have always seen Alex as someone who tries too hard. Someone who just never gets it right, but is actually trying to please everyone at all times. I think this twitter thing was him just being excited about a recovery process, but also looking for some contact with fans etc. after being out of the loop for over 6 months. I resent Alex for nothing and consider his time here well worth every minute of controversy.

    • Jim Is Bored

      ARod, Cashman, the yankees in general pretty much get a lifetime pass from me because of 09. Was going through way too much life stuff and baseball was my lone escape. 09 will forever be my favorite season; and I was AT the ALDS game 2 where ARod tied it in the bottom of the 9th off of Nathan. More than any other year, I needed the Yankees in 09.

      That game, that memory, those are enough for me, even if ARod does nothing else in his Yankee career and Cashman runs the team into the ground.

      Any way, you said this perfectly, I agree with every word.

      • LK

        The ’09 season might always be my favorite team. I loved the late-90s teams but was too young to really appreciate what was happening. That season really was magical – the slow start (including getting owned by Boston) followed by the absolute ass-kicking, the walk-offs, the most fearsome 1-8 lineup that I know of dating back quite some time…just awesome.

        • jjyank

          Agreed. Like I said below, I was only 8 years old in 1996. My memories are pretty vague from those years.

          I remember saying all year long, that the Yankees would win it all in 2009. The walk off magic had me convinced that there was something special about that team. I also loved the personality shift in the clubhouse. Guys like CC, AJ, and Swish lightening things up. It’s probably my favorite team too.

          Good thing I don’t have any plans tonight, because now I want to watch the 2009 WS DVD.

          • LK

            Apparently we’re the same age. My thoughts on that team are remarkably similar to yours.

          • vicki

            i hadn’t thought about that personality shift in a good while.

            joe coughlin’d up and threw a pool tournament (mo and phil coke won? do i remember that right?), permitted aj’s infield putting contest, and sanctioned swish’s music in the clubhouse.

            even reading about it, as a fan, i felt giddy and optimistic.

      • Lukaszek

        2009 was magic. I remember watching my first baseball game. I was a grumpy asshat because I thought baseball was boring and didn’t wanna be there. Yankees were losing, but then, it happened. The captain hit a homerun, and I actually felt a bit excited. The Yankees were losing in the ninth, but A-Rod squeaked one out into the first row to tie it, and then I realized that baseball was not boring like I first thought. And then Melky won my heart with a walkoff single. That’s how I became a Yankees fan

  • Endlessjose

    A-Rod brought this on himself. He should have admitted to MLB back in 2009 of his full involvement in PEDS he shouldn’t have any social media tool which we all knew was a dumb idea.

    A-Rod shouldn’t ever talk in public just become a millionaire hermit.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      If anyone is annoyed about ARod using a social networking tool then you must have a great life.

    • trr

      I may as well admit, becoming a a millionaire hermit is my own life’s ambition

      • vicki

        take me with you.

  • WhittakerWalt

    One correction: ARod opted out of his contract even before the 2007 WS was over. He did it right in the middle of the series.

    • LK

      I’m an A-Rod apologist, so ignore this if you want, but I’m pretty sure the announcement would’ve come from Boras and not A-Rod. Whether A-Rod was involved in the timing is anyone’s guess.

      • jjyank

        This is how I remember it as well. And I recall this being one of the reasons A-Rod eventually fired Boras.

    • http://RiverAveBlues.com Matt Warden

      Ohh, good catch, and you’re absolutely right. Happened right after Game 4. Will make the edit.

      • Dan

        Also one other detail i remember was his not being quite sure of what to do after firing Boras he contacted mutual friend Warren Buffet who suggested going to the Yankees himself. Which he did.

        • LK

          Warren Buffet: good person to have giving you advice as you try to secure an obscene amount of cash.

  • dkidd

    2009 was worth it

    • WhittakerWalt

      Yes, it was.

    • pat

      Here here!!

  • Bob Buttons

    People tend to remember the bad better than they remember the good, and that’s how his legacy will be for the majority.
    Kinda like Barry Bonds, who was a legit 40-40 threat pre-PED allegations.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    I never really liked A-Rod that much but there’s no doubt he’ll be remembered as one of the very best that ever played the game.

    Sure, he gets a lot of hate because of his PED history (and rightfully so) but then again I think he’s just getting the hate because he’s A-Rod. Who’s talking about the PED history of Pettitte, Ortiz or others? Nobody.

    Is A-Rod a HoFer? Probably not because of his PED history. Should the Yanks put him into Monument Park and retire his number? Absolutely.

    • Nathan

      He has HOF numbers no doubt. It’s the PED issue that would keep him out.

      • Bavarian Yankee

        uhm … yeah, that’s what I said.

  • jjyank

    My legacy of A-Rod will always be of the 2009 postseason. I remember the dynasty years, but only vaguely, as they covered my age 8-12 years. But in 2009, I was 21, and was able to fully appreciate it.

    This is favorite memory of A-Rod, and what I’ll always think of when I think of his career:

    During the 2009 ALCS, my cousin got married. So we all flew down to North Carolina to attend. Myself, my dad, brother, grandmother, my cousin’s new husband, and 5-6 more of my cousins are all huge Yankee fans. The reception was held at a real nice inn/B&B sort of place, and we all had hotel rooms upstairs. During the reception, all of us kept sneaking upstairs to watch as much of the game as possible. Given that the game went 13 innings, I was watching the game alone in my hotel room with my brother while my parents were sleeping and the reception was long over. When A-Rod hit that home run off Fuentes to tie the game in the bottom of the 11th, I resisted the urge to scream, lest I wake up the entire hotel. Half because of that, and half because I was drunk like a skunk, I instead leapt in the air and made various victory moves on the floor until I got rug burns on my knees.

    That moment is how I will remember A-Rod’s legacy.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Me too. Flags fly forever, especially when they meant something special to you.

  • Nathan

    How I’ll remember A-Rod’s time with the Yankees is really a mixed bag. Supremely talented, constantly troubled and ultimately an enigma. My random memories of his time, in no order:

    1) His insane 2009 post season
    2) The contract fiasco
    3) Joe Torre batting him way down in the order in the playoffs
    4) The public scrutiny with Jeter not backing him up (early on)
    5) The 1st base glove slap

    Was his time successful as a Yankee? He was a big part of the team that won in ’09, won two MVPs and had some monster years in pinstripes of course his time wasn’t without drama and tribulations. His contract right now is just a huge albatross especially considering how little production they are getting/likely to get if he ever plays again.

  • Mike

    Anyone have valid proof of PED use? Like maybe a FAILED test as the CBA requires? As for Cashman, the guy was excited about being a step closer to doing what he is paid to do. Maybe Cashman should STFU and worry about finding a power bat somewhere.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Yeah this.

    • jjyank

      Yeah. I mean, I’m sure he did it the first time, since he admitted as much. But this round? Please. I was a poli-sci major baby, I’m all about innocent until proven guilty.

      He may be guilty. But I haven’t seen jack shit that counts as proof yet.

      • LK

        The one thing I find incredible is that people think A. that these hand-written notes should be enough to suspend players and B. that then the Yankees should be able to void his contract because of it.

        Seriously, if that were the case, what do you want to bet some sleazy dude scribbles “Albert Pujols” and “Josh Hamilton” down and ends up with a cool million from Arte Moreno in a bank account in the Cayman Islands?

        • vicki

          it would be an extremely dangerous precedent. mlbpa will fight tooth and nail.

  • Coolerking101

    How can we talk about his legacy and leave out the part about him not hitting a lick during the 2012 playoffs…and then while benched, IN THE MIDDLE OF A PLAYOFF GAME, sending notes back and forth trying to pick up girls?.

    For me, that was the last straw.

    • LK

      “IN THE MIDDLE OF A PLAYOFF GAME, sending notes back and forth trying to pick up girls”

      I won’t say you have to excuse that, but I’ll also say I bet it happens WAY more often than you think.

      • Jim Is Bored

        If it were Nunez doing that we’d laugh at him and never think about it again.

        ARod is just a lightning…rod…for this stuff. Granted, it shows a pretty remarkable lack of self-awareness, but I’m not going to judge him for that, as I’m pretty sure most of us are the same way.

    • jjyank

      Eh. It’s not like he was at third base and walking off to talk to girls in between pitches. He was on the bench. Maybe he’s just a positive guy who doesn’t want to sit there and sulk. Maybe he enjoys himself, even when things aren’t going well.

      That whole thing was such an incredible non-story for me.

      • Jim Is Bored

        “That whole thing was such an incredible non-story for me.”

        I say that for probably 90% of what passes for “Stories” in the MSM.

    • WhittakerWalt

      If it was literally any other player you’d probably be fine with it.
      Look at how much we all laugh and joke about Jeter’s gift baskets. If it was ARod doing it? GET HIM OFF MY TEAM!

      • Coolerking101

        Can’t disagree more. Had it been Tex, Cano, Jeter pulling a stunt like this…given the circumstances, the response would have been the same. Remember, ARod was 3 for 25 with 1 XB and 12K’s while the team rolled over and died. Stunts like this are “cute” and “colorful” only when guys are doing well and the teams is winning.

  • MannyGeee

    I will say this about TweetGate: I look at LoHud almost daily, and running down the right hand side is a Twitter feed of almost everyone associated with the club. And EVERY player who is injured posts their own “status reports” over Twitter. Joba, Rapada, Granderson, Tex, all those guys did this in 2012-3.

    matter of fact, Eduardo Nunez just announced on Twitter that he’s playing in a rehab game today.

    • trr

      why doesn’t he shut the fuck up!

      hey, ….that’s kinda fun!

  • steves

    I think Arod’s legacy can’t really be known until we all know the truth about the steroid era (i.e. were a majority of the players doing it or most of the great players of the era doing it, etc.). Also, will the future be full of uncontemplated (but accepted) genetic engineering and other scientific/nutrition advancement that will make steroid use pale in comparison and alter the way the steroid players are viewed?

  • Commenter from the Future

    This is so incredibly helpful to my research, Matthew! Ever since the Great Purge of Information, so much as to six boroughs has been lost to us all. I’ve failed to understand the origins of Alex Rodriguez Stadium, and this really helps to fill in the blanks.

    I still can’t understand the flaming centaur in centerfield that lights up after every home run. Also, what is this “YMCA” thing the muscular blonde groundswomen do after the fifth inning? Why is the beer so bad here, yet so yummy at Ike Davis Park?

    Must do more research, but thank you, Matthew.

    • jjyank

      This is awesome.

  • Kiko Jones

    Cashman’s outburst was classless and unprofessional and likely Steinbrenner-approved.

    Regarding his Yankee legacy, as they say, “flags fly forever” and A-Rod was a big reason for the ’09 banner.

  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    Doc recommends surgery for Tex. See ya in 2014!

  • edb

    Great post. However, as awesome as his accomplishments were it doesn’t excuse his general behavior and cheating. I really felt like SF fans were wrong for cheering Bonds for supposedly breaking Ruths records and I wouldnt cheer arod for the same reason. I feel bad for Yankee fans that can’t remember how great it was to cheer the players AND the laundry. 2009 will never come close to 96 or 98…maybe 2000.

    • jjyank

      Because A-Rod tainted 2009? Even though there is no proof that he was on PEDs?

      I’ll need a better reason than that.

      • WhittakerWalt

        I HATE AROD BECAUSE REASONS

      • edb

        I apologize for not being more clear. My point about the 2009 team was somewhat separate from my hate rod rant. I don’t think I as a Yankee fan have to automatically give him a pass based on the same defense Barry bonds fans used. I never failed a test I never took either. Too many Yankee fans throw senseless defenses up such as those to defend him. I do agree he has done amazing things in pinstripes but in terms of us as Yankee fans blindly assuming he is innocent…I can’t get behind that when he keeps getting caught (and us caught) in his own hype and lies. 2009 was great I sat on top of the batters eye for ajs game 2. Maybe its mainly aj and arod I disliked but for me that’s enough to put 96 on a pedestal for me.

    • WhittakerWalt

      Please define “his general behavior” for me. I suspect it’s something like “I just don’t like his stupid lips.”

      • edb

        Again apologies for being vague. Every athlete is probably a prima Donna in some sense but arod takes it to another level as evidenced by the highly polarized opinions surrounding him. While the teams of the 90s embodied team first attitude, arod APPEARS to be more interested in his own agendas. They were the perfect contrast to those star studded Seattle and Texas teams that never won. After 2000 priority went to talent ceiling over desire to excel in pinstripes. The 90s teams had mercenaries but most of them were of the Nick swisher “guy everybody thought was washed up mold.”. I grew up when the biggest stars in ny were Mattingly Ewing and messier. Arod as new yields brightest star is just disturbing to me.

    • Jim Is Bored

      We’re all so sure that Brosius, Oneill, Tino, Mariano Duncan, Graeme Lloyd, Tim Wetteland, Cecil Fielder, Jorge Posada, Shane Spencer, Ricky Ledee, Jim Leyritz, Bernie, et. al were all clean?

      Glad we have proof. Because they failed the same amount of tests that ARod did. And there ain’t any records of this stuff before MLB started caring.

      • WhittakerWalt

        If Cecil Fielder was on steroids then everything I know about them is wrong.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Or he had a yummy double roidburger with cheese every meal.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        He bathed them himself.

    • LK

      You know Pettitte has admitted to using PEDs, yes?

      • edb

        Well when u catch Andy Pettitte playing high stakes strip poker in Canada while talking smack about Jeter….well u get the point.

    • steve (different one)

      I agree.

      Nothing better than Andy Pettitte’s performance in game 5 of the 1996 WS. Oh wait, he took PEDs too.

      Now what?

  • Eddard

    Will Alex get his jersey retired by the Yanks like Jorgie, Mo, Andy and Jeter will? No.

    Will Alex get a monument in monument park like Jeter and Mariano? No.

    Will Alex be invited back for old timer’s day? Probably not.

    If he wants to be one of the all time Yankee greats like the Core 4 then he’ll need to be an integral part of another ring or two before he retires. I think all of these guys like Bonds, Clemens, Alex should be Hall of Famers but the writers won’t do it.

    • edb

      Well put.

  • steve (different one)

    New slogan from A-Rod’s PR firm:

    “Alex Rodriguez: not Aaron Hernandez”

  • mick taylor

    if arod took steroids, big deal. so did almost every nfl player many other baseball and basketball players and tiger woods. how about taking away the steelers 1970s championships since they were one of the first teams with rampant steroid use at a time most other teams were not. this gave the steelers a huge edge over say the jets. we are a drug addled society. if your kid acts up in school, they give him ritalin. more people in america are now addicted to legally prescribed painkillers than illegal drugs. so if a doctor says shoot up tex with cortisone, to artificially help the healing that is okay. but shoot him up with hgh, that is not okay. if a player took speed in the 1960s that was okay. if keith hernandez did coke in the 80s that was okay. arod is the whipping boy for all this. criticize him as a cheater, but in the context of what the patriots hernandez is charged with , he is not such a villian in my eyes. arod still had to be a great player to accomplish what he did

    • edb

      How does coke make you a better baseball player?

      • Dan

        How do you think Tim Raines stole so many bases!!

  • I’mVernonI’mVernon4U

    Welp, it looks like Tex needs surgery

    • WhittakerWalt

      You could knock me over with a feather.

    • trr

      Did they announce it (finally)?

  • Robinson Tilapia

    The Twitter thing is such a non-story is ridiculous. I’d rather my organization keep its dirty laundry private, but Brian Cashman’s been so good at that throughout the years that I’m willing to overlook his reaction. Besides, it was funny. I wish he would have gone more over the top with a “HE SAID WHAT?! SONOFABITCH, I’M GOING TO KICK HIM IN THE GIMP HIP!” on live radio.

    Legacy? The last part of it hasn’t been written yet. I hope it ends well. I like happy endings.

    #huhhuhhesaidhappyendingshuhhuh

    • Luis Castillo

      Idk if you are kidding, but if you’re not I disagree.

      What Cashman did wasn’t funny, it was stupid and uncalled for.

  • steve (different one)

    My take on “Twitter-gate”: the only logical explanation to me is that, because of the Biogenesis stuff, the Yankees had already instructed ARod to say NOTHING, and he failed to do that.

    My guess, completely unsubstantiated total irresponsible rumormongering, is that Cashman and the Yankees have seen evidence from MLB that ARod is lying about the Bosch stuff and they have him nailed. Because he already lied once initially, they told him to STFU completely.

    I am an ARod fan, I have argued for him for about 5 years on this site. But looking at the clues, this is the explanation that most makes sense to me. We will wait and see.

    • LK

      Thing is though, even if you’re right, how does dropping an F-bomb in an interview improve the situation? I don’t think there’s any set of circumstances that makes Cashman saying that a good idea. It’s not a big deal, but it was also really stupid.

      • steve (different one)

        agreed, the profanity was stupid and unnecessary.

        but he didn’t blow his top ONLY because of this tweet. that just doesn’t make sense.

        only thing that makes sense to me is that there is more to the story than we know.

  • ruralbob

    I think Cashman was telling the media and the Twitterverse to shut the f- up.

  • bpelia

    I don’t care about the personality or foibles of the artists,.writers, musicians I love. I love the art, I don’t know the artist. Arod was a transcendent talent who knows and loves the game, ran out every God darn grounder, played smart and was basically the best player many of us have ever or will ever see (all, around, field, run, baseball IQ, power, average, patience.. Defense, switched positions. We were lucky to see his best and regardless of his legacy according to hypocrites or idiots we won’t see his equal again any time soon

  • Matthew Provenzano

    In regards to A-Rod’s postseason performance–I think that is just New York fans being whiners. People expected him to be the guy who would hit a 5-run home run each time at the plate, something induced mainly by the expectations created by his contract. And a lot of that whining also comes down to people not understanding that the postseason is a toss up that has no concern for previous numbers/tendencies. It is the absolute epitome of “small sample size”. And just for the record, A-Rod has a lifetime postseason line of 119 wRC+, almost identical to Jeter’s 121 wRC+.