Should we bestow onto Alex Rodriguez the title “Comeback Player of the Year?” As an optimistic Yankee fan my highest expectation for A-Rod’s contributions to the Yankees for the 2015 season was 15 home runs and 40 RBIs as a part-time DH. As of this writing A-Rod has 14 home runs with 40 RBIs and a BA of .283 in only 68 games. This is an amazing comeback because he was out of baseball for one year, had two hip surgeries, and is 39 years-old. In fact, according to baseball-reference.com, there are only three players who finished a season over 38-years old with a better OPS than A-Rod currently has. They are Babe Ruth in 1934, Ted Williams in 1958 and Barry Bonds in 2004. Still, there is over half a season remaining and the question is will A-Rod break down? Since Joe is using him almost solely as a DH, I believe A-Rod will continue to produce power numbers for the rest of the season.
Before spring training began this year there was a real feud between A-Rod and the Yankee organization. Some people predicted the Yankees would release A-Rod even though they would still have to pay him the $61 million left on his contract. There was also the idea that A-Rod, not needing the money, would retire and not embarrass himself. In spite of harsh words between the Yankees and A-Rod neither one of these two events happened. Now the most dysfunctional marriage in sports is in a holding phase. Still both sides seem destined for an off-season fight over the marketing agreement, pegged to A-Rod’s home run milestones. The Yankee fans and Yankee players have accepted A-Rod back into the Yankee family. So, I ask the question: Why can’t the Yankee organization do the same? In my opinion they are making a horrible mistake. The idea behind the marketing agreement was as A-Rod reached each of these home run milestones, the Yankees would be able to add more money to their coffers by selling many different things. They now argue because of his admitted steroid use the fans would not celebrate his achievements and there would be no marketing value attributed to these milestones. Boy are they wrong. It is known that baseball fans are quick to forgive a player’s sins if that player is successful on the playing field. The fans certainly have celebrated each of A-Rod’s achievements from his 2000 RBIs to his 3000 hits with standing ovations and curtain calls. It is sad that the Yankees have not so far planned any celebration events to honor A-Rod’s achievements. After all in the history of baseball A-Rod, Henry Aaron and Willie Mays are the only three players with 600 home runs and 3000 hits; A-Rod and Henry Aaron are the only two players with 600 home runs, 3000 hits and 2000 RBIs. Of the 29 players in the 3000 hit club, only A-Rod, Boggs and Jeter have their 3000 hit be a home run. But A-Rod went one step further when his 3001 hit was also a home run.
Outside of his on-field accomplishments A-Rod should be applauded for his work with children. In the Miami area where A-Rod grew up he works with the children of the Boys & Girls Club in Miami. “He usually shows up at the club unannounced,” said Miami-Dade’s club’s president. “He just shows up. This is home for him. This is where he spent a lot of time as a child.” Besides holding clinics for the club’s children, he has given the club significant financial support over the years.
Has every baseball fan forgiven A-Rod? Of course, the answer is no. The opposing team’s fan boo him as they always have and some Yankee fans have not forgiven him. Since the beginning of spring training Alex has said and done the right things. Yes, I have forgiven A-Rod and recognize that his baseball achievements make him one of the greatest baseball players in the history of baseball.
What you think of A-Rod? Please comment.