So last week the Yankees forced A-Rod to retire. The final chapter in the sorry saga that was A-Rod's time with the Yankees.
Yes, there was the Little League antics against us. Yes, the steroid scandal has tainted his career. I do want to point out that he did his time, the longest suspension from baseball of any mlb player. A suspension that had as much to do with the Yankees wanting to get out of paying a year off his ridiculous 10-year contract (it was the first one, IIRC).
Thanks Yankees. That's what made me start to think of him sympathetically.
I started to look around at all the vitriol being sent his way and saw that so much of it came from resentment of his contract. A contract that the Yankees were arrogant enough to sign. (You want to talk about the evils of passionate fan ownership? Hello. Boras wasn't getting what he wanted from the FO so he went over their head to the owner and negotiated directly.) I've seen over and over again the statement about how he has all the money in the world so people don't feel sorry for him.
Studies have shown that once a person gets past a monetary threshold that means they are no longer in survival mode, the amount of money one has has no relation to happiness and in fact, having a lot of money can be detrimental. I won't argue that A-Rod doesn't have a good life. He does, in part (and this is one of the things I admire about him) because he indulges his flights of whimsy. Get a picture painted of him as a centaur? Why not? We all have our fantasies about a larger-than-life representation of ourselves. He had the means to do it. Kissing himself in a mirror? That was poking some fun at his reputation during a photo shoot. Want to share how baseball was a part of your childhood? Write a book! Lots of people share their stories. He just happened to have the profile to make a book deal.
A lot of it seems to come from envy more than anything else. He's attractive and talented and enjoys himself. For a lot of people who don't share this experience, rather than look upon him to see things you might want to emulate in your own life, it's much easier to try to tear him down to your level. That's something that the NY press has made into a science. Trashing A-Rod sold papers, so that's what they did.
What about the epic failures in the playoffs? Well, he wasn't the first star to not have great post-seasons, and he won't be the last. One can't deny that he was a large part of why the Yankees got there so often in the first place. The players who make an impact in the post-season so often are guys who just happen to get hot for a week or just happen to be really good against the particular opposition team.
Pat Borders, anyone?
I think he suffered from playing with the sainted Derek Jeter, who was an asshole for not moving off of shortstop when A-Rod arrive, since he was the better player. (Team captain my ass.) And he suffered from being compared to the great Reggie Jackson as a force in the playoffs. Without those influences I think we'd see him more for who he really is - one of the most talented players of his era, a man who made some mistakes and bad choices, but truly loved the game. You could see from his press conference how much it's hurting him to be taken away from the field.
The truly sad thing is that most other players would be able to continue on for another year or so. He's still got some in the tank. But because he had the huge contract and he's on the wrong side of the youth movement in New York, he's being forced out. That's gotta hurt.
Oh, and for you guys who love that moment when all the assholes flashed the pictures of Madonna? Fuck you for celebrating using a woman to shame a man. She had absolutely nothing to do with his performance on the field and was used by the NY press to sell papers. Thanks for celebrating taking away a woman's agency. Again.
If anyone can point me to vid of the pre-game ceremonies at yesterday's game I'd really appreciate it. I saw the short clip Sportsnet has up but I want to soak in the whole thing.