From engaging in philosophical discussions with die-hard Yankees fans to reading blogs of Yankees beat writers and keeping up with local media, I’ve noticed that a healthy sample of long-time Yankees supporters are completely turning their backs on Alex Rodriguez and his latest headliner.
They’re sick of the mind games and they’re sick of the lies. They’re sick of the attitude and they’re sick of the false-hope. They’re sick of the whole act.
They have become spectators of The Big Apple Circus indeed, and the ring leader wearing the No. 13 jersey is losing his audience.
To those identifying with the above population, I reply: Fair enough.
(I will neither confirm nor deny my inclusion or exclusion from “they,” for this is meant to be an unbiased piece…)
Well, the “Anti A-Rodists” can hum and haw all they want, and although their feelings are certainly justifiable, it’s time to gain some perspective. Should fans be mad? Absolutely. But this is bigger than Alex Rodriguez, and that needs to be clear.
Most importantly, it must be understood that Alex was not alone—he’s just the latest witch to be caught in the hunt.
That being said, here are my Top Five Reasons Yankees fans should still root for A-Rod.
5) He’s not going anywhere, so save yourself the stress.
Hey, remember that 10-year deal he signed in 2007? Yeah, well, it didn’t include any escape clauses for the Yankees to rely on in case “PED-Admission” came up. So, barring retirement or an improbable trade, A-Rod’s here for nine more years. Learn to love the frosted hairdo if you haven’t already!
4) He’s good. Very good.
‘Roids or no ‘roids, Alex is a gifted athlete – maybe the most gifted in the game. Baseball requires much more than sheer power and strength, however, and A-Rod has possessed 5-Tool ability his whole career. Even if he used prior to 2000, which is certainly plausible, he’s been tested numerous times since 2004 without yielding a positive result. A player with two “clean” MVP seasons since 2004 should be welcomed by fans of any team. Plus, those 500 ft. homers are nice to watch.
3) He really, really, really wants to win a World Series.
- One thing we like in New York is a winning attitude, and A-Rod does not lack one of those. The only thing missing in A-Rod’s trophy room is that World Series trophy. We’ve all seen Alex upset with himself on the field after a strikeout or pop out in the clutch, so it’s clear he is motivated to win. Can’t knock him for that. (But he damn-well better start delivering after September.)
2) He came clean and had no one to blame but himself.
- Yes, he lied to Katie Couric, but what did you expect him to do? Admit a fallacy like that on 60 Minutes? It’s definitely not cool that he lied, but I’ll drink the Kool-Aid when he said to Peter Gammons that he was not being truthful with himself during the Couric interview. Fine. It’s evident Alex has always had personality and self-image issues. But now he’s openly discussing his actions and reasons for them. The Gammons interview is not the end, but he’s currently one of the few players who have been this honest and open to date. Some credit is due here.
1) He dons the Pinstripes.
- True fans root for the uniform, not the players who wear them. Unless the Yankees start pulling “Ron Artests” or become linked to Al-Qaeda, a real fan should stay true to the colors. This is not the Yankees fault, and the Yankees represent much more than a roster. They represent not only history of the game, but personal history to many of their fans. Hey, if the Yanks find themselves in a clutch situation and you-know-who steps up to the plate, just close your eyes and pretend its Jeter if it helps.
He’s on the team, he’s part of the Yankees family, and the Yankees want to win.
Fans want the Yankees to win.
Yankees fans will undoubtedly waste more energy holding a grudge than putting the past behind.
Playing in the same division as Boston and Tampa Bay, who conveniently played in the American League Championship Series in 2008, will command enough fan energy and stress in 2009.
Wouldn’t it be a better idea to root for your life-long team, the Yankees, to win the division than to spend time judging one man on the roster?