Kevin Stewart wrote a very nice article about why Yankees fans should root for Alex Rodriguez to do well this year. Essentially, it is that all true Yankee fans want our team to succeed and we need A-Rod to do well for that to happen.
I commented on that piece but I wanted to expand on that comment and explain what this old Yankee fan needs to make it easier to root for A-Rod day in and day out.
None of this has anything to do with steroids. As I have said in other places, no one has yet convinced me that steroids have anything to do with performance.
No, this is something different entirely and it was captured in the interview Alex did with Peter Gammons on Monday.
In that interview, A-Rod was perfectly groomed, hair just right, white shirt and blue sweater.
He was in his home with a floral arrangement and a grand piano on display.
He had been well coached to say all the right things, to never mention the word "steroids." He knew to always talk about banned substances, even though he didn't know what they were that he had taken.
He had all the right forehead wrinkles and grimaces and mouth puckers to let everyone know how much he hated having made this terrible mistake.
I am not sure whether GNC paid a sponsor fee for the interview but it would have been appropriate as many times as the slugger mentioned the nutrition store where he hinted he might have gotten the "banned substance."
He was just trying to be too perfect. And that is why this Yankee fan has always had a hard time cheering for him day in and day out.
He has always tried to be just too perfect, with his uniform just right, his pants' legs coming exactly 3.5 inches below his knee and exactly the same amount of midnight blue stirrup showing on each leg.
His shirt tail must always be tucked and his belt buckle exactly in the middle of his pants. He appears as though he has put on a new hat every inning.
What this fan would like to see is a little more real, human emotion. A little more fire in the gut, a little more grit in the jaw, a little less effort at being perfect.
What this fan would like to see is a little more David Wells who didn't care that everyone knew how long he stretched and how many sprints he had run, who didn't care that his uniform never seemed to fit and only cared about helping the Yankees win when he took the mound.
What I would like to see is a little more Paulie O'Neill when an ump calls the third strike on him.
What I would like to see is a little more Lou Piniella who may not have ever had a conscious thought about how emotional he was, but certainly never repressed his honest emotions on the field or on the bench.
What this fan would like to see is a little more Jeter who has never worried if he might have a little mud or a little blood on his uniform.
What this fan would like to see is a little more Mickey Mantle who knew that after a strike out with the bases loaded the water cooler was the hitter's point of release.
What I would like to see is this great player show that he is human, that he can hurt when he lets the team down.
What I would like to see from this superb athlete is an understanding that not every word out of his mouth has to be perfect and for public distribution.
What I would like to see is an athlete who not only trains as hard as he can to make himself better but shows that he feels it just as hard when he is not as good.
I will root for Rodriguez because I have been a Yankee fan all my life and want my team to succeed.
But it sure would be easier and more fun to root for a human being instead of a robot with no emotion or emotion he finds somewhere in a script.