Joe Girardi Has 'Great' Talk with Alex Rodriguez

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Joe Girardi Has 'Great' Talk with Alex Rodriguez
Nick Laham/Getty Images

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi had a “great” phone conversation with slugger Alex Rodriguez last week, according to an anonymous source who spoke with ESPNNewYork.com.

According to the source, the call happened Friday. That was the same day CBSSports.com reported that Girardi placed a call to the public address announcer during a postseason game at Yankee Stadium. The call, according to the report, was to request Rodriguez not be named when Raul Ibanez was going to pinch-hit for A-Rod.

Instead, Ibanez went to the plate and was announced, but there was no mention of the player he was hitting for.

It’s nice for Girardi to be considerate of Rodriguez’s feelings, but it doesn’t do the embattled slugger any favors.

Fans of the Yankees and every other team in Major League Baseball have more than a half-billion reasons—the combined dollar amounts of A-Rod’s last two contracts—to hold him to a much different standard than they do any other player in baseball.

Ever since Rodriguez left the Seattle Mariners as a free agent after the 2000 season, he’s never been perceived the same way. Signing for a then-record $252 million will do that to a player. ESPNNewYork.com’s Wallace Matthews wrote last week about the standard Rodriguez is held to by fans. According to Matthews, A-Rod’s image began to change when former New York Mets general manager Steve Phillips talked about the demands being made by Rodriguez during the Mets’ courting of Rodriguez in the offseason of 2000-01.

Among those were private jets, big billboards and an office. When he eventually signed with the Texas Rangers, he got all of those perks.

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But Girardi didn’t do A-Rod any favors by making that call to the public address booth during the postseason. What, fans weren’t smart enough to realize on their own that Rodriguez wasn’t hitting?

Instead, it heaps more abuse on Rodriguez even though he had nothing to do with this incident.

For a dozen years, A-Rod has dealt with a perception—fair or not—that any club he plays for has a “24-plus-one” hierarchy. There is the way Rodriguez is treated and then there is the way the other 24 guys on the roster are managed.

It’s a positive development if, as the anonymous source said, Girardi and Rodriguez were able to have a productive conversation moving ahead to the 2013 season.

It’s unfortunate it had to come on the heels of another episode becoming public knowledge where Rodriguez was treated differently than anyone else in the Yankee dugout.

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