Alex Rodriguez: the Next New York Yankees Captain After Derek Jeter Retires?
I read this article on ESPN by Wallace Matthews this morning and I just had to laugh.
Yes, Alex Rodriguez will probably be a member of the New York Yankees for years after Derek Jeter retires (or god forbid, is on another team). However, there's no way Alex becomes the next Yankee Captain.
If you look through the history of the New York Yankees Captains, you'll see one thing that stands out about the players selected (for the most part); they played the game the way it was supposed to be played, their integrity was never in question and they basically epitomized the dignity and grace expected of a player for the New York Yankees.
It doesn't matter to me, that as Wallace Matthews pointed out in his article, that the one day Jeter was out of the lineup and not talking to the media, Rodriguez stepped up and acted the part providing advice to Eduardo Nunez or answering the media's questions. He was simply doing what any veteran would do.
It takes much more to be the Yankees Captain than just talking to the media or giving young players advice. It takes playing the game with a certain level of dignity, class and leadership. You would have never seen Thurman Munson or Lou Gehrig yelling "I got it" to an infielder on a pop-up. You would have never seen Willie Randolph try to slap the ball out of the glove of an opposing player. Don Mattingly would have never considered using steroids or other PEDs. They simply played the game the way you want every player to play with dignity, grace and honor.
Who deserves to be the next Yankees Captain?
Alex Rodriguez is one of the best players to ever play the game (if you ignore the use of steroids) but players like Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson and Lou Gehrig were Captains because of the way they played, in the way they led the team and in the way they led their lives.
There's a reason that in the 110 years or so of the Yankees existence, a Yankees Captain has been named 12 times (13 players total with Guidry and Randolph sharing the Captaincy). It takes a certain caliber of player in all facets of the game and life to be worthy of the esteemed title of Yankees Captain and no matter how good A-Rod is a with a bat or glove, he just doesn't fit the bill.
Is there a player currently on the Yankees that could replace Derek Jeter as Captain? Robinson Cano has a shot, even CC Sabathia does or there could be some young prospect that hasn't played for the Yankees yet that will be named Yankees Captain.
Remember, Don Mattingly retired after the 1995 season and Derek Jeter's first full season was in 1996, but he wasn't named Yankees Captain until 2003 so history has shown us that there's no rush to fill the position. I don't expect, and neither should any Yankees fans, that Alex Rodriguez will be named Captain after Derek Jeter is done.
Rich is a MLB and New York Yankees Featured Columnist on the Bleacher Report. Follow Rich on Facebook, Twitter or on his blog he co-writes with Matt Strobl, All the Bases. You can also email him any questions, comments or random thoughts.
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