Happy anniversary, A-Rod!
Today, February 15, marks the sixth anniversary of the Yankees acquiring Alex Rodriguez.
For some, it was a move that was mind-boggling: how could the Yanks acquire another shortstop when they have Jeet? Of course that argument turned moot as he agreed to switch to third base. For others, it was a brilliant move: the Yanks just picked up the best player in the game. But for a select few, it was an abomination: what about team chemistry? Jeter and A-Rod haven’t been close ever since the latter slammed the former in an Esquire article in 2001. No chance this turns out well.
However, for me, it was a completely different train of thought altogether. At first, I was all for it. Why not? But then, about eight months later, during one of the worst ALCS of my life, my stance changed. I thought to myself, “Damn, Boston really did reverse the curse. Fuck me.”
My thinking at that time was this: In 1918, the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth (arguably the best player in the game) to the Yankees and went on a tremendous losing streak, seemingly forever, that some say was The Curse Of The Bambino. Then, in 2004, the Yankees acquired A-Rod (arguably the best player in the game) and Boston won the World Series in incredible fashion (no need to go into details). I thought that by the Yanks acquiring A-Rod they had brought a curse upon themselves: The Curse Of The Purple Lips. I couldn’t believe it. I really thought it was the Yankees’ turn to go on an 86-year, stomach-churning, groin-kicking, agida-inducing losing streak. And I believed it was the 252-million-dollar-man’s fault.
I also feared that the Sox had become the new Yankees: averaging a World Series every four years (which, unfortunately, they have been doing), getting millions of bandwagon fans, producing pink and other bizarre-colored merch, and having the most hated fans in baseball. Again, I believed it was the 252-million-dollar-man’s fault, due to his postseason struggles. I hated that rat bastard with all my heart; how could he do this to the team I loved so much?
As the seasons went by, it seemed Big Al was just collecting an enormous paycheck before shitting the bed in October. How could one of the most prolific hitters (and highest paid player) in the game not come through in the clutch, get dropped to the eighth spot in the lineup during the postseason, and be a phony while most (if not all) of his teammates despised him? Sure, he could hit during the regular season, but not when it mattered. It hurt, and I wanted heads to roll. I absolutely abhorred Alex Rodriguez’ presence in pinstripes; I’ve never booed another Yankee harder in my life (keep in mind I was at three of Carl Pavano’s starts). My hatred grew even more intense after he opted out of his record-breaking contract in 2007. “Let that piece of shit go, the Yanks don’t need him. They haven’t won anything with him. He’s bad news,” I said to anyone who would listen.
The straw that broke the camel’s back came just prior to the 2009 season when A-Rod became A-Roid. Were his numbers tainted? Was he not coming through in the playoffs because of a lack of “juice”? Was he just not mentally tough enough to play in the Bronx? I wanted answers!
Fast forward to the present day, where I’ve never been more happy to become a hypocrite in my life. What a great trade that was.