Yankees Editorial: Has Alex Rodriguez made the Yankees look small?


With Alex Rodriguez hitting his 661st career home run, passing Willie Mays to move into fourth place on the all-time list, the New York Yankees continue to refuse to pay their #3 hitter a previously agreed upon $6 million bonus for his 660th home run.

Rodriguez’s 660th home run came at Fenway Park, so there was no way to gauge the marketability of the home run, as fans were likely to boo A-Rod even without the suspension.  His 661st was far different though, coming in front of the home fans.  Even Rodriguez himself couldn’t have expected the response from the Yankee Stadium crowd, stating:

"All of this is pretty crazy.  A year ago today, I never thought that I would ever get a curtain call or be hitting in the middle of the lineup for the New York Yankees, helping our team."

Rodriguez also added:

"I certainly thought the days of curtain calls for me were long gone."

While Rodriguez is correct in that even his greatest supporters couldn’t have predicted Yankees fans rallying around the troubled slugger, he also has worked hard to repair his image, mainly by avoiding the conflict that has seemed to follow him around for his entire career.

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Rodriguez added that he was “embarrassed”, calling the moment awkward, as he did not want to interrupt the flow of the game, showing just how humbled he has become by his suspension.  While the Yankees DH has avoided controversy by refusing to even comment on his pending arbitration case, the team has not shown support for Rodriguez, who has one of their best players, and thus fans now have more sympathy for Rodriguez.

In the one sport where numbers and stats mean everything, Rodriguez now stands alone as having hit the fourth most home runs.  Although the Yankees feel that steroids have tarnished the marketability, fans showed that this simply isn’t the case, by showing their allegiance to Rodriguez and demanding a curtain call.

The number 660 alone is marketable, and the Yankees knew that when they signed the separate marketing contract.  As Rodriguez continues to gain fans acceptance by allowing his bat to do his talking, the Yankees are making it easier for him by publicly refusing to pay his bonus.

While the outcome likely will not be decided until after the season, Rodriguez has seemed to become a figure that fans feel sympathetic for, rather than the villain he was entering Spring Training.

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