Alex Rodriguez's first pitch, 3-run homer last night was my favorite moment of the season so far. And it reminded me what a show he can put on - this time, in a good way.
Obviously, A-Rod is one of baseball's most-talked about personalities. Of course, saying that is like opining that water is wet. But what's unique about A-Rod is that his detractors go so far, they make you feel sorry for somebody who makes more in one game than most of us will in a year.
A-Rod compared the way he's feeling now with what he did in his 2007 MVP season, and it's with good reason. In 2006, he was so unfairly treated with the relentless booing, and his manager infamously batting him eighth, that many fans thought it was overkill. I think A-Rod had a "I'll show them" chip on his shoulder for the entire nextseason, which worked to great advantage.
But right after the 2007 season ended, when his reputation was at an all-time high, he really managed to tick off fans time after time. Between opting out, deciding that Madonna was his soulmate, going through the motions during last season, leaving the All-Star game early, and kissing himself in the mirror, he just wasn't very likeable.
It's funny how this season seems to have improved his rep so far, even though it started with so many negative things about him. First Joe Torre's book revealed that players called him A-Fraud, then Selena Roberts proved that he used steroids, then it was announced that Alex had A-Hip problem. Some NYC tabloid columnists even thought the Yanks should release him.
But a funny thing happened on the way to burning him at the stake - his detractors went too far. As inept as his confession was, he still admitted to more than anybody else caught in baseball ever has. And there's only so much you can pummel a guy - even somebody who is such an easy target as Rodriguez - before fans start to feel sorry for him.
Maybe it was hearing that Yankee teammates revealed to Selena Roberts that they called him B*tch T*ts. Or perhaps it was him being exorciated for tipping "only" 15% at Hooters. Or maybe it was the fact that contrary to Joe Torre's book, where another anonymous teammate said that losing A-Rod wouldn't really hurt the team, the Yanks have been struggling this season. But whatever the reason, the fans were thrilled to see A-Rod back.
Anyhow, Alex's return provided a huge lift for this team. And CC Sabathia, caught by rookie Francisco Cervelli, also excelled last night. Finally, CC pitched like the ace the Yanks were expecting him to. Loved seeing him roar at the end. And the young catcher also had an impressive game. Good times!
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