|Photo courtesy of cbssports.com|
Now Alex is just five away from his 3000th hit. I had originally thought last week that he would hit it this Wednesday, but I didn't factor in that the Yankees would be playing in Miami, a National League city, on Monday and Tuesday, and that A-Rod would not start both days. Given that, I think it is more likely that he will reach the milestone Friday night, or maybe even Saturday, which is Old Timers' Day!
At any rate, since the Yankees start an eight-game homestand on Wednesday, the important thing is that Alex is extremely likely, short of the slump from hell, to hit #3000 at home. How perfectly delicious! How much are the Yankees going to hate to have to commemorate that, even if there is no milestone money involved!?
Speaking of which, remember how the New York Daily News, house organ for the Yankee brass, insisted for months that the Yankees would win this milestone money battle, and how the contract's language said that the Yanks didn't have to pay anything? Well, whaddaya know? Now these same Yankee brass, through Daily News columnist Bill Madden, their house stenographer, have leaked the news that the Yanks want to settle this contract dispute with A-Rod by paying the money to charity. The 45-day milestone A-Rod has to file a grievance on this is today, although word on the street is that this deadline can be pushed back. Here's what Madden writes:
While the Yankees remain confident in their position that A-Rod’s admission to using steroids and his subsequent year-long suspension from baseball has made him and his accomplishments unmarketable, they suggested to the MLB Players Association months ago that the dispute possibly could be settled by the Yankees making a donation — less than the $6 million — to a charity of Rodriguez’s choice.Wait, what? Why would the Yankees need to do this, if the contract was in their favor? Instead of addressing that subject, Madden answers that question this way:
It is believed the only reason the Yankees made any suggestion to settle with a charity donation was because of the enormous cost of litigating the case — which would entail bringing in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the testimony A-Rod gave them in the Biogenesis case, along with the many witnesses in that case.This is just ridiculous. When are Madden (and the Yankees) going to admit that Alex is the team's most popular player now? And how would revealing confidential testimony make the argument that A-Rod is not marketable? That is a strange argument, and is really more Yankee bluster, meant to make the team look like they have a case here, when they don't.
Regardless, if it’s war he wants with them again, the Yankees are said to be confident they will win it and prepared to spend whatever it takes to make their case.
Madden brings up that ticket sales and ratings are down. But how much further would they be down if it weren't for Alex?
It seems to me that A-Rod's team could do things like tracking t-shirt sales, All-Star votes, players' popularity on social media and message boards, and media ink to show that he is indeed popular -- and marketable. They could even have t-shirt creator Bald Vinny as a witness to talk about how many pro-Alex shirts he sells!
Speaking of which, I talk in a recent Sully Baseball podcast about how the A-Rod haters have mostly gone away this year. (We both agree that Derek Jeter no longer being on the team has something to do with it!)
For his part, A-Rod is refusing to fight this in public, saying:
"I'm not going into that now," he said. "All that stuff is family business and will be handled privately."He also said, regarding the subject of the milestone money going to charity:
"If you guys are interested in my charities, I'll be at the Boys & Girls Club on Tuesday," he said. "That's a great organization and we welcome all you guys to come out."I of course hope A-Rod wins his milestone case. Get your popcorn ready!