Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Alex Rodriguez may never be a true Yankee dandy
As a fan of Major League Baseball in general - I still care about A-Rod the player and would pay to watch him because the drama never ends with the guy.
After he finally decided on surgery on his ailing hip and was out out six to nine weeks - he came back in May and is having a wonderful June with a .153 batting average, a .315 on-base percentage and a .288 slugging percentage in 18 games.
It seems like after years of being a rock, it has gone downhill fast and he is facing baseball mortality for the first time - he is 34 years old and may literally need to find a new way to juice up his career.
So, through his rough season so far, can A-Rod ever be considered a true Yankee [?] - what does his season of discontent do for his legacy in New York and as a national star?
Yankees' fans pick and choose who they annoint as true Yankees - there is no real talk of Jason Giambi and Mike Mussina not being able to win a championship in their time in New York, but then it irks people when a 'carpetbagger' like A-Rod has come in, but hasn't been part of any championship run.
I doubt A-Rod or A-Fraud will ever be considered a true Yankee, unless he wins at least one, two or three championships in a way where he puts the franchise on his back - leading the way from Game 1 of the regular season to the World Series championship clinching game.
On the other hand, players in pinstripes who don't win championships can be true Yankees - if their name is Don Mattingly for example. There is a sentiment that if you don't win, you fell short. Still, even without a championship, people wonder if a particular player was the face of the franchise during his time as a Yankee. Did he grow up in the organization? Did he put up the numbers? Did he go about things the right way on the field?
It is an arbitrary label to be considered a 'true Yankee' and the label doesn't matter for rank-and-file players who wore the Yankees uniform - was current Angel Bobby Abreu, a true Yankee? What about Jaret Wright or Carl Pavano? Jose Canseco, Ed Whitson or Cody Ransom?
No one really cares about Alvaro Espinoza - but it weighs in as far judging particular star players legacy in their time with the New York.
Guys who really had so-so playing careers [basically rank-and-file guys] - but did something like star in the pennant race and/or postseason can be accorded the label of being a 'true Yankee.'
Becoming a true Yankee doesn't mean you have to start your career in the Yankees' organization - otherwise Roger Maris, Reggie Jackson, Paul O'Neill, Goose Gossage, Roger Maris, David Cone and countless others are excluded from the discussion almost immediately.
On the other hand, with all things considered, strong consideration is given to a player developed in the Yankees' system and became franchise/national legends/icons - like Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Derek Jeter, et al.
World Series championships won are obviously the most important aspect to consider - how many rings did a particular star player earn during their time with the franchise?
Will C.C. Sabathia be a true Yankee [?] - time will tell.
Will A.J. Burnett be a true Yankee [?] - time will tell.
Will Mark Teixeira be a true Yankee [?] - time will tell.
Is A-Rod a true Yankee [?] - no way in hell.