Column: Step up your game A-Rod
Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013
Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013 00:08
Many New York fans, including myself, question why Alex Rodriguez still plays for the Yankees. Although he is known to be one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball, he is also one of the most hated players in the league. If you’ve ever turned to the back page of the New York Post during baseball season, especially in the past couple of weeks, there was most likely an enormous creative and funny headline poking fun at Rodriguez. Despite the jokes and ridicule, fans of baseball can all agree on one thing: hated or beloved, Alex Rodriguez was really freaking good player in his prime.
In 1996, Rodriguez earned the highest batting average, .358, of his career. He hit 36 home runs for the Seattle Mariners and tallied 123 RBIs that season alone. In 2005, Rodriguez played 162 games as a new player for the Yankees. He had 194 hits, with 48 home runs and 130 RBIs. Most Yankee fans loved this A-Rod because he was reliable and a consistent threat to pitchers. In 2007, Rodriguez signed a new 10-year $275 million deal to play for the Yankees, making him the highest paid MLB player for years to come.
However, in 2009, when the Bronx Bombers won the World Series over the Phillies, Rodriguez’s batting average was .286 and his performance throughout October was mediocre at best. He did not prove to be the astounding player everyone glorified him as. Now if you still don’t believe me, last October when the Detroit Tigers swept the Yankees in the ALCS, Rodriguez played horrendously.
His batting average was a pitiful .111 during the Tigers four-game dismantling of the Yankees. How could one of the best players in the league perform that badly in such a crucial point of the playoffs? A-Rod has progressively gone downhill over the years making not only the fans, but also the team question the greatness they once saw in him.
It is especially hard to see Rodriguez in a good light after the confirmation of his steroid use throughout his MLB career. Many question his greatness as a player altogether due to the performance enhancing drugs he took during his years in the league, but that’s a whole different story we can tackle another day.
What I want to know is will A-Rod prove himself to be among the best of the best or will he continue to choke under the pressure? Will he be an asset to the team when they need it the most? The Yankees are four-and-a-half games out of the Wild Card, some of their dominant players including Jeter, Teixeira and Gardner have been out with injuries for most of the season causing the team to struggle. However with Jeter, Gardner, and Rodriguez back in action there should be no excuses.
The Yankees’ Monday night game against the Blue Jays wasn’t even close to being the spectacular matchup we all hoped for upon Jeter’s return. The Jays defeated the Yankees 5-2, pushing the Yanks even further back in hopes of gaining the Wild Card spot. Although Rodriguez hit his 650th career home run against R.A. Dickey in the top of the fifth inning, his performance was lackluster at best. He struck out swinging in two of his four at-bats, and was hardly a threatening presence played a mere nineteen games this season, one would assume he would be eager to prove himself, but so far it has been more of the same.
So basically, I’m calling you out Alex Rodriguez. Step up or get out.