Remember back in 2005
when A-Rod led the league in slugging % and homers, had the best batting average of his career (.321!), was voted an All-Star and a Silver Slugger, and
won his second AL MVP award? Do you recall the cheers of "MVP! MVP!"
that rang throughout the world (or the stadium, either way) every time he stepped up to the plate?So do I.
But ever since his dismal performance in the regrettable (yet sadly unforgettable) 2004 ALCS against some horrible and likely terrorist (or at the very least criminal) team from New England
, the love and admiration folks were showering upon the poor boy has virtually dried up - and the support is not showing any signs of returning. Now, I'll readily admit that he has certainly not
been one to count on during dire straits, and that there have been times that his failure to come up with a big hit or a great catch has warranted some serious booing and perhaps even a profanity-laced slur or two
, but I have a hard time accepting that anyone
could discount his talent even amidst his unclutchiest of unclutchy moments
. Sadly, there appears to be fewer and fewer A-Rod supporters as each day goes by, and the hole he's dug himself into just keeps getting deeper - - it seems there is nothing he can do that could possibly turn the fans back around to his side at this point. Even with a sweet .321 batting average thus far in Spring Training and a very nice catch at 3rd yesterday, every bad swing and called strike ignites a rash of wrath
(say that 10 times fast) one would normally reserve for truly horrid specimens like G.W.
As we've previously discussed
, A-Rod's Boras-crafted dandy of a contract includes an opt-out clause
that allows the Rodster to declare free agency if he so desires after this season. There has been much speculation that he will indeed take advantage of that option and bust out of New York faster than McGwire out of a steroids hearing,
but he has maintained his "I'm sticking with the Yankees!" claim throughout the media madness...until a very strange and unexpected interview with WFAN this week during which he sang a slightly different tune. Surprisingly, A-Rod proclaimed that it would be the fans that would determine whether he stays or goes after this season
. As he put it, he wants to make sure he is wanted by "fans and management" if he's going to stick around, and he concedes that they very well may have "had enough" of him if he doesn't whip things into high gear ASAP. While not exactly a threat, he is essentially making us (and the team) aware that if we
don't shape up and start being nice, he'll be gone. He's clearly a sensitive soul and all the booing really does affect him; he has been tormented pretty much to his breaking point by now. No one likes to feel unwanted, whether you're a dorky 7th grader (me, obv) or the highest-paid man in sports, and if I were A-Rod I'd be taking my .305 lifetime average and 464 homers the heck outta dodge in search of more appreciative pastures.
In other words, let's consider A-Rod as good as gone, and I don't blame him. There's only so much torture a person will take - even Tina eventually left Ike