Monday, October 29, 2007

Goodbye, Alex…Hello, Joe

Early this afternoon, the Yankees announced that Joe Girardi had been chosen to succeed Joe Torre as manager. This is good news. Girardi is that anti-Torre. He’s a smart baseball man who won’t play favorites and allow funk to spread uncontrolled. The rumor is a formal announcement could come as early as Wednesday.

The real BIG news took place overnight and into the early morning hours. The fires hadn’t even been set and the windows barely broken in Boston last night when Alex Rodriguez announced via his mouthpiece and pimp, Scott Boras that he had chosen to opt out of his final contact year, effectively severing his ties with the New York Yankees, ending a tumultuous – occasionally caustic – three-year affair between Arod and the Yanks.

There’s no denying that Arod is a phenomenal player. That is one thing that can’t be argued. However, when he played with Texas – and before that, Seattle – you would always hear rumors about what a head case the guy was, how for all the good he brought to the table, there was always the bad; there was “the baggage”.

Who knew that no only were those rumors true – they were 100x worse than you could ever have imagined.

When Arod came to the Yankees, it was right after a deal to send him to Boston fell through. Remember that? Oh yeah, New York really pulled a fast one on Boston, didn’t they? They pulled Arod right out from under them! Nothing left to do now but sit back and count the rings. Well, since “stealing” Arod away from Boston, the Red Sox have two World Series titles while the Yankees have made three hasty first-round exits from the playoffs.

In lieu of championships, we were treated to the Alex Rodriguez Traveling Road Show and Flying Circus. Stupefying heights. Mystifying slumps. The Contract. The sports psychologist. The bad blood with Jeter. The carefully-rehearsed interviews. Photos from Toronto with a mystery blonde. The ‘HA!’ incident. The ‘don’t boo me’ pity party. The 500 HRs. The magnificent regular seasons…and most glaring of all, the mind-numbing, Winfield-like post-season failures that piled up like leaves in Autumn.

Arod’s stay in New York will be littered with the debris of “the baggage”. People will remember three things about Alex now that he’s gone: the fact that he could never live up to the money he was paid no matter how many heroics he put up (he never allowed himself to); his astonishing October disappearing acts; and the fact that when push came to shove, he just couldn’t hack it in New York.

Alex is represented by Scott Boras, as big a dirty pimp as there is in organized sports. He schools his clients in the fine art of selfishness and disloyalty; his only concern is big contracts to maintain his big percentage cuts and large lifestyle. The onus however is all on Arod. Boras also represented Bernie Williams. Bernie had no problem telling Boras to shut the fuck up when he wanted to stay with the Yankees. Arod is different – he is Mr. Sensitive, Boras’ Golden Goose. As such, he is kept on an obedient, short leash.

Arod’s departure allows the Yankees to take the 30-million per it would have cost them to keep him in Pinstripes and disburse it in a wiser, saner way – namely on bringing in some sorely-needed bullpen help and keeping their new, youthful core intact well into the 2010’s.

So long Alex. Thanks for that meaningless home run in Game 4 against the Indians.

Take your “baggage” and your pimp with you.

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Some good advice from the legendary Ray Stevens.