Friday, October 12, 2012

Yankeetorial: It's going to take America less time to pull out of Afghanistan than it will take the Yankees to divorce Arod

I was a kid when Mickey Mantle ended his career. It hurt to watch him. They stuck him at first base. He looked like a man without a home. His career .300 batting average disappeared. The crowds cheered, but the Yankees fell into a downdraft, and nobody could help. It was cruel. Looking back, I cannot help but wonder if the experience added to the alcoholism that turned his liver into a rock and took the Commerce Comet before his time.

Remember Jorge last year? Remember how he couldn't crouch, how they brought up minor leaguers rather than let him catch, how embarrassed he was? He hit in the post-season - practically the only Yankee to do so - then one day announced he wasn't coming back, it was over, he'd tracked through to other side, where "What have you done lately?" is a running joke.

The last two nights gave us a glimpse of the hell that awaits Alex Rodriguez and perhaps all Yankee fans. He is a ghost. He is Arod's head on Cody Ransom's frame. He is Mariah Carey as a judge on American Idol, Newt Gingrich running for President, Yoko Ono giving a world peace prize to Lady Gaga. He is a bad joke in a Jay Leno monologue, and he better get used to them, because America loves a safe punch line, and who doesn't want to mock the richest man in sports as he marches back to the dugout, puckering his lips after another failure.

Let be confess something here that a few of you will sharply disagree with:

I've really come to like Alex. The other night - Raul's night - Alex proved to be a great teammate, a class act - and it surprised nobody. I've never seen him jog out a grounder or sulk in the dugout. He never fired back at Torre's book, never drew a line around his locker and told the writers not to cross it. He is a standup guy in the post-game feeding frenzy, there are tons of stories of him helping teammates, and he's smart enough to someday be an announcer or even manage. I'm glad he became a Yankee. I hope he goes into the Hall as a Yankee.

But we have him for five years - one more than we'd have Romney - and they will pass slowly. He is not going to break Barry Bonds' home run record. He is not going to win another MVP. Imagine Mickey Mantle playing five years at first base, and you get the picture.

There is no cheating on your spouse, just a little. There is no being sort of pregnant. You're either dead, or you're not. Arod isn't necessarily dead. But he is now officially the player who get benched with the game on the line. He's Mickey at first, Jorge without a glove. He's our Afghanistan, and no matter what happens tonight, it's time to ponder an exit strategy. For his sake, as much as ours.

1 comment:

Ross Crodum said...

There's a difference between Alex's failure and the other failures on the team and its not about the money and media bias. Alex was a great player, the others were not (even Cano). His decline is due to the effects of all the crap he took. You just don't totally lose everything when you reach 36. Mick could barely walk, but he could still swing a bat with a modicum of respect. So could Jorge.