Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Posted by el duque at 7:48 AM
Unless the Yankees release him - definitely a possibility - A-Rod will bypass the beloved Willie Mays on the all-time home run list sometime in May. He only needs six. At that point, the Yankees and A-Rod (with help from the heretofore toothless Players Union) will go to war over whether the Yankees must pay the bonuses they laid out in his contract extension.
Some burning A-Bomb questions:
1. If the legal questions remain unanswered - and if Alex is hitting poorly - would the Yankees front office order Joe Girardi to bench the guy, denying him the milestone? Last season, the team ditched Brian Roberts on the eve of his reaching a contractual bonus for at-bats. If the team is rancid, or if A-Rod is hitting .200 - (even worse than his DH replacement, Chris Young) - anything could happen. They might pull the plug and save some nickels.
2. Will the Yankees order John Sterling to tone down his HR calls for "Alexander the Great?" Clearly, John is a company man - never misses a game, never misses an in-game promo - he definitely reads the memos. But could Sterling tone down his call of an A-Bomb? What if A-Rod's milestone is a walkoff grand slam? Could John not go batshit crazy? This is like a mother bear forced to choose which of her cubs will survive. Humankind has never seen such a psychological test.
3. Will ESPN break in nationwide for his at-bats? Will the Yankees be the regular Fox Game of the Week? It's hard to imagine the country breathlessly awaiting A-Rod's moment. But there will be enormous curiousity over this. (I'm already curious, see?) Will A-Rod be cheered or booed? If he hits it in Boston, we know the reaction. What if it's in NYC? Or Miami? Or Seattle? Or San Francisco?
4. What dignitaries will be present? Theoretically, Willie should be there. The Commissioner of Baseball - Manfred Mann, I think the name is - should be in first base box, with New York Mayor Al Sharpton, and Governor Sheldon Silver. Somebody from the San Francisco/New York Giants - Tom "Coach for Life" Coughlin maybe - should be on hand.
As for the home plate greeting party? The Captain, Derek Jeter, must be there. Maybe Mariano, too. Nobody would boo them. Jason Varitek, mask still on, can be wanting to tussle. Bronson Arroyo will slap him on the back. That Toronto Blue Jay infielder - the one who dropped the popup - will yell "Ha!" Curt Schilling can give us a lecture on ethics. Pedro Martinez can bean him. The holy trio - Madonna, Kate Hudson and Cameron Diaz - can push popcorn in his mouth. Hideki Matsui will present freshly commissioned porn, and Alex will be led to the opposing dugout, where he can pee on the floor. Steiner Collectibles will sell urine droplets for $49.95.
Of course, Hal Steinbrenner will be circling the frozen globe in his Snowpiercer train, refusing to answer calls. Dammit: That bonus money could be spent on clam dip! And Brian Cashman, if he's not rappeling down a wall - trying to save his soul for a charity - will try to undercut the media event by signing a new Yankee dream player off the scrap heap - maybe Domingo Jean will make a comeback!
For two years now, the Yankees have marketed farewell tours. When you consider all the mid-season acquisitons, the mediocrity of their opening day lineups is truly staggering. And this year, nobody needs to look beyond the starting rotation to see where all of this is going. Nevertheless, the Yankees will have one last great marketing ploy: What to do about A-Rod? Every day will be Media Day. And God help us all if he does have crabs.