Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Posted by el duque at 6:43 AM
When you came home last year, after running off like Mila Kunis' stalker to chase the last thin dime on a stack of cash the size of Nebraska, NBC's Jimmy Fallon spoofed the anger directed toward you by jilted New Yorkers. Folks on the street were encouraged to boo you for being such a greedy sack of disloyalty. But when you popped out of the box, they immediately shook your hand, and everyone bonded over Huey Lewis' assessment about the "Power of Love."
Well, almost everybody.
Some of us can never forgive. We can understand your philosophy: Grub for every last nickel, because that's what matters. But in that rarefied realm of hundreds of millions of dollars, we'd like to think something else matters beyond heaping a few more curds onto the shit pile. I don't think it's right for fans to boo a guy simply for getting old. (Though it's fair to ridicule ownership for consistently signing oldsters.) If a guy plays hard and smart, it still means something, even if the results aren't pleasant to watch. (The Derek Jeter Rule, you could call it.) On both levels, I'm glad you're in Seattle.
Last night was a game I'll cherish all summer. You went 0 for 4, with two strikeouts and a clutch double-play ground out. You are now batting .244 - two points above Carlos Beltran, the Yankee whipping mule of the spring. You have two home runs; that's two less than Stephen Drew, the Yankee whipping mule of the year. You're doing this while second in the Mariners lineup, in front of triple crown candidate Nelson Cruz, (who is not going to hit .333 all season.) The Mariners are three games below .500 - 7-and-a-half off the pace in the AL West. Best of all, they have you for nine more years. Surely, fans are already silently doing the math on what it would take to ship you out for a bullpen.
I still can't believe you turned your back on the chance to be a lifetime Yankee icon... all because Seattle heaped one more meaningless year onto a contract. When selling your soul to Mephistopheles, does another year even matter?
This summer, when you return, maybe Fallon can do another street performance. Instead of encouraging fans to boo, they can say from the start how sorry they are about how things turned out. They can explain how you were once a part of Yankee history, and how loyalty would be met with loyalty, and they can wish you well. It's going to be a long slog. Only nine more years to go, doncha know?