Saturday, August 13, 2016

"I can't say enough about these fans. I've given these fans a lot of headaches over the years. And I've disappointed a lot of people. But like I've always said, you don't have to be defined by your mistakes. How you come back matters, too. And that's what New York is all about."

Last night, after A-Rod had walked the infield one last time, scooped up dirt from third base and placed it in his back pocket, he gathered himself for a stadium-wide interview with Meredith Marakovits. His two daughters ran to hug him, the crowd roared, and - for my money - Alex Rodriguez then delievered the most heartfelt and bittersweet Yankee farewell speech since Lou Gehrig. 

In such moments, rarely does a retiring athlete acknowledge his mistakes, his failures, and in A-Rod's case, his vast misjudgments. (Mickey Mantle only did it on his deathbed.) I'd like to think even the most ardent A-Rod haters would feel a pang of sadness - maybe even forgiveness - for an old guy, preparing to leap from the cliff of overwhelming fame. But I know better. Some folks - like the sad toads who work for Rupert Murdoch - will take cheap shots from their graves. So be it. But I will miss A-Rod. For better or worse, he never failed to astonish us.

If it's true that he will be a special assignment coach next season - (I'm still skeptical) - the Yankees will have a great role model in their system. I find it hard to believe that any hot prospect in Tampa or Charleston will choose to ignore A-Rod's advice. He can still have a positive impact on this franchise. And I don't care what he's being paid. If it comes out of Hal's pocket, it's money nobody will ever miss.


But this morning, I cannot help but feel that a cloud has been lifted from the Yankees. They say it's always darkest before the dawn, right?

Well, today launches the Tyler Austin Era in New York, and who knows what it will bring? Of course, Austin could be the next Zolio Almonte or Andy Philips - (insert your favorite disappointment here) - and success at Scranton means nothing. Then again, who knows? He might be the guy that someday causes me to vault from the couch and run screaming through the house, (as A-Rod often did.) He might be the guy who helps bring the last Yankee championship I will ever know. 

For the first time in four years, we can await the arrival of a group of young Yankees whose best years are not behind them, and whose ceilings are not built of concrete. 

Today, let me say something that hasn't been said around here for a long time.

I feel hope for the Yankees. 

3 comments:

The Ghost of Yankees Past said...

While it cannot be said about his entire career, A-Rod has handled the past week and his release from the Yankees with class. He has the opportunity to be a valued member of the broader Yankee organization going forward. Watching the interactions between him and the young players on the Yankees you can see the respect they have for him . While I hope this new mature A-Rod is here to stay, there is a nagging doubt. Only time will provide the answer. I hope a new positive chapter in the A-Rod Chronicels awaits us.

Anonymous said...

DISGRACEFUL FRONT PAGE FOR THE POST.....

joe de pastry said...

Disgraceful front pages are the Post's trademark.