In New York, it is all about winning and performing at a high level.
Just ask Alex Rodriguez.
After the Yankees’ series finale with the Rays on Sunday in St. Petersburg, the Bronx Bombers were only 6-6 and in third place in the American League East with 150 games remaining.
People might say the team still has not really gotten into the swing of the season, and they would not be wrong. However, that does not mean that there have not been any impressive performances among the Yanks yet.
I do not like to micro-analyze a short span of games in Major League Baseball, especially in April, but in Rodriguez’s case it must be done.
The thirty-nine-year-old, after being suspended for an entire season for his involvement with Biogenesis and performance enhancing drugs, was hitting a remarkable .316 through the first 12 games of the season.
Not only was he leading the team in average at this point, he was also first among the Yanks with four home runs and 11 RBI. His most impressive performance was his two home run, four RBI night on Saturday. Blasting a solo homer nearly across the bay to Tampa and a two run missile into the left field stands, Rodriguez then delivered what ended up being the game-winning base hit in the eighth inning.
“I didn’t know what to expect this year, to be honest with you,” Rodriguez told the YES Network’s Meredith Marakovits following Saturday night’s win. “I’m working really hard and just trying to take it one at-bat at a time.”
The approach has certainly worked for the fourteen-time all star, who also led the ball club in slugging and on base percentage entering Monday’s game. His .447 on base percentage prior to the start of the third week of the season might be the most puzzling.
Rodriguez, despite the one-year hiatus from the game, has not lost his eye for the strike zone. In his first 47 plate appearances of the season, the three-time American League most valuable player walked nine times, which was tied for sixth in the league at the time. That’s nearly once every five plate appearances.
Rodriguez’s performance thus far sheds light on one very important principle.
People care about success in sports, and that is pretty much it. Success can transcend any previous wrongs, whether perceived or proven.
When was the last time you read an article about Rodriguez’s performance enhancing drug involvement?
I would be shocked if your answer was any time after opening day.
My hat goes off to A-Rod for his early season success.
My only question relates to how the hat will continue to break in as the season continues.