As Yankees fans, we can all recall the drama and intrigue that surrounded the eventual exit of Alex Rodriguez as an active player with the team. And many of us may have thought at the time that his push “upstairs” was just a convenient way to get rid of him. But when the Yankees gather together for the first time in Tampa in a few week, Rodriguez will be with them. And we’ll be able to see for the first time what the Yankees thought when they made a move, and it’s all good.
The Yankees, despite all of the hoopla surrounding the career of Alex Rodriguez, more than any of us perhaps, always appreciated his value to the team in ways that superseded his performance on the field, good or bad.
Because no matter how many bad words we penned about the man, the one thing that was never said about him, because it would have easily been disproven by his teammates, is that he was a bad influence in the clubhouse. In fact, (and if this is not true, let a teammate come forth and say it), Alex Rodriguez was looked up to as a teammate, especially with regards to his work ethic and willingness to share his knowledge and experiences from a career spanning a remarkable 22 years.
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Yankees Hit The Reset Button On Alex Rodriguez
And for now, that’s all that should matter because it’s time to hit the reset button with A-Rod. In a few weeks, he’ll be coming to Yankees camp in Tampa as an invited guest of the Yankees in a new role as an Instructor. He’ll be wearing a Yankees uniform, but he won’t be jumping in the batting cage to take his cuts.
Instead, we’ll see him off to the side chatting with one or two of the “new guys” about something as innocuous where they can find the best sushi in Detroit, or what the hotel is like when they travel to Boston. But gradually, the conversation is destined to switch over to something like, “Hey, do you guys know how to tell the spin difference on Corey Kluber’s slider from his fastball?”
Or, maybe the conversation wafts into something like this: “Hey, by the way, our Hitting Instructor Alan Cockrell knows his stuff. So if he makes a suggestion or two to improve your game, you should listen to him.”
That’s Alex Rodriguez standing next to you in a Yankees uniform on a bright sunny day in Florida talking to you. Think for a minute that won’t get you attention? His agent put it this way:
“Alex is enjoying his time off and looking forward to heading to Spring Training to work with the young guys, as he has said all along,” Ron Berkowitz, A-Rod’s spokesman, told the New York Daily News.”
Yeah well, that’s what he’s supposed to say. But I believe there’s more to it than that and that Alex is looking forward to his new role and a mentor for all of the young talents the Yankees have assembled in recent months.
And I say that because I also believe that the man has some personal regrets about the twists and turns his career took over the years. And that maybe if he had to do it all over again, he might have done things differently.
Obviously, he can’t do that. But his new role with the Yankees might just be the perfect opportunity to look at these kids in the eye, and without saying it directly, communicate the fact that this is a once in a life opportunity you have. And if you love playing the game of baseball, do it the right way. And I’m here to help you do that.