So I don’t know if anyone heard but the New York Yankees decided to bench Alex Rodriguez last night for their series deciding game against the Baltimore Orioles (it was kind of a small story, so I wasn’t sure if people knew or not). And despite the fact that his replacement, Eric Chavez was 0-3 with 2 strikeouts the Yankees won the game. Normally when you hear about a star player being benched because of poor play, (Rodriguez was 2-16 with 9 k’s in the series) you feel at least somewhat badly for the player. However in this situation I couldn’t find it in myself to feel bad at all, and it didn’t seem like many other people felt bad either. Now granted I’m a Red Sox fan, and this is my favorite image of A Rod:
but I can usually feel empathy for opposing players when something bad happens to them. In this situation though, I just can’t do it, and that lead me to ask myself “what makes A Rod so hard to root for?” Even Yankees fans seem to struggle with the problem of supporting him. I happen to speak to several Yankees fans on a regular basis and they very rarely defend Rodriguez’s play or actions off the field. In fact it seems A Rod may never be accepted as a “true” Yankee by the teams fan base no matter what his career accomplishments ultimately are. So in trying to come to a conclusion for my question of why he’s so hard to root for, I finally came to a conclusion: he’s the anti-underdog (I thought about calling him the upper-dog or the over-dog but those both seemed stupid, unlike anti-underdog which clearly isn’t). At the very least on the surface A Rod appears to be a classic case of a guy who ‘has it all.” Supremely athletically gifted, incredibly wealthy and attractive (in a way only a man who possibly has a man/horse statue of himself in his home can be). He’s also an admitted steroid user, which he claims is all in the past (maybe this is why he’s not good anymore). He also cheated on his wife with a ‘mystery blonde’ and Madonna (kind of, maybe) actually he probably cheated on his wife with a lot of people but that doesn’t matter so much since essentially all pro athletes cheat on their wives. And really who wouldn’t cheat on their wife for a chance to be with Madonna…even though on second thought she is pretty terrifying so it might not be a good idea, that’s probably why it didn’t last very long. So now lets see what we’ve got: he’s talented (or he used to be anyways), he’s insanely wealthy, attractive, and likes to cheat in a variety of ways. Now that I look back over this list I feel like the real question should be ‘how did anyone ever manage to root for him?’ (even though I don’t think anyone really has since he left Seattle with the possible exceptions of Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson). Tonight the Yankees begin their series with the Detroit Tigers, the winner goes to the World Series and the Tigers are starting right hander Doug Fister. In his career against Fister A Rod is 1-5 with a walk and a strikeout, he doesn’t have a hit against a right hander yet in these playoffs. After he found out he would be benched yesterday afternoon A Rod said this as part of his statement in regards to his feelings towards manager Joe Girardi: “It’s never about Joe. I always have to look in the mirror and do what I can do to do the best I can. Don’t assume that you’ve heard the last from us, or me,” (link). A Rod has always loved to look in the mirror:
so he may be able to work past this set back and help lead the Yankees to another World Series. Come on A Rod you can do it!!…but I hope you don’t.