When you think about it, if you were A Rod, would you want to make the playoffs? I mean, seriously. Think about this for a second. Forget the preconceived notion that professional athletes want to win championships at any and all costs. Put yourself in the shoes of our “best player”. It’s the end of August, we’re 6 games out of the Wild Card, and the media has been up your ass all year for your failure to deliver in the clutch, not to mention you extramarital affair with a former pop culture (now aged and masculine) icon. You are making $30 million for doing your job, no matter how much you work, no matter how productive you are, and no matter when you perform the duties you were hired to perform. No matter what you do for a living, would you ever turn down the option of making an equal amount of pay for less hours worked? Of course you wouldn’t. So, what makes you think A Rod would? What has A Rod ever done to show that he has a burning desire to not just win a championship, but to deliver a championship? Some players actually seem to crave the opportunity to be put in a pressured situation where the fate of their team, the fate of their season, rests within the grips of their batting gloves. Some players crave the satisfaction and joy that comes with winning a championship. Does A Rod want to win a championship? Probably. But he wants someone else to take care of the dirty work. He wants to take his cuts, get back to the dugout, and watch his more courageous teammates win ballgames. A Rod is downright afraid of playing in the playoffs. The numbers don't lie.
.279, 7 HRs, 17 RBIs, 38 Ks in 147 ABs (even worse since joining the Yankees)
So if hitting is his skill, then hitting in the playoffs is his weakness. If you are in a job, and you know that you have one weakness, and you can either do your job and have that weakness exposed, or you can do your job without having to expose that weakness, and either way you make the same amount, and that amount is enough to provide for you and many, many of your future generations, which do you choose? Of course, you choose the option that allows you to hide your weakness, and make the same salary. So which choice does A Rod make?
Perhaps he wants to make the playoffs, to give himself an opportunity to prove his worth to the fans and the media, to prove that he can deliver a championship. But even if that were to happen (and, I assure you, it won't), how long would that last? Maybe through the following season, maybe even through a couple seasons. But it would certainly not give him a free pass through the remainder of his contract, with however many millions of dollars were left to be made. Inevitably, the criticism and boos would return when he starts his choke show again. And A Rod knows this. He knows that no matter what he does, the New York media will always be poised to chomp him to pieces the first chance they get. He knows that he has issues dealing with high-pressure situations, and he has sought counseling to help with these issues, and that as long as he is aware of these issues, they will never disappear. Does he have the testicular fortitude to confront these issues head-on, to dive into a venture as daring as the playoffs, and put himself out there at the risk of further criticism, boos, and humiliation? If his individual at-bats in crucial situations such as last night are any indication, then he doesn't have the testicular fortitude to do much of anything. So I arrive at the conclusion that A Rod would rather not play in the playoffs, where the microscope is that much sharper, and the margin of error that much thinner. He would rather go through his years without having to confront his deepest issues, rack up the statistics and MVP awards that will make him appear (on paper) as the greatest hitter that has ever played, make his $30 million a year, let the season end by September 30, and make his way through his masculine love-interests offseason, after offseason, after offseason.
He's just that kind of guy.