I've been a Yankees fan since I can remember. I'm more of a "modern Yankees fan", with my earliest memories involving Steve Sax, Jesse Barfield and Roberto Kelly rather than the old-time greats. But I've certainly been around long enough to see the Yankees move through good times and bad. Charlie Hayes' catch for the final out in the 1996 World Series remains to this day as one of my happiest memories. But I don't want to reminisce on the past too much. Because as great as the late 90s were, we are now in a different era. An era that was forever changed on February 15, 2004, when Alex Rodriguez became a member of the New York Yankees.
For the past four years, I've watched A Rod tear through April and May like a man possessed, only to crap out as the season draws to a finish, and pathetically crash in the playoffs. I've watched him win two individual awards as the league's "most valuable" player, and have one of the best seasons that any hitter as ever had last year. Yet, despite these incredible individual accomplishments, he has failed to deliver the highest measure of success for Yankees fans and the Yankees organization: a championship. Is A Rod singlehandedly to blame for the Yankees lack of championships? Of course not. There are plenty who deserve blame for the past four seasons (Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa, to name just a few). But when evaluating the success (or lack thereof) of any entity, be it a corporation, an organization, or a professional baseball team, you must start at the top. You must start with the individual who receives the highest salary and, thus, has the highest expectations bestowed upon him/her. And you must look at this individual and ask: what has this individual done to promote the success of this company/organization/team? Has this individual performed to the level of expectations, and delivered what he/she was hired to deliver, for the salary at which he/she was hired? And you look at A Rod, and you ask these questions, and the answer is one big, resounding, NO.
Last night pushed me over the top. I was at the game, the first game I've been to since July, when I still had hope for this season. All season, and most of his career, I’ve been ripping on A Rod. And all season, and most of his career, people have been defending him. And while I have been ripping him, he has, at times, done something that made me look like an idiot, like blast a shot into the black seats or make a diving play to rob someone of extra bases. So last night, I went to the stadium with the full understanding that at some point, A Rod might do something that would make me look like an idiot for bashing him. He might do something that would explain why he makes more than any other athlete who’s ever lived (not including endorsements). He might do something that shows why he’s one of the best baseball players to ever live. Hell, he might even do something to show that the Yankees are superior to the rival Red Sox, solely because they have Alex Rodriguez, one of the best players to ever play the game. So I went into the game prepared for this, and every time A Rod came to the plate, I thought, “OK, he is a great hitter. He’s gotta prove me wrong eventually.” And A Rod had 5 at bats last night. And in those 5 at bats, he had a total of 7 men on base. And in those 5 at bats, he did something that I have never seen anyone do in my lifetime of going to baseball games. He made 7 outs, and left every single runner on base.
Last night disgusted me, and I would be doing myself and Yankees fans everywhere a disservice if I did not do something about this situation we have found ourselves in. It is time, as Yankees fans, to stand up and say, "Enough is enough." May this be a beginning of a movement. A movement to rid the New York Yankees, the most storied and successful baseball franchise to ever trod the Earth, of Alex Rodriguez, the most wretched and cursed player to ever don a uniform. The movement has to start somewhere, and this is where it will begin, on this August 27, 2008. Together, you and I can make a difference.