After their bullpen blew yet another lead on Sunday, the New York Yankees turned to their most valuable player for a pickup.
And Alex Rodriguez promptly led the eighth inning off with a double, eventually scoring the tying run. The Yankees won, taking three of four from lowly Tampa Bay and climbing to within 9 games of the American League East leading Red Sox.
Different day, same ARod.
But as Rodriguez, who might be the only reason this year’s Yankees aren’t the Devil Rays, closes in on 500 home runs and a second MVP in three seasons, the 32 year old has a major decision to make when the season ends. One that will have a huge effect on the rest of his career. Or will it?
If he, like many believe, opts out of his contract in New York, Rodriguez will continue his ascension toward the top of the all-time homerun list with the fourth team of his career. Upon passing Barry Bonds, it’s likely ARod will be praised for bringing purity back to the record books. But will he also be chastised for chasing money the way Roger Clemens is currently? Even in a world with Scott Boras, should the game’s best player be switching teams four times during the prime of his career?
Of course, he could remain in pinstripes and pass Bonds in the brand new Yankee Stadium. How’s that sound? Win MVP’s, Pennants and break the homerun record all in the house that Jeter built while occupying third base, the position Jeter forced him to play. By staying in New York, Rodriguez, despite all the ability, will never be more important than the guy to his left in the eyes of the home crowd.
ARod’s numbers will always be there. His place in the record books too. They’ll suggest he was among the greatest to ever play the game.
And no matter what comes of his major decision, he’ll also be among the most underappreciated.
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