January is usually a slow month for baseball news. So we’ve lined up a series of guest bloggers to entertain you. Next up is Jay from The Baseball Outsider.
Jay has been a reader here for a long time. I had a chance to meet him during spring training last year while he was watching batting practice on one of the side fields. So you know he’s a good fan. Jay is a 29-year-old IT guy from New Jersey. He has season tickets and says he spends most of his summer weekends in the Bronx with his wife.
Here’s Jay’s post:
Alex Rodriguez is the most important Yankee. I bet you disagree with me, but it’s true. Alex is the most important part of the Yanks present and future. He holds in his hand the very future of this team, and does so more than any other player on that team. His contract, which was the largest in the history of the major leagues, also makes him the player with the longest contract in the league. The move by management has changed the face of this team for the future. While the hearts of the fans may belong to Derek Jeter, the team belongs to Alex Rodriguez.
If Alex remains productive at a rate of 38 home runs per year till age 42 he has the potential of hitting 898 home runs in total. Think about that, 898 home runs. Even if his production falls to average only 30 home runs per year, he would still hit a total of 818 home runs. That would blow Barry Bonds’s record away. This is what baseball wants, and most of all this is what the Yankees want.
When I went to AT&T Park this past season to see a game while I was working in Northern California, I was absolutely amazed by the shrine it was to Bonds. His image could be found everywhere from the scoreboard to the ground you walk on outside of the stadium. A perfect marketing plan for the imperfect personality. The team managed to identify everything with Giants Baseball with Barry Bonds. Regardless of your opinion and the truth of his performance enhancing drug use, the marketing aspect of how Bonds was presented by the Giants was remarkable. I have to believe that this was the thought process of the Yankee front office. It was even made public when the Yankees announced the marketing deal in place to celebrate Alex’s milestone home runs and the bonus money to be made.
While keeping Alex Rodriguez in pinstripes might have been a good for on the field, it was a better deal off the field. During the season I met up with someone at the Stadium and discussed the possibility of Alex remaining with the Yankees in 2008. He said, “Are you kidding me, that place they are building across the street is a cash machine. You think of how much money they are going to make, keeping him here is just good business.”
How can you disagree? He brings star power, he brings the long ball and of course he brings the drama off the field which our local media loves. He’s rich, he’s good-looking and has an alleged wandering eye. He’s what the daily papers in New York absolutely love, someone to keep them writing about. Reggie was the guy in the 70s. Then in the 80s it was George and his meddling and Donnie Baseball. The 90s had Clueless Joe and his Boy Wonder Jeter. But the future will be based on A-Rod and his every move, much like it’s been already.
This new contract will be to blame for every failure. The pressure from the $252 million contract must have been maddening, but the $275 contract million … woah, I can’t even fathom how the tabloids will treat him when he is in slumps with that contract:
“$275M STRIKE OUT”
“A-ROD FAIL$… AGAIN”
“WAS HE WORTH IT?”
It’s what the big papers love, a guy they can hope every day will give them a back page that someone will take interest in.
Alex is here to stay. I’ll be happy to see him break the records, hit milestones and eventually go into the Hall with the interlocking NY on his hat. He’ll get his ring, he’ll get his money and he’ll get our hearts because it’s his team … you just haven’t realized it yet.