If you’re sitting in the stands tonight, will you boo when the starting lineup is announced? Will you cheer during roll call? Will you stand when No. 13 comes to the plate?
These are suddenly complicated questions, which must mean Alex Rodriguez is coming home.
“I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say I was thinking about that,” Rodriguez told USA Today this week. “All I can tell you is that it’s a day I’ve been dreaming about ever since the last postseason. Since my surgery. Since all this stuff has come out. Every single day. I’ve got the opportunity to put on the pinstripes, and compete at Yankee Stadium once again. This is why I came back. It’s been a long time coming.”
I wonder if there might be more genuine excitement if the Yankees weren’t in a tailspin. If they were a game out of the wild card, and maybe four games out of the division — if it seemed Rodriguez just might be able to push them over the edge and into the playoffs — would the welcome be more enthusiastic? Would it be negative regardless? Am I overestimating the backlash and the reception will be positive regardless?
Rodriguez is carrying more than his usual baggage. He’s always carried quite a bit, but he’s usually been productive enough to somewhat outweigh that baggage. There’s been a positive to go with the negative — a home run to go with the embarrassing quote; a three-hit game to go with the ill-advised photo shoot.
Tonight it will be Rodriguez, with all of his distractions, playing for a Yankees team with all of its short-comings.
How will you react?
Associated Press photo