(Image courtesy of Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)
Yankees versus Alex Rodriguez.
What are the chances that we actually get to see a player sue his team, WHILE he is still on the team??
A-Rod could be the first in my memory.
Let’s set the stage:
- A-Rod juices just like everybody else when the league looks the other way.
- A-Rod signs with the Yankees for a ton of money AND incentives for reaching some hitting milestones, which includes hitting home run #660 while a Yankee.
- A-Rod gets caught juicing, when the league goes on its selective witch-hunt, and is suspended for the 2014 season.
- A-Rod comes back in 2015, and within the first month of the season, he hits his 660th home run to tie him for fourth with Willie Mays on the all-time list that is filled with asterisks.
(Video Courtesy of MLB)
What happens next? A direct deposit from the Yankees into A-Rod’s bank account for meeting an incentive, right? Negative.
Brian Cashman, the Yankees GM, claims that the Yankees weren’t able to take full advantage of “marketing” the event because of A-Rod’s history of steroid use. And supposedly, because of some clever wording in A-Rod’s contract, the Yankees have the “right” to not pay the bonus. His $6 million bonus…6-0-0-0-0-0-0! That’s significantly more than the $3.3 million median salary on the Yankees.
It sounds to me like the Yankees have buyer’s remorse. They realize they spent way too much on A-Rod. And they’re just looking for any excuse to minimize the financial damage.
I’m sure A-Rod will still be able to feed his family with the $27.5 million salary he’s taking home this year, but I’m not one to judge that someone makes “too much” money.
I’m sure most fans don’t feel very bad for him either.
But you know who is on his side? This Red Sox fan.
Yes, I am Red Sox fan, and certainly no fan of A-Rod as a player or as a person, though I doubt he cares. And by law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I am not allowed to be a Yankees fan either. (confession: I haven’t read the entire Commonwealth Constitution, but I am sure it has to be in there)
I should really want both sides to lose. But I have to take the side of logic and defend A-Rod. Sure, he’s a former user; sure, he lied about it; sure, in his own self interest for money he made the Rangers a terrible team while he was in Arlington; sure, he is now a Yankee, and by law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I am legally required to hate him. But logic wins out, and here is how:
- So the Yankees claim that they weren’t able to “market” the event properly. Who’s fault is that? Is A-Rod now in the Yankees Marketing Department? Is he choosing which date to have the Yogi Berra bobble head game? No…he’s a baseball player!
- Let’s set the stage for the game when A-Rod hit number 660. It was May 1, and the Yankees were playing at Fenway. A-Rod was in a hitting slump, so Joe Girardi gave him the night off. Until the 8th inning with the game tied 2-2. A-Rod worked the count to 3-0. Then on a pitch that is laid off 99% of the time, A-Rod hits a rocket into the Green Monster seats. Yankees win because of A-Rod’s homer. It’s an unwritten rule that a manager never benches a player when they’re about to reach a milestone, let alone give him the chance to do it as a pinch-hitter…against their arch-rivals. The Yankees didn’t even give A-Rod the consideration to let him play a whole game to build up the anticipation of the milestone. It was a spectacular way to hit 660, but unconventional, and just not right.
- The Yankees didn’t market A-Rod’s accomplishment. That means fewer A-Rod jersey sales, limiting A-Rod’s ability to get more sponsorships, reducing A-Rod’s credibility as a member of the Yankees, and maybe even hurting A-Rod’s chances to get on a Wheaties box. How much money did the Yankees refusal to “market” the event cost A-Rod, in addition to the $6mil they refuse to pay him? Incalculable.
Are the Yankees really telling A-Rod to play as well as he can so the Yankees can win, but really, they don’t give a crap about him. If he got rolled up in a tarp and had to spend the rest of the season on the DL, would they miss him?
Forget the fact that the Yankees were willing to pay a bonus for hitting a home run that ties A-Rod for fourth on the all-time list. Willie Mays is one of the greatest baseball players ever. Being next to him in the record books is an amazing accomplishment. But step back for a second and ask yourself the last time you ever celebrated being fourth best. My point exactly. Yankees proved once again how stupid they are.
Think what you want to about the legitimacy of A-Rod hitting 660 home runs. The stat may be tainted. But it’s in the books, just like Mark “I’m not here to talk about the past” McGwire, and Barry “I don’t know BALCO, dude” Bonds. It’s unlikely, but maybe they’ll rewrite the record books one day. Until then, A-Rod’s name is clearly printed and moving up the home run list.
The player’s union is planning to sue the Yankees. So we will finally get to see a team basically being sued by a player on their roster.
But I hope A-Rod gets paid. And yes, I am a Red Sox fan.