Upon the arrival of A-Rod back at Yankee Stadium, after a forced year off (that’s the nice way to say it), I expected a chorus of boos to follow him around. He embarrassed the Yankees and the sport of baseball. He disgraced America’s past time. But, just the opposite occurred.
He was showered with cheers and hashtags of #FORG1V3N. And no one even knew what to expect in the upcoming season. But, let me tell you, no one could have anticipated that at this point in the season A-Rod would be the best hitter on the team.
He may not be the hero we wanted last year, but he is the anti-hero we need this year. I can’t tell you how many Twitter posts were begging to get rid of him and give up on him. And now, Yankees fans can’t imagine life without that talented and passionate player.
I am proud of what A-Rod has accomplished. Instead of entering the season with a cocky attitude, he told us all in the beginning, “I don’t know what to expect.” We had low expectations for him and he has surpassed them in every way possible.
Not only at the plate, but in the field he has been a team player. When he needs to play third, he helps out and does what he has to do. When they need someone at first, he takes over with authority. This year’s A-Rod is an entirely different being than what people have portrayed him to be in the past.
So far, he is posting a .316 batting average…the next highest is Gardner…at 26 points lower. He’s got 11 RBIs and is in team leader. He has taken his role seriously and proven to everyone that he can get back on the field, amidst all the hate and negativity, and still show shades of that tiny kid from Seattle that everyone worshiped.
Most importantly, A-Rod has been back to win games. It hasn’t always been about the home runs. He has clubbed bases-loaded doubles and played key roles by just hitting singles and moving runners. He hasn’t been solely focused on power and that is why he is succeeding.
So, A-Rod, maybe we don’t deserve these stats after all the crap that we’ve put you through with your use of PEDs. Maybe we are hypocrites for cheering you on at your best but not being there to support you at your worst. But regardless, you are what we need right now and you have shown us that you did not come back to disappoint us.
It takes immense strength to come back from a place so dark and negative and step back out on that field. He knows he is going to get booed wherever he goes. He knows he’ll be a massive target for criticism. And yet, he is still out there. What does that say about him?
Who knows if he’ll keep it up, but for right now, just like A-Rod, us Yankee fans are going to enjoy the ride.