Analysis: A-Rod Is Playing Out of His Mind

By Jerald LeVon Hoover
Updated: April 21, 2007

NEW YORK – Alexander Enmanuel Rodriguez (aka A-Rod) is having the time of his career within the first few weeks of the season. The super-duper star seems to finally be at peace in pinstripes.

A-Rod’s new motto should be within himself, “Peace in Pinstripes”, so that he can stay as hot as he is now, which is as hot as a firecracker.

Entering Saturday’s game at Fenway, A-Rod is batting .371 with a slugging percentage of 1.048 which includes a major league leading 12 home runs and 30 RBI.

He added his 11th and 12th homers off Curt Schilling in Friday’s 7-6 loss to the Red Sox. Two of the 12 homers this season have come in the walk-off variety.

It’s safe to say that the ‘boos’ and cat calls that A-Rod has heard in his three years in New York have turned into curtain calls.

What is so different about A-Rod this year? Well for one, his whole approach has been different; he’s smiling more and seems to be more comfortable.

With Gary Sheffield’s strong personality no longer in the locker room, A-Rod’s role in the club house increases a bit. He had acknowledged that he and Yankee captain and fellow superstar Derek Jeter are no longer bosom buddies as in a time past.

That was a good thing because last season he hid a lot of what was really going on between the two and that no doubt put undo pressure on him.

And word had also spread about A-Rod having a supposed ‘out clause’ in his contract. He was beaten up a little for not owning up as to whether he would opt out or stay the course of his mammoth deal which has 80 million left.

The original contract was for $252 million to which he signed while with the Texas Rangers. Everyone in the free world knows that it is easy to be a big star in a small market.

And for a lot of people that is the best way to be and to stay. But, for others the glare of the bright lights and the big city is intoxicating. Some players chase the big contract to the Big Apple and end up rotting under the intense heat of pressure to win and perform championship style.

Some players or shall we say very few players have won despite the pressure. Mark Messier of the New York Rangers is one that has won and performed well in the clutch.

Former Yankee Reggie Jackson delivered so admirably that he was dubbed Mr. October. The former Knick and Brooklyn native Bernard King performed splendidly in the regular season as well as in the Playoffs.

Although he didn’t deliver a championship; it wasn’t because he folded under pressure. King didn’t win because the Knicks were devoid of talent. It was the pre-Patrick Ewing era.

For as hot and sizzling as A-Rod is, the jury will be out until he does something spectacular in the postseason. The two-time American League MVP once earned the award while with the last place Texas Rangers.

Albeit he hit 52 home runs the Rangers were as far away from the Playoffs as the Bronx is from Los Angeles. There’s absolutely no denying that A-Rod is a wonderful player.

And some say that he ranks as the best ever or one of the best. But, for the staunch critiques winning rings or shucks (see Peyton Manning of the Colts) winning at least one ring will suffice.

The one thing the Yankees must be careful of is they better make sure that A-Rod isn’t doing this as an audition to get riches elsewhere.

Because unlike the NBA whereas you can get or send a player, (unrestricted even) away via the sign and trade route, Major League baseball have no such restrictions such as a ‘salary cap’.

So in essence, A-Rod can leave and go to a place like Chicago and play with the Cubs and his buddy Lou Pinella and the Yankees will be without him. And if that were to happen, I personally would like to see all of those that bashed A-Rod for not being a ‘true Yankee’ then.

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