After being lustily booed at Fenway Park, Alex Rodriguez got a far warmer reception in the Bronx for his final game in a Yankee uniform and very likely his final MLB game on Friday night. Well, that’s if you don’t count the thunder that cracked when his name was announced during a pre-game ceremony.
A-Rod went 1 for 4 with a RBI double in the first inning, an opposite field hit that was downright Jeteresque. It was his 2,086th and very likely last RBI. In a very nice gesture by Yankees manager Joe Girardi, A-Rod was sent out to play third base in the top of the ninth. After Yankees closer Dellin Betances struck out Mikie Mahtook looking, Yankees catcher Brian McCann threw the ball down to A-Rod. He was then removed from the game for the fans give him one last ovation. Hardly anyone noticed Ronald Torreyes take his spot. The Yankees won the game 6-3. Although A-Rod was the main attraction, Starlin Castro was the star of the game driving in four of the Yankees’ six runs.
One can question the wisdom of FOX airing this game live in a national telecast. They certainly didn’t do this with Mariano Rivera or Derek Jeter. But controversy sells though I would be curious to see the ratings for this game.
Ken Rosenthal was speculating that A-Rod isn’t done and wants to reach 700 home runs and that he would fit in well with the Miami Marlins. Frank Thomas said he could see him in a Chicago White Sox uniform. I believe this is wishful thinking on the part of The Big Hurt.
The Yankees are better off without A-Rod – at least on the field. He acknowledged as much when he spoke of Yankees rookie catcher Gary Sanchez who said he could do things he could no longer do. Sanchez actually looks a lot like A-Rod. When Red Sox first baseman was on the wrong end of a collision, I thought it was A-Rod.
If this game represented an end of an era, it also represented the beginning of a new one. The Yankees are actually only three and a half games back of the second AL Wild Card spot despite no A-Rod, no Aroldis Chapman, no Andrew Miller and no Carlos Beltran. Even if they don’t make the post-season this year, the best is still to come. The departure of all these players (save for A-Rod) have yielded top flight prospects. Don’t be surprised if this crop of news Yankees make as much of an impact as the Yankee teams that won three straight World Series between 1998 thru 2000 and four in five years. The Red Sox, Orioles and Blue Jays should enjoy their time as the elite in the AL East because this tenure might not last very long.
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