• HaroldHecuba: Mike Mussina is EASTERN EUROPEAN, not Italian....

Alex Rodriguez is off to quite the hot start.  An article in the New York Times attributes this to his contract situation; A-Rod’s $252 million contract contains an out-clause that will allow him to opt out of playing for the Yankees at the end of this year.

Rodriguez, not the Yankees, controls where he will play next season. Maybe that is why Rodriguez is relaxed. For once, Rodriguez has created tranquillity, not discord, in his world.

Rodriguez and manager Joe Torre, for what it’s worth, attribute his hot hitting to an ability to take at-bats one at a time, to be patient and see the ball, and not let other factors in the game—previously committed errors or runners in scoring position—distract Alex from the task at hand.

You like me! You really like me!

To quote a different article in the same paper of record:

Rodriguez has 10 home runs in his team’s first 14 games. He is the first player in American League history to do that. He has 26 runs batted in, 10 more than he had last April.

Perhaps, then, it shouldn’t be that surprising that he lifted his team to yet another come-from behind victory last night, this time against the Indians. With two outs in the 9th, he hit a three-run walkoff homer to centerfield. On April 7, he hit a grand slam with two outs in the 9th to beat the Orioles. The streak seems to have made him some friends in the clubhouse:

“It’s a new Alex,” Damon said. “He’s taking playing in New York a little differently. He knows he works harder than everybody, he knows he’s bigger and stronger than everybody, and now he’s just going out there and playing the game.”

[...]

“He has come through every time we have needed him,” Mientkiewicz said. “It’s insanity, it’s ridiculous. It is not normal.”

[...]

“It’s all been good since I’ve been here,” said Pettitte, who is teammates with Rodriguez for the first time. “I’m scratching my head trying to figure out what everyone was complaining about.”

Not quoted in either article article? One Derek Jeter.

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