Get all your A-Rod hatin’ right here! Step right up! One stop shopping! Hot off the presses!
Last night, the Sox fans in Coors field chanted “Re-sign Lowell! Re-sign Lowell!” as the other premiere free agent third baseman on the market, Mike Lowell, accepted his World Series MVP trophy and walked out on the field to take a gander at his two new hybrid cars. This morning, the Yankee fans from Staten Island to Albany are saying “good bye and good riddance” to A-Rod. Skimming through several papers from the state of New York, I have yet to find one that expresses any sorrow at seeing the back of Alex Rodriguez. “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!” seems to be the prevailing attitude.
If that’s how New York feels about A-Rod, it should come as no surprise that the guys on Boston’s sports radio station were calling A-Rod “a flesh-eating virus.” They saw right through his claim that the “uncertainty” or “turmoil” or whatever you want to call it going on in the Yankees’ front office was the reason he chose last night to opt-out. After all, he had ten days left to think about it—ten days in which the Yanks could have announced their new manager; ten days in which Cashman could have re-signed Pettitte, Rivera, or Posada; and ten days in which the Red Sox could have enjoyed their parade in peace.
Buster Olney notes that with A-Rod refusing to attend the game to accept his Hank Aaron award from the Hammerin’ man himself (because of a “family committment”) and with agent Scott Boras delivering the news to Yankees GM Brian Cashman by text message instead of the requested face-to-face meeting, A-Rod has put himself above the game. “Somebody will buy into A-Rod, of course,” concludes Olney. “He’s an extraordinary player. The cost will be hundreds of millions, and the heart and soul, of his next franchise.”
And no less an authority than Peter Gammons, reporting on where A-Rod might go next, can’t help but finish the speculation with a bit of a tirade: “What’s unfortunate here, is the the total disrespect for the game of baseball. Dustin Pedroia and Jon Lester are doing something Alex has never done: playing in a World Series game. And to want the attention on this day is kind of a sad commentary, and it might be a buyer beware, because, again, he’s never played in a World Series game…and there might be a reason.”
Speaking of Lester and A-Rod, Mark Kriegel of Fox Sports notes that the timing of A-Rod’s announcement did have some extra irony: “Some years ago, you may recall, the Red Sox were desperate to acquire Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers. The teams agreed on a deal that would have sent Lester, then an outstanding teenage prospect, Manny Ramirez and cash to the Rangers in return for Rodriguez. But the Players Association nixed the deal, saying it could not approve the restructuring of A-Rod’s contract.” I think I can safely say that this is the best deal Theo Epstein made, simply by failing to make it.
And Selena Roberts in the New York Times has a doozy of a piece comparing A-Rod with Lowell. The best nugget by far is the quote from Theo Epstein. Asked about A-Rod’s free agency, the Sox GM said simply, ” “We’re celebrating the World Series right now.” And asked about Lowell, Epstein replied, ” “On and off the field, he is the epitome of class.”
Not too many people saying that about A-Rod this morning.