A-Rod solidifies legacy

November 5, 2009

Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown.

Not for Alex Rodriguez.

No longer will the $3oo million man have to answer questions about his postseason failures. 

With the weight of the world on his shoulders, and a below .200 batting average going into the start of this year’s playoffs, A-Rod has expelled the demons. He has gotten something that  his annual paycheck can’t buy. 

A ring.

It’s been 15 ring-less years for Alex. But with the help of a steroid-use admission, a hip surgery, and the addition of Kate Hudson, A-Rod has transformed himself. No longer is he the goat of Yankee failures. He put aside the egoistic, me-first attitude that has characterized him his entire career. This time,the team came first.

A-rod has secured his legend. He batted a robust .365 (19-for-52) with six homers and a franchise-record 18 RBIs in the 2009 playoffs. Think they were meaningless RBIs? Not quite. Eight of them tied a game or gave the Yankees the lead.

He was clutch. He was Jeter-esque. He was everything Yankee fans wanted him to be when we signed him 5 years ago. I don’t know what Kevin Long said to him, but his approach at the plate, along with his demeanor, is completely different. He had a career high in walks this year. He bought into the Yankee concept of being patient, taking your walks and passing the baton.

This was the MO of the late 90s teams. Grind out at bats. Take walks. Let your teammate pick you up. And that’s exactly what A-Rod did. When Pedro pitched around him, he let Matsui pick up the slack. And oh, how he picked it up.

And when the team needed him most, he delivered. Game-tying jacks in Game 2 and 3 of the ALDS, one off Joe Nathan in the bottom of the 9th. The game tying jack off MLB save leader Brian Fuentes in Game 2 of the ALCS. He ravaged Phillies closer Brad Lidge for the go-ahead RBI double in the 9th inning of Game 4 of the World Series.

And oh yeah, A-Rod also hit the first video-reviewed HR in the WS, which also was a game-changer, cutting the Phillies lead to 3-2 in Game 3 of the WS.

A-Rod has shaken off the criticism. He has reinvented himself. As Dennis Green once said — though slightly tailored — He is who we thought he was.

It just took five years to find out.


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