A World Without Alex Rodriguez: The Retconning of the New York Yankees

A writer's dream comes true and a world dies screaming!

The retcon, shorthand for "retroactive continuity," is an old and mostly annoying comic book trick. In pursuit of some new story, writers will change something about a character's history to eliminate inconsistencies or simplify complicated or inconvenient back-stories. In one of the most reviled Spider-Man stories of all time, "One More Day," Spidey and Mary Jane make a deal with the devil (Mephisto) to save Aunt May's life. The cost, however, is that the devil nullifies Peter's relationship with Mary Jane so that they never got married, and makes everyone forget that they ever knew Parker's secret identity. Fans were livid that they had invested so much time and money into this story, only to have it erased. That's the problem with retcons -- readers always lose something they came to value.

This is essentially what Bob Klapisch is trying to do, writing that you need to, "say goodbye to Alex Rodriguez and whatever good memories you have of this disgraced slugger," as though there were even an ounce of good will for A-Rod left in New York (or anywhere else) even before this latest connection to the world of performance-enhancing drugs. But fine, Bob, we'll play along. We'll wish away all the good things that A-Rod did, George-Bailey style. Here's a list of all the good stuff that A-Rod had a part in that Yankees fans are going to be losing:

2004: Yankees beat the Red Sox by three games to win the AL East as Rodriguez is worth somewhere around seven wins. He dominates the Twins in the ALCS, hitting .421/.476/.737 with a homer and three RBI in four games, and is largely responsible for evening up the series in Game Two with a single, a homer, and two runs scored in what turns into an extra-inning game, and then a ground-rule double that ties it in the bottom of the 12th and sets up the win. He also doubles with one-out in the eleventh inning of game four, steals third base, and then scores what turns out to be the winning run on a wild pitch.

2005: Yankees win the AL East thanks in large part to A-Rod's nine-win season at third base. They finish with the same record as the Red Sox, but win the tiebreak. Both finish two games ahead of the Indians, so the Red Sox enter the postseason as the wild card.

2007: Yankees win the AL Wild Card by six games because A-Rod is worth more than nine wins by himself again.

2009: Yankees win the World Series after A-Rod leads them through the postseason, hitting .455/.500/1.000 with two homers (both of which tied games) and six RBI in the Division Series, .429/.567/.952 with three homers and six RBI in the Championship Series, and .250/.423/.550 with another homer and six RBI in the Fall Classic.

All of that, I'm afraid, is gone. Never happened. Such is the power of A-Rod and Klapisch. Here's the timeline you get instead:

2004: With Aaron Boone out and the Yankees desperate for a third baseman, they trade 21-year-old Robinson Cano and 24-year-old Chien-Ming Wang to the Twins for Corey Koskie. The Twins hand their third-base job to Michael Cuddyer and replace Luis Rivas with Cano. Koskie hurts his back and is good for just two wins. Alfonso Soriano, still with the Yankees, plays only slightly better than Miguel Cairo. The Yankees finish behind of the Red Sox and have to play the Angels in the ALDS instead of the Twins. The Halos tee off on New York's suspect pitching, the Bombers lose in four games, and the Twins (who beat the Red Sox) wind up winning the World Series. Bruce Springsteen dies in a bus crash.

2005: The Yankees outspend the Mariners to acquire Adrian Beltre as a free agent, signing him to a five-year, $75 million deal. They do not make the playoffs at all, finishing back of both the Red Sox and the Indians. There is much wringing of hands and George Steinbrenner fires Brian Cashman. In his place, Steinbrenner sends the Oakland Athletics Melky Cabrera and Jeff Karstens for the rights to sign Billy Beane. Green Bay fans lose control and storm the field to after Randy Moss pantomimes mooning them in the NFC wildcard game, tearing him quite literally limb from limb on live TV.

2006: The Yankees trade Alfonso Soriano to the Nationals for Brad Wilkerson, Chad Cordero, and Jamey Carroll. Never one to overvalue a closer, Beane trades living legend Mariano Rivera to the Phillies for Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez. Wilkerson goes to left field, Cordero becomes the closer, and Carroll fights it out with Joaquin Arias for the second base job. The Yankees win the AL East, but lose in the first round of the postseason when Cordero blows two saves. George Steinbrenner fires Billy Beane. The Twins plow through the postseason and win their second World Championship in three seasons. Remarkably, Saddam Hussein is found innocent and is reinstated as the President of Iraq.

2007: The Yankees hire Minnesota Twins Assistant GM Bill Smith to replace Beane. Smith immediately trades Cordero and Phil Hughes to get Bill Hall from the Brewers to play second base and who immediately forgets how to play baseball. He signs Gary Matthews Jr (who also forgets how to play baseball) to play center field and re-signs free agent Mariano Rivera to close. The Yankees squeak back into the playoffs past the Tigers and Mariners and but lose to the Twins in the ALDS. The Twins go on to win the World Series again. Ho-hum. A careless bookstore owner accidentally begins selling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows two days early. The entire book is scanned and published online, and spoilers ruin the experience for everybody.

2008: The Yankees slip under .500 for the first time since 1992. Thanks to the distraction, Isiah Thomas escapes firing for another season.

2009: Finally seeing the writing on the wall, the Yankees fire Bill Smith, hire Jed Hoyer, and start a full-on rebuild. They still sign CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixeira, but Andy Pettitte walks (again). Jorge Posada, Johnny Damon, Nick Swisher, Hideki Matsui, and Beltre are given away to good homes. Expectations are understandably low, and the Yankees finish around .500. The Twins lose in the World Series to the juggernaut Phillies. Michael Jackson still dies, but only after appearing on American Idol to promote his new tour.

2010: Just when the revamped Bombers seem to be finally gelling, Javier Vazquez accidentally burns down the new Yankee Stadium. Derek Jeter tests positive for horse steroids. The Twins win the World Series on the backs of Joe Mauer and Robinson Cano, and are declared "The New Yankees." Their fans are insufferable.

2011: Frank Caliendo's FrankTV is picked up for a fifth season. Riots, looting, and the end of civilization as we know it follow, as the American people give up all hope. Osama bin Laden is never found.

There is no 2012. Rising from the ashes of a global economic collapse and nuclear war, man retreats behind fortified city walls and starts over with the year 1, as the Mayans predicted. This is the result of a world without an A-Rod. Ask yourself, truly, if it's worth erasing all those good memories and replacing them with the horror and chaos that will take away everything you love and leave you wandering like Mad Max through the Texas desert until you get turned away from A-Rod's Bartertown and die of dehydration, cursing Bob Klapisch and his careless and vindictive lack of foresight with your last breath, spending your last drop of saliva to spit at the mere thought of his name.

Michael Bates is one of SBN's Designated Columnists and one of the minds behind The Platoon Advantage. Follow him at @commnman and the Designated Columnists at @SBNMLBDCers.

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