Reactions to A-Rod. Justice was all over him which he deserved, but do you think old George put him up to it? That's what some writers are insinuating.:
Rodriguez gave an "about time" glance at the home dugout late yesterday afternoon just as he was embarking on, perhaps, the most satisfying trek of the bases of his 445-homer career.
It was a moment for A-Rod to both exhale and exalt, a moment when his staggering skill finally surmounted all the tension surrounding his game. With his team one run down and two outs away from losing a series to the reeling Braves, Rodriguez went all David Ortiz on a Jorge Sosa fastball that was designed to go outside, tailed inside and wound up beyond the left-field fence.
JUSTICE SERVED BY A-ROD HOMER
"If the game is 9-2, [Rodriguez] might make it 9-4," Justice said about Rodriguez's lack of clutch hitting. "If the game is 7-1, he might make it 9-1. But when it is 2-2 late in the ballgame and I need a base hit to score a run, the numbers show that he has not been getting it done."
Yesterday, Rodriguez got it done. He answered in dramatic fashion, nailing his two-run, game-winning homer in the 12th inning against the Braves. Rodriguez couldn't fight Justice's words with words of his own. Action was Rodriguez's only weapon.
Maybe it will. But even if it doesn't, this much is sure: For one day, one afternoon before a sellout crowd at the Stadium, A-Rod managed to make that coveted transformation from punching bag to hero.
If ever a guy needed a friend, a consoling voice in the midst of this wilderness of boos and humiliation, this was the time. One can only imagine what went through A-Rod's mind as he exited the Stadium with his wife, Cynthia, and spotted, of all people, Lou Piniella, his first manager in the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners. As he told Yankees' WCBS radio broadcaster Suzyn Waldman in the euphoric aftermath of yesterday's 12th-inning walk-off homer against the Braves, it was like seeing "an angel from the sky."
According to Piniella, who happened to be at the Stadium Tuesday night to do promotional work as a guest in one of the suites, the meeting with A-Rod was entirely coincidental - although it quickly evolved into an intense hour-and-a-half mind-clearing session on hitting and self-confidence back at Rodriguez's Park Ave. condo.
"I was leaving the park myself when Cynthia came up to me and said Alex would really like to see me," Piniella said yesterday. "I've felt terrible for him, seeing what he's been going through. You have to remember, he was our 'baby' in Seattle. I watched him grow up in the big leagues. I've always felt very close to him and I'm very proud of all he's accomplished and if there was anything I could do to help him, I would."