2009 must feel like an eternity ago.
After a postseason full of cliche moments in the form of game-tying home runs two years ago, Alex Rodriguez must have thought that the monkey was finally off his back. After all, 19 for 52 (.365), .456 on-base percentage, six homers and 18 runs batted in over the span of 15 games made for quite a remarkable October.
Well, not quite.
Since the New York Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies and claimed their 27th world championship, the monkey Rodriguez had briefly escaped from has found him and continues to pester him. Between last year's ALDS against the Minnesota Twins, ALCS against the Texas Rangers and the first two games of this year's ALDS, the third baseman has produced seven hits in 40 ABs. That's good for a .175 batting average, complemented with a .255 on-base percentage and only three RBIs.
I have to admit that I was a bit surprised yesterday afternoon when boos suddenly filled and echoed around Yankee Stadium as Alex Rodriguez flew out to right field in the bottom of the sixth inning. I'm sure Rodriguez isn't exactly thrilled with the way he's been playing and doesn't need a constant reminder every time he doesn't come up with a game-changing hit.
Personally, I don't like booing players that play for the team that I feel passionately about. However, I'm not attempting to preach how individuals should act at a sporting event. You pay for merchandise and tickets to the game, you're welcome to do whatever you want within the realm of legality. My question is why specifically boo Alex Rodriguez? Is it the fact that his paycheck leaves an incredibly large bulls-eye on his back and unreasonable expectations for him to live up to?
Maybe because he hasn't been a solid fixture in the lineup since returning from mid-July knee surgery. Perhaps he has ailing symptoms that have been affecting his play? While I realize home runs aren't everything, Rodriguez has crushed 629 total in his career and only three of those have come in his last 41 games (177 plate appearances). He certainly hasn't been putting up "clean-up hitter" numbers.
What about other players? Derek Jeter's postseason OBP of .269 since the start of the 2010 ALDS hasn't warranted a single boo? How about Mark Teixeira's meager 16 for 95 (.168) BA and .245 OBP in postseason games with the Yankees? No boos quite as extreme as the ones aimed at Alex Rodriguez.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not here to protect him from being booed. If you play professional sports and can't take being booed, maybe you should get a reality check. However, why is it only geared toward the third baseman?
I'm always left intrigued by the amount of attention emphasized on Rodriguez. He's always front and center in the spotlight and doing something extraordinary or controversial.
Maybe traveling to Detroit is exactly what he needs right now.
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