Monday, August 8, 2016

The Bangless Whimper

This is how the world ends. 
This is how the world ends.  
This is how the world ends. 
Not with a bang but with a whimper.  
"The Hollow Men"
- T.S. Eliot

One of baseball's worst-kept secrets finally was exposed on Sunday morning when, in a news conference in the Bronx, the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez announced that his Yankees career, which has been over for all intents and purposes for the past several months, shall officially end on Friday, August 12.  On Sunday afternoon, the Yankees announced that A-Rod is retiring from MLB on Friday.  Point in fact, on Friday the Yankees are releasing him.  He shall be paid the $37 Million left on his contract and, immediately thereafter, join the organization as a Special Advisor to Hal Steinbrenner.  

Whether Rodriguez ever plays another game after this Friday night's game in the Bronx I cannot pretend to know.  I suppose that a strong possibility exists that the Tampa Bay Rays shall be the final opponent of his twenty-two-year career.  Candidly, while I am cognizant of the fact that the Yankees would not have won the 2009 World Series but for his extraordinary play, he is a player for whom I have never had a tremendous amount of affection.  

Long before he joined the Yankees, I admired his talent but he was never a player for whom I cheered.  His arrival in the Bronx - in the early aughts - was among the Steinbrenners' importation movement, which in the aftermath of the seven-game defeat in the 2001 World Series caused the Yankees to break up a solid, wildly successful team that was woefully short on superstars and to replace it with a Strat-O-Matic all-star team.  Rodriguez became a Yankee at or about the same time as Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield - a core group that produced exactly zero world championships. A-Rod was the only member of that trio who remained in the Bronx long enough to be present when the Steinbrenners retrenched in 2009 and brought CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Texeira on board.  The 2009 season was the last one that has ended with a parade up the Canyon of Heroes.

As he rode a float through lower Manhattan on that cold, gray November morning, I am confident that A-Rod believed there would be other celebrations and other parades.  Although the Yankees played in the ALCS in 2010 and again in 2012, there would be no more World Series appearances for the Yankees or for A-Rod.  

And now, for the latter at least, it appears as if there shall never be another.  


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