I don't like Alex Rodriguez.
I put up with him sometimes while he was a New York Yankee, but the prospect of him in Pinstripes always made me shudder. To me, the Bronx Bombers represented class, poise, and championship character.
They represented the best of New York City.
A-Rod was none of that.
He was a preening cheater, already busted once for steroids, and looking to bring his circus act to my beloved Stadium.
Not to mention the Bronx gave up a player I really liked to get him, to boot.
Still, I supported my team. They must know better than me, so it was time to be a good soldier, and accept life with A-Rod. After all, if New Yorkers could accept Wade freakin' Boggs in Pinstripes, how hard could it be to tolerate such a talented player?
Impossible, as it turned out.
Alex Rodriguez quickly became an albatross around the neck of the team. Dominating the conversation. Hogging the headlines. Dividing the fans.
Over and over, A-Rod was the biggest story for the Yankees. He did exactly what many feared he would do; he put himself above the team and whaddaya know, the team stopped winning.
Yeah, yeah, they got a Championship in 2009, and while A-Rod did play well that year, contrary to popular rhetoric, he was not the reason the Bombers won it all. He was one part, and the team could have done it without him.
Not to mention that he was the Invisible Man every other year in the playoffs.
Very few people get passes in New York City when they don't produce. This is not a town that admires people who talk a big game and can't back up their mouth.
Considering how ballyhooed A-Rod was, and how much money the Bombers were paying him when he couldn't follow through, he has to be considered a failure.
Was he talented? Undoubtedly.
Did he produce as New Yorkers were led to believe he would? Not at all.
Instead, A-Rod came to personify all the negative things that are attributed to the Yankees. He was loud, brash, overpaid, while going from scandal to scandal to scandal.
He cheated. He lied to us about cheating. He apologized for lying about cheating. He cheated again. He lied about cheating again. He had his lawyer go on the Today Show and threaten to sue the Yankees if they didn't give him his way. He got suspended for a year.
And then he apologized for lying again for cheating after already lying for cheating previously.
That sound like a guy you could like, no matter how well he can hit a ball?
In contrast to A-Rod you had The Captain, Derek Jeter. This man wasn't just a Yankee, he was THE Yankee. More than that, he became a face of New York.
As Gotham changed over the course of his career, Jeter stayed steady, and his resiliency gave us someone to look up to.
Maybe he couldn't hit a ball like A-Rod could, but Jeter did so much more. He played hard, worked hard, made it all look easy, and inspired us with his leadership.
The New York Yankees made me want to move to New York when I was a little boy. The team helped me fall in love with Gotham from afar, and the players represent the best the city can be. In the case of Alex Rodriguez, they also showcase the worst.
It made me feel proud to live in the same city as Derek Jeter. It made me feel disgust to know that A-Rod lived here too.
New York City is not an easy place to live. The people here are hard working and hard to fool. They have to be. In this town, it's not what you have done, but what you've done lately. Not everyone here is a nice person, but most of us are.
But there's always that one guy at the office, right? That guy who won't shut up about himself. He closed on this one big deal years ago and he's been coasting on that ever since. He's full of excuses, he keeps getting caught in lies, and he'll take credit for your work if you're not careful.
That's who A-Rod is to New York City.
Oh, one last thing about Derek Jeter. When Ichiro made his 3000th MLB hit, The Captain immediately made a statement of congratulations.
A-Rod's retirement announcement was made the previous day, and Jeter said nothing, even though he played with Rodriguez for a significantly greater amount of time than he did with Ichiro. So there's that.
So when it comes to A-Rod's final game on the field, for me and many other Yankee fans, faced with the prospect of never seeing him play again, only one thought comes to mind:
"Good riddance."[Feature Image Courtesy Sports Pickle]