Those Hips Don't Lie

After reports surfaced yesterday that Alex Rodriguez would need hip surgery to fix a torn labrum, the media feeding frenzy was back and better than ever. On the heels of his steroids scandal, A-Rod’s latest injury has only further fueled the “A-Roid” and “A-Fraud” fires. Add to this his reputation for big game chokes and playoff slumps, and this is quickly adding up to be A-Rod’s most difficult season to date.

The Yankees are reporting that A-Rod will try to play through the pain and avoid surgery, but if he or the team doctors decide that he needs the surgery he could miss up to 4 months. My suggestion for Rodriguez at this point: don’t try to stoically grin and bear it. It will be an even worse excuse for losing. At this point, A-Rod is becoming part of a bigger Yankees’ problem: aging superstars.

A-Rod, who turns 34 this summer, will join Posada, Jeter, Rivera, Damon, and Matsui in the Yankees’ fleeting over-30 club. It reminds me too much of Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, and the rest of Cashman’s motley crew. Not only will A-Rod’s injury put more pressure on himself, but everyone else on the team will feel his absence, especially newcomer Teixeira who could use the added protection in the lineup. 

After reading Joe Torre’s The Yankee Years and reminiscing over those nostalgic championship years, it’s obvious that A-Rod wants to win. He just doesn’t know how. His awkward clubhouse confrontations, nervous exchanges with the media, and insecure relationships remind me of high school. The only difference is that during my high school years the Yankees were winning back-to-back-to-back championships.

While his misfortunes continue to mount, it makes me wonder if it will ever be okay for us to feel bad for A-Rod? From 2001 to 2007, he missed an average of two or three games a year. Over that span he has averaged more than 40 home runs a year, won 3 MVPs, and was the Yankees most consistent hitter. But numbers don’t matter in New York, only rings do. And at this point, I’m not even sure a ring will redeem him.

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