Baseball is inching closer and closer to being back, and that can mean only one thing. It's time for the A-Rod Hate Train to come back into town! It's been a while since that line ran through, but if you mind the gap on your way in and keep your tickets out, we'll be on our way. With the start of Spring Training a month and change away, the topic has naturally shifted from A-Rod's legal issues to his on-field activities. Everybody knows he's been working out for a while in preparation for his return, but all the offseason moves have essentially limited him to semi-regular DH/backup third base duties. According to the New York Post, he's fine with that:
“'Alex is looking at this season as a fresh start,' one friend said. 'He’s prepared to do the best he can in his role as a DH, but he is also preparing to play third base, knowing there will be times that Headley needs a break.
He knows that Joe Girardi is a manager who likes to have options and wants to keep all his players fresh, so he knows he will get some time at third, and he feels being used in that way is good for the team overall. Everyone can get a break.'"
Pretty reasonable, right? But wait! A separate report in Newsday says A-Rod isn't cool being DH:
"'Alex's mind is that job's not Headley's, it's Alex's to lose,' the source said. 'That's what he thinks. Alex is going into training camp thinking that he is the starting third baseman, that if there's a competition, Headley's got to win it from him. It doesn't matter about the money, what they signed Headley for. This guy [Rodriguez] can play.'"
So wait a minute. One publication has "people close to Rodriguez" saying one thing and the other publication has "a person familiar with his thinking" saying the exact opposite. Which one is it, guys? No wait, don't answer that. I already know. It's neither. Well, if I had to pick one that was true I'd pick the Post story because it does have direct quotes from A-Rod himself, but that's not the point here.
The point is that nobody is clamoring for A-Rod drama right now. We're over it. It's a dead issue. We've moved on to more important things like the team getting younger and deeper and getting back to the playoffs. If A-Rod can be a part of that, great. If he can't, that'll be a shame. That's really all that matters with A-Rod anymore. Can he play and can he play well? Everything else is in the past.
It really just comes down to newspapers having a bad, and probably permanent, case of A-Rod Envy. He's the only thing they've got left to use to try and stay relevant and all it does every time they go into "A-Rod hate" mode is make them look lamer and more behind the times. Wake up, guys. There are plenty of more interesting and important things going on in Yankeeland than lazily manufactured A-Rod drama stories.
I mean, I get it. I really do. A-Rod is awesome and you guys are obsessed with him. I'm obsessed with him too. But the pot stirring for the sake of getting yourselves another few seconds in the spotlight is getting pathetic at this point. Let it go and move on. Go out and do some real reporting and give me something I actually care about. Or if you really want to write about A-Rod, wait until the season actually starts and he mashes a few early home runs. That'd be a hot story.