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Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Hayes’

Is Alex Rodriguez getting older and not quite the player he was 5 years ago?

Yes.

Iis A-Rod still one of the five most dominant players in Major League Baseball, capable at any time of doing something truly amazing?

Also yes.

And therein lies the quandary for most Yankee fans: how to reconcile those two facts. Oh, that – and many fans still seem to think of A-Rod as some type of  pinstriped imposter, last year’s postseason be damned. I have heard throughout the season rumblings and grumblings that A-Rod is “back” to his “choking” self; unable to handle pressure and not really as good as his career stats would seem to indicate.

I wonder: do those “fans” really think that Charlie Hayes or Mike Pagliarulo were better third basemen?

Look – every season A-Rod has been in pinstripes, he’s treated us to some sort of other-worldly performance. Last night’s 3 homer performance was just the latest. To put that in historical perspective, only one player has homered three times in a game more often, some guy named Barry Bonds. A-Rod has now hit 20 or more dingers in 15 consecutive season – a feat topped by only two men: Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. If A-Rod drives in 33 more runs in the Yanks remaining 46 games – a very distinct possibility – he will move into third place all-time for most seasons with 130 more RBI – behind only Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Speaking of career RBI records, A-Rod is on the cusp of setting the all-time record for seasons with at least 100 RBI – 3 more this year will give him 14 seasons accomplishing the feat, more than anyone. More than Ruth. More than Gehrig. More than Aaron. More than other undeniable Hall-of-Famers Stan Musial, Jimmie Foxx and Carl Yastrzemski.

Laugh about RBI being a “meaningless” stat all you want. I know there are plenty of sabermatricians who love to slight the RBI (here’s looking at you, Jason Stark), but the fact is somebody has to drive in a team’s runs. A-Rod does it better than anyone in the modern ere and an argument can be made he does it better than anyone ever. The men A-Rod is muscling in on are generally considered the icons of baseball, guys who did things that nobody ever thought would be accomplished again. Somehow, I have a feeling that if A-Rod ran off a 56 game hitting streak, the detractors would be pointing out that it wasn’t a 57 game streak.

All of this and A-Rod is still only 35 years old, with what should be 5-8 solid seasons left for him.

So if you remain unimpressed with yet another 3 home run game; with a 10 RBI game in ’05, with the 7 RBI performance last year, with all of the career accomplishments – that is certainly your right. But I’m left to wonder how you can call yourself a baseball fan. We are witness to the greatest all-around player to come along since Willie Mays. A-Rod is the kind of player who comes along once every two or three generations and if you can’t appreciate the greatness, then I feel sorry for you.

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