Would you want Pay-Rod back? I say no way.
David Letterman did a bit the other night in which he showed a diagram of the Heimlich maneuver.
At the top were the words "Choking Victim."
Underneath the lettering were pictures of Alex Rodriguez.
This got a belly laugh in New York. Rodriguez is an easy target, a $252 million symbol of New York Yankee playoff flameouts.
He's a victim of his own salary, of his prodigious talent and of the inflated expectations of impatient New York fans and media.
New Yorkers boo him as much as Mariners fans do when the Yankees swing through Seattle. He committed a career-high 24 errors at third base this season. Boooo. He wasn't Derek Jeter in clutch situations. Boooo. Against the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series, Rodriguez was 1-for-14. He's 4-for-41 with no runs batted in over his past dozen playoff games. Booooo.
New York laughed when it was revealed Rodriguez was seeing an analyst. Manager Joe Torre, usually the sympathetic sort with his players, put Rodriguez eighth in the batting order in the Yankees' final game and didn't tell him beforehand. Rodriguez hadn't batted eighth in more than a decade.
So A-Rod isn't getting much respect in the Big Apple from anyone. Not the fans. Not the press. Not from his own manager.
Yet, Rodriguez chooses to weather it all with toughness, at least on the surface. His contract has a no-trade clause and he told reporters after the series that he wants to stay in New York and be part of the solution there.
The question is whether he's emotionally equipped to do so. The answer: He's much more emotionally equipped to do so in Seattle.
Now, keep your shirt on. And while you're keeping your shirt on, try to find your forgiving side. Besides, you KNOW you'll find forgiveness once Rodriguez starts swatting pitches into Bellevue.
Believe it. If the stars align, there are more things less strange than Rodriguez returning to the Mariners, regardless of a no-trade clause.
Look. Rodriguez hit .290 with 35 home runs and 121 RBI in 2006 and New Yorkers want him out. Hit like that in Seattle and you're elected mayor. Or rather, hit like that and you hit light years better than the disappointing Adrian Beltre.
Let's ignore the finances for a minute and look at the players.
Beltre is looking more and more like a man who needs a change of scenery. He hit the laces off the ball, at least for one season, in Los Angeles. So we can assume that big cities with a snotty media (well, T.J. Simers, anyway) won't bother him. Maybe Beltre would flourish in New York. He certainly hasn't earned his salary here, at least with the bat.
And that brings on another desirable trait. New York would never boo Beltre's glove. He's one of the most reliable third basemen in baseball. He may not commit 24 errors in three years.
So of all the deals that slide onto Yankees GM Brian Cashman's desk, and there have been many, one that involves a package that includes Beltre may be the one he doesn't round-file.
Beltre's out of Seattle. Rodriguez is out of New York and in a more laid-back environment. Everybody wins.
Rodriguez can say he wants to tough it out in New York, but the truth is that he and the Bronx go together like scallops and the Exxon Valdez. We're talking about an ultra-sensitive human being, one, even at age 31, who badly needs approval from those around him.
He still talks of the time when he was 20, playing for the Mariners. He took three horrendous swings against Dennis Eckersley and sat down, steaming. Manager Lou Piniella ripped into him to the point where Rodriguez slipped on a pair of sunglasses to hide his eyes, welling up with tears.
They never spilled. Piniella, mindful of A-Rod's delicate psyche, walked over and kissed him on the forehead. Rodriguez said it meant much to him, seeing firsthand Piniella's toughness and love within a matter of seconds of each other.
We all know how Rodriguez thrived here, maybe in part because of the warm fuzzies he's not getting in New York.
I think I'd donate half my salary to see Mike Hargrove give him a smooch.