I was at the gym today and overheard two guys with a history talking about the Yankees.
A: He hit another one.
B: Let’s see what he does in September when they count.
A: Tonight it’s the Red Sox.
B: You’re already making excuses?
A: He’s been incredible.
B: Wait until September.
We now know that A-Rod did his part against the Sox, hitting two more homers (giving him 12 in 15 games, which I heard in the gym is the fastest pace ever at the start of the season–actually, earlier today it was 10 in 14 games that was fastest) but the bullpen coughed up the win in the 8th inning.
I’m on record believing that A-Rod’s choking last year was just a distortion of the way we look at situations. For instance, he led the league in lead changing RBI, so what if he struck out a few times when he could have padded that lead. The same things happen to everyone.
But the extroverted manage the situations better. Derek Jeter can screw something up and we remember all the good times. A-Rod screws up and we remember only the other screw ups. That’s what did A-Rod in last year.
Which is why I feel like we’re seeing a new, more emotive A-Rod this year. Maybe some of last year’s criticism got to this world famous introvert and made him see that if he wanted to enjoy the rest of what will surely be an illustrious career he better make sure he’s the one telling the story. Whether it was a friend, relative or some sort of shrink, the fist pumping hard running A-Rod who showed up for spring training has certainly changed the story.
Though hitting 12 homers in 15 games helps that, too. The real test will be when he strikes out with the bases loaded against the Sox in July, or even better August. And whether anyone then will remember the leads he gave his team in April that they squandered, which is why that strike out mattered at all.