Call Me An A-Fraud Apologist But…

…he carried the Yankees on his back in 2007.
There he was, rounding the bases after hitting home run #500. I was sitting behind home plate that afternoon. Everybody at the Stadium went crazy. The Yankees spilled out onto the field and bear-hugged their teammate. It was a celebratory moment in an otherwise discouraging season; the Yanks spent time in the cellar during the first half, only to rally in the second half to make it into the playoffs as the wild card.
One of the main reasons they did make it through was A-Rod and his 54 homers and 156 RBIs. He was on fire in ’07. He hit in the clutch. He did everything that was asked of him on defense. He earned that MVP award. He fizzled against Cleveland in the ALDS, but so did everyone else. Jeter. Jorge. Jason. I didn’t think it was possible to hit into so many double plays, but that’s what they did. Wang’s two dismal performances didn’t help.
I love Joe Torre. I always will. I miss his leadership and can’t wait to read his book. I just feel the need to stick up for A-Rod, who might have saved Joe’s job early in the season with all those homers.
Is he a philandering phony?
Does he have a tendency to do bush-league things?
And check.
(Who can forget his “Mine!” or “I got it!” in Toronto?)
Does he love to look at himself?
Is he jealous of Jeter’s popularity with the fans?
Does he seek attention even as he claims not to want it?
Check. Here’s an item in today’s NY Post to prove it.
He is not a model citizen. We know that. But in 2007 he led my team to its 12th consecutive postseason, and for that I’ll always be grateful.
Here’s a clip from the champagne party after the Yanks clinched at the Trop. Interesting that A-Rod gives Torre a shout out.


  1. juliasrants

    Jane – I don’t know if you saw the interview with Tom Verducci today on MLB Network – he says that in the book Torre never called A-Rod A-fraud and that the reference to him as that was by others and it refers to the problems A-Rod had trying to fit in with the Yankees when he first got traded to them. The reference had nothing to do with his playing abilities. It appears that all the “cooler heads” as waiting until they can read the whole book – and not just selects tidbits – lots of the Yankees’ bloggers here have that attitude. I think it’s a good one.


  2. Jane Heller

    Yes, Julia. I saw the interview. I also spoke to John Sterling, the radio voice of the Yankees, who had just gotten off the phone with Joe, his very close friend. And another friend is giving Joe a copy of my book. My post has to do with my appreciation for A-Rod’s 2007 season. My head is plenty cool, thanks. 🙂


    Hi Jane, I agree with you about A-Rod. He’s so good and so insecure at the same time. Thanks for putting it perspective. Can’t wait for the season to begin!

  4. Jane Heller

    You may not believe in it, Joe, but during the first half of the season, the team was under-performing, as talented as the players were. There were injuries as well.

  5. levelboss

    in 2006 A-Rod became my favorite player (it used to be Bernie Williams).. one of the best baseball players currently (and in history probably) was ridiculed badly by rival fans and booed by the fans of his own team.. it was like a movie the drama was so thick
    anyway, there was a blog entry on a blog called ‘Bleeding Pinstripes’ by Geoff (he blogs only when the season’s on).. one of his entries, ‘Big Fly’, is currently my favorite blog entry to date.. check it out..

  6. Jane Heller

    Loved it, levelboss. I wish Geoff had his blog going now, but I’ll look forward to his return in April. What a visual writer. I could have been there; that’s how it felt reading the entry. Thanks for sharing it.



    We all must ask ourselves what we want: big season numbers or the World Series ring? So… how about you? What do you want? A best-seller or the National Book Award? (Nope. You can’t say both.) Now, if you’re a Arodian, ways I seez it, you’re into the numbers. You want your 40 homeruns, your 10 weeks topping the list. If you’re a Jeterian, you get the grad students snapping their fingers in applause during your session with Dick Cavett at the New Yorker symposium. Who are you? el duque

  8. raysrenegade

    I remember when I first got to the NFL, I was not acting like myself, but was a shadow of what my team mates did and said off the field. I did not know how to adjust so fast to the changes in requests for my time, or the adulation of the fans were a bit intense at first.

    But I adjusted and was my self after about 3 weeks. To think that A- Rod went from laid-back Seattle fans , to the wholesome Arlington Texas posse, to the frantic man- eats beast New York fan base might have been a culture shock to him. We all know he has heard the jeers and insults, but not from the home team.

    That can rattle your psyche a bit. But he did seem more at ease after the All Star game that first season. I am not giving him a way out excuse, but sometimes you go into a situation numb because you are afraid of the truth.

    Rays Renegade

  9. Jane Heller

    Who am I? Hm. Such an existential question, duque. I’m Arodian, yes, but there’s Jeterian in me too. Even a little Ponsonian.

    You were in the NFL, renegade? Did I know that? I must be losing it! Anyhow, I can’t imagine performing on a big stage like NY, but then that’s why I sit at a computer all day. The pressure seems impossible. Some athletes clearly handle it better than others.

  10. Erin Kathleen

    I’ve never really understood why Yankee fans and the media are so down on ARod all the time. He’s probably the best 3B in baseball right now (defensively and offensively), and has to be one of the greatest of all time. And yes, his pursuit of personal numbers might seem kind of selfish, but don’t 54 homes and 156 RBI help your team to make the playoffs in the first place? And like you said, ARod is hardly the only one who choked against the Indians in the ALDS, but yet he gets all the blame. As a fan of a team that hasn’t had an everyday 3B in over four years, we would gladly take him off of your hands. If you would continue to pay most of his salary, of course;)

    I realize that a lot of people don’t like him because he’s not exactly a good person, but you know what? Kirby Puckett wasn’t either. He was probably worse than ARod in many ways, and yet Twins fans conveniently forget all about that stuff and still think of him as a hero.

  11. Jane Heller

    I think the main reason, Erin, is that he’s not Jeter. He doesn’t have a WS ring. He wasn’t part of the dynasty in the late ’90s. He hasn’t had that one huge hit in the postseason. We’ll see how he’s received by the fans this season. You make a good point about Puckett.

  12. Jane Heller

    I remember those walk-offs, Jeff. He certainly had the crowd on his side then, only to get booed on occasion last season. We Yankee fans are a cruel lot.

  13. Elizabeth D

    Much as I really hate A-Rod, I do understand your reasons for backing him. Sometimes you have to look beyond what he does in his personal life and just focus on the baseball. I’d be a hypocrite if denied that since I advocate forgiving Pete Rose.

  14. Jane Heller

    Sometimes the best players aren’t the best human beings, Elizabeth. I learned that early on with Mickey Mantle. But it doesn’t diminish what they do on the field. Not for me, anyway.

  15. joefromnewhampshire

    I didn’t mean that to come off the way it did way up in my first comment, I just think that in baseball carrying a team is much different than in basketball or something. Rodriguez was the best player in baseball that season, but even the best player needs a lot of help to reach 94 wins, having a catcher in posada, who had a great season, was one of the aiding pieces, and there were others too…

  16. Jane Heller

    Sure, it takes more than one player to win 94 games, Joe. No question. And Posada did have a career year in ’07. But A-Rod’s season was magical.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s