Friday was the last day of Alex Rodriguez as a New York Yankee! He was released from the team but was given a ceremonial send off, which had a lot less pomp-and-show than the send off for Derek Jeter. Still, it was a send off worthy of a 13-year Yankee, not perfect but not without talent either.
I am not an A-Rod fan. I actually prefer Bernie Williams as an example of a good player who does whatever needs to be done quietly. It is important to celebrate low key souls like Bernie. Rahul Dravid in India and Tim Duncan from San Antonio are two players who are less flash and all fact. Anyway A-Rod was on my fantasy team last year, helped me finish in top six and well that’s something.
Anyway, after the game, when he said his final goodbye, I got a little misty eyed. I guess, I am not a hater at heart and as a result even I got over the A-Rod’s sins! Or perhaps I know that I live in a glass house myself. Anyway it was sad end to a splashy career of once in a lifetime player. It was a rude reminder that no matter who you are, time finally gets you. Somehow, time sends you a rude reminder that you are human, here on this planet for a short time and then gone, back to being carbon in the soil.
Saturday was a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Yankees World Series after a long one. It was thanks to the infusion of youth and a blend of veteran talent that made that championship possible. It is a great formula – fearlessness and lack of any institutional memory of the young with the steadying experience of the established.
The young don’t grow up with baggage of the “what ifs” while grown ups come with answers, pattern recognition and most importantly, ability to get it done right. They come with the knowledge of now and more seasoned come with an arsenal of how.
It is true in movies, startups or baseball teams. It was so good that the Yankees kept on winning and then they forgot what made them great.
At trading deadline this year, Yankees finally realized that they need to get rid of their bad habits of buying big names and start stocking and developing their own farm system and bet on some of the young kids. Spending money to buy aging all stars is not a sustainable strategy. And Saturday was a great example of the type of energy young talent brings to the field. Tyler Austin who grew up a Yankees fan joined the team, and hit a home run in his first bat. Aaron Judge, another rookie call up, too hit another dinger in his first at bat. I would take losing with the new talent than mediocrity.
I am excited for the first time in a long time for Yankees are watchable again. And yet I can’t think about A-Rod and the end of the road for him. I have been there – it has taken a long time to get comfortable with the idea that I won’t get up at 4 am to get on a press call or break a story by chasing down sources for days at length, forgetting about everything else. It is how the circle of life goes – around and around. Till someone new comes around. Thanks for all the memories Alex. Too bad I couldn’t appreciate you more, but I hope you find happiness.
PS: I became a US citizen three years ago. And now I get to vote, for the first time. Time flies!
August 13, 2016 San Francisco!