After playing sparingly over the last several weeks, Alex Rodriguez, who is hitting just .204 this season, will retire from Major League Baseball. His last game is Friday at home against Tampa Bay.
“I think this was a way to just sort of let everybody save face and let the inevitable happen,” New York Daily News Yankees beat writer Mark Feinsand said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney, referring to A-Rod’s midseason goodbye. “Alex wasn’t playing, he wasn’t going to play anytime soon – Joe Girardi had made that pretty clear, especially this week. He didn’t play him against Steven Matz or Bartolo Colon. If you’re going to play him at all, those are the match-ups to play him in. I think this was a way the Yankees could release him while letting him save a little face. I think Alex understood there aren’t a whole lot of opportunities out there for him to continue playing, even if he wants to. I’m not saying it’s impossible that he plays out, but I think most likely Friday we will see his final at-bats.”
Rodriguez broke into the bigs in 1994 and spent his final 13 seasons with the Yankees. He is a 14-time All-Star, a 10-time Silver Slugger winner, a three-time MVP, a World Series champion and ranks fourth all time with 696 home runs.
“I think 2009 in general was probably the most compelling period to cover him,” Feinsand said. “From the first steroid admission to hip surgery to him coming back and having a really good year and of course helping the Yankees to the World Series – it was like a full year of 180 and going from shamed steroid user to injured player to postseason hero. That was probably the most compelling year to cover him, but obviously . . . 13 seasons covering him has brought a lot of ups and a low of downs.”
Feinsand, in fact, called A-Rod “the Howard Stern of baseball.”
“You may love him, you may hate him, but everybody pays attention to him,” Feinsand said. “He’s certainly been the most interesting player I’ve ever covered.”
The Yankees play a three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park beginning Tuesday. Feinsand expects Rodriguez to play at some point in this series.
“I think they boo the hell out of him,” Feinsand said of the Boston faithful. “They never liked Jeter, but they respected him, and when he was going out, there was no question they were going to show that love and that respect. I don’t think that respect is there for Alex. I think their last images of Alex are the fight with Jason Varitek, slapping Bronson Arroyo’s glove – I don’t think they have that same respect for him and I think they will boo him. I think Yankee Stadium will be a love fest on Friday night, but Fenway will boo him.”