I’m a die-hard Yankee Fan. I bleed the pinstripes, the tradition of excellence, the big market, the history. The Babe. The Iron Horse. The Yankee Clipper. The Captain. There’s one name I used to tolerate, but now I can’t stand: A-Rod.
The A-Rod saga has been playing out for years. Once the most gifted ballplayers of our generation, and the most highly compensated as well with a long term $275mm contract that would enable him to smash sport’s most prized record: The Home Run King record.
Then he admits to steroid use, without of course uttering the word “steroid.” And yet another publication comes out in early 2013 with more PED allegations. This of course off the heels of the 2011 and 2012 seasons, injury plagued and less than 20 home runs, hitting in the 270’s and the drama in the tabloids that never ends. A-Rod had a better shot being on the back page with Madonna, Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz vs. a triumphant walk-off for a Bombers victory.
Then came the final nail in the coffin. The 2012 playoffs where Joe Girardi benched him in three of the nine games and pinch hit for him in 3 critical spots. But you have to hand it to A-Rod, he still managed to pass his phone number to some females in the stands.
The NY Yankees have one standard: CHAMPIONSHIPS.
The playoffs are what counts. A-Rod has rarely performed in October, when it counts.
What does it say when the most highly paid athlete in sports is given multiple, clear cut votes of ZERO confidence in the playoffs? Simple: Game Over.
The Yankees operate in a world a bit unlike American business. They still owe him $114mm despite non performance. A-Rod can veto any trade the management wants to make. The Yanks appear stuck, as A-Rod has never indicated a desire to retire, or accept a trade. Let’s assume that A-rod’s position does not change. But there are always options, in sports or business.
Option 1: Do Nothing. Keep A-Rod on the team.
- A-Rod has another Hip Surgery, rehabs and MAYBE comes back in late 2013. Yanks continue to pay the rest of $114mm
- Let’s say he comes back in late summer. What will his performance be? Could he even match the production he put up in 2011-2012, which was far less than HALF of his “average” year? Long shot.
- If the Yanks make the play-offs, what are the odds that he would not be benched more often than he was in 2012? Slim. Confidence is fragile even in the most gifted athletes. The NY media has a field day on A-Rod and the pressure would be like nothing he has ever seen. That can’t help performance.
- Option 1, simply stated: SUCKS. No fan wants this. I bet the players don’t want this. Girardi already gave you his vote when it mattered most.
Option 2: Reason with Him; Tell him You are saying Goodbye. He’s off the team, effective immediately.
But here’s a token of our appreciation we hope you’ll accept.
- Sit him down. Tell him we are saying good bye. Thank him for his service. Give him ONE full year’s pay, maybe 2. That’s more than fair. If he accepts, everyone’s a winner. If he does not?
Option 3: Go to the Mattresses in the courts. He’s off the team effective immediately, win or lose in the courts.
- Sue him. He hasn’t showed up for work due to injuries. Prove that it was self-induced, at least in part due to PED usage. Downside is you loose and owe him the money anyway. Upside is you don’t, and maybe send a message along the way. Win a few chits in the court of public opinion for taking a stand.
No choice is acceptable other than getting him off the team. The only debate is do you fight to get out of the contract, or pay him sports richest contract when he’s not on the roster. Easy to say “get him off the team and pay him” when it’s not my money. The fact his the drain on the team, his performance, and the drama that comes with him ON the team, this is one of those events where addition happens by subtraction.
How about this in addition to saying goodbye on option 1 or 2?
Take the $114mm compensation they MAY save (if victorious) and LEAD major league baseball in the effort to clean up the PED issue once and for all. Set up a commission funded with this money, bring in outside talent from business, academia, and some trusted insiders. Have the games great ambassadors (ie Derek Jeter) take leadership roles. Lead the effort with Major League Baseball to clean up its act. Invest in youth education. Put money and talent against the problem. If MLB doesn’t get on board, do it anyway. Be bigger than the game. Your the NY Yankees.
You have the might, you have the brand, and you can and should get it done.
Integrity matters. No sport cherishes its records more than baseball. Nobody means more to the game than the Yankees.
I applaud the baseball writers of America for voting nobody into the 2013 class due to steroid allegations.
Unfortunately, the problem still exists in the game. The writer’s sent a message, which is a start. The problem won’t be solved unless it’s from the inside out. Leadership is needed. Who better than the NY Yankees to take a stand?
Start with getting your own house in order.