NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — To boo or not to boo?
Alex Rodriguez is “super excited” for his return to the Bronx on Friday night, though he has to be aware of the reception that likely — OK, definitely — awaits after being in the headlines for nearly seven months in baseball’s Biogenesis mess.
“Again, I’m just super excited to come home, put on the pinstripes and play for the greatest fans in baseball,” A-Rod said Wednesday. “I am looking forward to getting back home. I have waited a long time. It’s a privilege to get home on a Friday night.”
A-Rod was showered with boos in Chicago hours after being hit with a 211-game suspension Monday. Talk about a rough season debut. The boo-birds were just as relentless during his next two games.
Next he’ll return to Yankee Stadium, where the Bombers will kick off their series Friday against the Detroit Tigers. Yes, the same Tigers that A-Rod, with a bad hip, struggled so mightily against in last year’s ALCS.
He heard the boos then — Flirtgate didn’t help his cause — and he’s expected to hear them again in the Bronx.
“I am curious what it’s going to be like Friday,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I’m not sure. And I don’t really know what the appropriate response is. I don’t think it’s my right to tell people how to respond to certain situations.”
“We have great fans and we’ll see what happens,” Yankees president Randy Levine said Thursday, according to the New York Post.
A-Rod said he was “not sure” how he’d be received at the Stadium.
So how would he like the fans to react?
“Same way you would like,” said Rodriguez, who is playing while he formally appeals his suspension.
He’ll get some of that golden rule treatment from the Bleacher Creatures in Section 203, who have vowed to include A-Rod in their famous first-inning roll call.
“Not for nothing, I feel like the guy needs a little bit of love,” Bleacher Creature “Bald Vinny” Milano told CBSNewYork.com. “It feels like nobody’s in his corner. For that brief minute we can show him that, yes, we’re in your corner, we’ve got your back. If you’re fighting for the Yankees and you’re trying to help us win, God damn it I’m gonna yell for you.”
But even Bald Vinny acknowledged A-Rod was in for a brutal homecoming.
“This guy gets booed when he goes to the supermarket. Are you kidding me?” he said. “There’s no way he’s not getting booed. I feel like he gets booed in his own apartment complex. He gets booed constantly. No question about it, he’s definitely getting booed, which I think is kind of all the more reason why we have to roll-call him.”
Meanwhile, the Yankees need a win in the worst way. Eleven games out of first and in danger of dipping to .500, New York will have Ivan Nova (5-4, 3.08 ERA) on the bump against the Tigers.
“I’ve been feeling really good,” Nova said. “Like I’ve said in the past, I don’t remember the last time I felt the way I feel now. I’m working hard to try to repeat it every time. I’m trying to go out there and do my job, try to help the team to win games.”
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