NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The World Series is over. Major League Baseball’s offseason has begun.
That means Alex Rodriguez’s full-season suspension is done. Over. Kaput.READ MORE: New York State To Adopt New CDC Guidelines For Vaccinated People Starting This Wednesday, Cuomo Says
And boy, could the New York Yankees use him.
For one, Vinny Milano — aka Bald Vinny of the Yankee Stadium Bleacher Creatures — is ready to welcome back the embattled third baseman.
“I think a lot of people get real negative these days and everybody just wants to be quick to get on somebody’s case,” Bald Vinny told WFAN’s Mike Francesa earlier this month. “I think it’s time for fans to be a little supportive.”
Bald Vinny has been selling #FORG1V3 T-shirts — a play on the #RE2PECT hashtag made popular during Derek Jeter’s final season — in support of A-Rod, who was banned for the entire 2014 campaign for his role in MLB’s Biogenesis scandal.
“It’s easy to cheer for the icon,” he said. “I like to cheer for the guy who needs a little but of support, so A-Rod could certainly use a little bit of fan support. I’m happy to get behind him.”
It remains to be seen how A-Rod — who eventually dropped all lawsuits against his team, league and union — will fit in after bringing a scorched-earth approach to his appeal.
“Whatever happens between Alex and the Yankees will happen,” outgoing Commissioner Bud Selig said in September. “It’s up to them now.”READ MORE: New Jersey Schools To Fully Reopen For In-Person Classes This Fall, Gov. Murphy Says
Manager Joe Girardi doesn’t think it’ll be an issue. At least not in the clubhouse.
“Our teammates enjoy Alex, his presence in the clubhouse, the way he likes to teach the game and talk about the game,” Girardi said during his season-ending press conference. “Will he have to deal from some angry fans? Yeah, but we’ll help him get through that. When was the last time Alex hasn’t had to deal with that? So it’s not like it’s something that he’s not used to, and sometimes players thrive on that.”
Then there are questions about how the soon-to-be 40-year-old will hold up on two surgically repaired hips.
Girardi has said A-Rod will need to prove himself at third base. He could also see some time at first. Some believe at this point in his career, Rodriguez would best serve the team as a full-time designated hitter, especially considering New York’s offensive woes this past season.
“I don’t know what to expect in terms of production from Alex,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman recently said. “He’ll push hard and compete hard to be the everyday guy at third.”
The slugger is owed $61 million through 2017, plus milestone bonuses that will kick in as he climbs the all-time home runs list. Rodriguez is No. 5 with 654 long balls — just six shy of Willie Mays.
It’ll be interesting. Entertaining, for sure.
What else would you expect from A-Rod?
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