NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It looked like the baseball gods were angry Friday night, as storm clouds and lightning moved into the sky over Yankee Stadium ahead of the final game in pinstripes for Alex Rodriguez — and fans have mixed opinions about the end of the A-Rod era.
As CBS2’s Otis Livingston reported, there was no middle ground with Rodriguez. Whether you loved him or hated him, people always had an opinion about him.
“At least they should have let them play this whole week,” Helene Zipper said. “I think he deserves a lot more respect than he’s getting.”
However, Rodriguez did receive a number of standing ovations on Friday, after lightning interrupted a pregame appearance.
A-Rod served as the designated hitter and batted third in his final Yankees game Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Rodriguez’s request to play third base was rejected by manager Joe Girardi, who continues to go by the mantra he’s trying to win games.
Rodriguez delivered for the fans with a double in his first at bat, and helped the Yankees beat Tampa Bay 6-3.
It’s been a roller-coaster ride since Rodriguez joined the Yankees in 2004. He won two MVPs and a world championship, and of course, there were his steroid admission and suspension.
As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, despite the steroid scandal and all of the drama, many fans seemed forgiving.
“All these old names they have steroids attached to them, but nobody really remembers that. They want to remember the good things,” Jessica Tufano said.
It all came to an end Friday night.
“Everyone’s excited. I’m excited,” A-Rod told reporters before the game. “You never really prep for this day, but here it is, and hopefully I get to enjoy it. I know that I’m going to savor every moment, every at-bat.”
Over his 22-year career, A-rod made $448-million in salary alone, more money than any other baseball player in history — $317-million of that has been paid by the Yankees.
So, did the team get its money’s worth?
“Definitely not, but they made the deal so they gotta live with it,” Rick Cioffi said.
“Stadiums sold out because of A-Rod. He brought so much controversy through the press and everything, so he made sales, he brought New York money,” Andre Murray countered.
But is this the end for A-Rod? Some fans aren’t so sure.
“Me personally, I see A-Rod playing wearing a Marlins jersey,” one fan said.
CBS2’s Steve Overmyer, equipped with a large photo of A-Rod and a whiteboard, hit the streets Friday to ask people if they were glad or sad that the A-Rod era is drawing to a close.
PHOTOS: Alex Rodriguez’s Yankees Years
When asked why he voted for sad, one man said, “Because I’m an Orioles fan, and he’s terrible.”
Another man who voted for glad, said, “Stop cheating, bro!”
One man wrote “GOAT” on the board, for “greatest of all time.”
In all, Overmyer talked to 112 people, and most said they were sad to see Rodriguez go.
The Yankees will officially release A-Rod on Saturday, when he returns to Miami to spend time with his family. He has not used the word retire at all this week.