Plenty of time has passed since Alex Rodriguez played in his last MLB game in September of 2013. Now, on April 6th of 2015, A-Rod was welcomed back … with open arms?
Rodriguez got arguably the loudest ovation of any Yankee on Monday — clearly loud enough to erase any of the boos that may have been aimed at the PED offender from the Bronx crowd. I may be in the minority here, but I really anticipated more of a mixed reaction beforehand (if not more boos than cheers), and I was way off.
This is the same guy that’s lied to us time and time again, and this was the day I thought he finally wasn’t going to be accepted back. Of course, these are Yankee fans, Rodriguez certainly won’t get many warm welcomes as a visitor around the league this season. But even from the home crowd, this player keeps making the same mistake, then lying about it, and getting a pass because of his talent. A pass that probably should have been taken away a long time ago, but certainly should have been taken away this time.
A-Rod himself told us in his open letter to the fans that he doesn’t expect any of us to believe him anymore, that’s something he says he needs to earn back. He then reaffirmed those feelings on Opening Day.
“But let’s make it clear, the fans don’t owe me anything,” A-Rod told reporters after Monday’s 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays. “I’ve said all along during spring training, the part of feeling like a rookie is that I have to earn their cheers and respect.”
The guy is telling all of us not to cheer for him, and yet fans still do it anyway. Not only that, but Yankee stadium was filled with signs welcoming the slugger back. Even a “#FORG1V3” sign, paying tribute to Derek Jeter’s “#Re2pect” campaign from last season. Alex Rodriguez, however, is no Derek Jeter. Not even close.
To make matters worse, once the game began, the crowd started an “A-Rod!” chant to which Rodriguez tipped his cap from the dugout. This wasn’t a player coming back from a full season absence because of Tommy John surgery, this was a player returning from the largest PED suspension that MLB has ever had to hand down.
A-Rod went 1-for-2 with a walk on Monday. He had a pretty nice game, and, although he won’t be the star he once was, can be a pretty nice player for the Yanks this season. But let him show us that. Let him struggle. Let him get booed — and he will get booed. This guy doesn’t deserve our respect yet, and he’d be the first to tell you so.
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