In the history of our society, many things have come and gone – lost forever to the history books. However, there is always one aspect that constantly remains: there will always be a villain.
Luke Skywalker had Darth Vader.
Kanye West had Jimmy Kimmel.
Tupac had The Notorious B.I.G.
The NBA had the Detroit Pistons in the late *80s/early 90s.
Cher had Sonny.
Even for a little while, the NFL had the Oakland (you young Raiders fans wouldn’t understand).
For the past few years, Major League Baseball had Alex Rodriguez.
The steroid era in baseball was synonymous with the likes of Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and A-Rod. Over the past five years, MLB did everything in their power to separate themselves from these players and one of the darkest periods of time in the game’s storied history. While many of them retired, baseball was left with their biggest enigma firmly in place – Alex Rodriguez. Luckily, the league managed to suspend him and thereby effectively eliminating him from the public eye…for a short amount of time.
But here we are again. Rodriguez has been reinstated and returned to the New York Yankees in preparation for the 2015 season. The man that perfectly epitomizes all that was wrong with baseball (and the Yankees) at one time will likely undo all of the goodwill that baseball had collected in his absence.
This is where the Yankees come into play. Villains of the league for so long, they have the rare opportunity for redemption – all they have to do is get rid of Rodriguez.
Baseball is better off without him. The league has moved on and the fans have progressed from the days of turning on ESPN daily and hearing new allegations of the game’s stars being busted for performance enhancement drugs. It’s like going back to that girlfriend that cheated on you before – you know it’s a bad idea, nothing good can come from it, but you just can’t rid yourself of her. You convince yourself she has changed and can once again be that girl you once loved…
…or in this case, that guy you paid $252 million to stay with you.
But the return of happier times won’t happen. The glory days are gone. The tantalizing talent that once filled spring days in New York with so much optimism has since dissipated.
Let’s be honest, she just doesn’t look that good in a bikini anymore – and Brian Cashman knows it.
“I can’t expect Alex to be anything,” the New York general manager stated Tuesday. “Even before the suspension, he wasn’t the same player at third base on the defensive or offensive side.”
The Yankees put their money where their mouth is by signing Chase Headley to a four-year, $52 million deal. They don’t trust Rodriguez. Hell, who trusts Rodriguez these days? Not Cashman, not Yankees fans, not baseball fans and definitely not Cameron Diaz.
Baseball is a different game today, thankfully. This is no longer a game built around ballooning biceps and short-tempered egos (leave that to another league). Baseball is a better game. Home runs are down and offense in general is not what is was in the days when Bonds and Rodriguez were anchoring the annual All Star games. Baseball is back to being exactly what makes it great – it’s strategic once again. The ball-bashing teams like the Yankees of old are no longer staples in the Fall Classic. Instead, we are seeing teams who are just average offensively in the World Series.
It’s beautiful and it is exciting.
There are only two possible ways this nightmare can end – Rodriguez goes all “Empire Strikes Back“-mode and sets the game of baseball back another ten years, or the Yankees become the anti-hero we are all championing them to become and take the first step towards removing him once and for all.
Do everyone who loves the game a favor, New York, and save baseball.
Cover Photo: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press
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