October 8, 2009

Just how big were A-Rod’s RBI singles?

The target of constant offseason berating and insulting was as quiet as an owl during daylight this season. The man who never has been able to “do it” in the playoffs did it. And he did it twice in the first game.

Alex Rodriguez snapped a streak of 19 consecutive postseason at bats without an RBI with his fifth-inning single. It came with two outs and the captain at second base. A-Rod lined a shot to left to drive in Derek Jeter. He received a huge ovation for coming through in a pressure-packed situation.

Then, he did it again in the seventh. He nearly drove the ball over the fence to right, but wound up at first while Jeter trotted home, once again. So what does this all mean for A-Rod? Well, the monkey is certainly off his back now.

The playoffs are such a short time span that even if you fail in a few at bats, it seems as though you are in a slump. I feel that has really put A-Rod in a hole that gets harder and harder to dig himself out after missing opportunity after opportunity. Getting two RBI singles under his belt in the first game is huge for his confidence, and now makes him the most feared hitter in this talented Yankee lineup.

So why did I refer to him as “A-Roid” in last night’s ‘cap? Because he still lied. I still hate the guy as a person, but I also know he is smart. Just think about how his season would have gone if he had spoken up about anything this year. His reputation as a juiced up hitter would have inflated through the roof. He keeps quiet, sets records and his team wins. He gets paid $30 million. Nobody pays an idiot $30 million.

I completely credit A-Rod for his early postseason success, and have no doubts about his future success because of the way he has handled the media this year. Yes, the media does have an effect on the game, if you didn’t realize that. I also think it is vital that he knows if he fails, the guy behind him will pick him up. And that’s what happened with Hideki Matsui last night. Just knowing that he has backup allows him to swing freely and have confidence at the plate.

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