When Alex Rodriguez joined the New York Yankees one thing seemed odd. The World Series seemed to have gone away to a land far, far away. After all, they had won six out of eight American League pennants before he joined the team. But yet entering the 2009 season, the Yanks spent none of his first five years playng for it all.
They came close in '04 while they won a total of four postseason games the next three years combined. Making things worse came in '08 when the team failed to make the postseason for the first time since 1993. You can't count the strike year of 1994 because there were no playoffs. If there were, the Yanks would have been in them. Save that story for another day, okay?
The last year of the old Yankee Stadium, in 2008, could not be pinned on A-Rod. But his first five years in pinstripes were the kind spoiled Yankee fans like me hoped to forget. In 2005 and 2007 he was the American League's Most Valuable Player. That was the first time a Yankee won multiple MVP awards since Roger Maris. What a coincidence that is. Yankee fans despised Maris the way many do today with A-Rod. The guy chased down Babe Ruth's single season home run record on top of those awards and he still got booed. Tough town.
When the Yankees won the American League East in 2009 the question remained: "Can A-Rod finally come through in October?" I got my answer in the second game of the divisional series against Minnesota.
The Yanks began their postseason with a game one win over the Twins in the new house, 7-2. I could not wait for game two. Unfortunately I had a date with a special girl. We had made plans to see Couples Retreat. When I got to the movie theatre I was listening to the game on the radio. It was the top of the eigth when the Twins broke a 1-1 tie to take a 3-1 lead. Oh well. The series will be tied, I thought.
The movie was a half hour old when I felt my phone vibrating. Then it vibrated again. And again. I had to be "that guy" and check my cell. My brother texted me A-Rod hit a two-run bomb to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth.
I felt like getting out of my seat and jumping up and down. It was like I just found out a two-hour delay turned into a snow day. Making things better I was watching with my dream girl who might have been my "Lucky Charm." I called her LC everyday after that. The stars kept aligning when we were together.
Shortly after getting a good night kiss that night my phone went off again. This time it was a co-worker telling me Mark Teixeira hit a game-winning home run in the bottom of the eleventh. What an amazing night. Anyone close to me knows I was all about A-Rod through all of his struggles in clutch spots. This was the year, I thought to myself on my way home. This was the year he would bring the Yanks back to Wall Street.