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OT- today's Ettkin article in the TU


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OK, so I lost a lot of respect for Ettkin with his column against the UA stadium..but I think he earned *some* of it back with this gem re: A-Rod.


Thanks, A-Rod, for clean split




Click byline for more stories by writer.

First published: Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Alex Rodriguez for this: His departure was painless. He's gone, and we don't feel a thing, other than annoyance because he behaved like the guy his detractors had always claimed he was -- disingenuous, self-centered and insincere.


We're not angry he opted out of a contract that would've paid him $91 million for the next three seasons and declined to negotiate a contract extension when the Yankees, according to the Daily News, were prepared to offer him a five-year extension in the $135 million to $140 million range.


We're not irritated he reportedly didn't return separate phone calls from Hank and Hal Steinbrenner, who wanted to personally express their desire for him to remain a Yankee.


We're not disappointed that unless the Yankees experience a change of heart, we're losing the best player in baseball and the chance to see him splash Wite-Out onto baseball's record book, then rewrite it.


We're pleased, actually, which is a baffling thing to say about losing a player coming off what will be deemed an MVP season. But it's true.


A-Rod wore the pinstripes, but they never fit. He didn't occupy the precious space beneath our breastbone into which we welcome our most beloved sports figures. He departs to jeers, not tears, his final day as a Yankee ensuring this would be an easy and welcome goodbye. After A-Rod permitted his agent to tell reporters in the middle of the World Series-clinching game Sunday night of his client's decision to opt out, A-Rod looked like a diva vainly glomming the spotlight in a production in which he had no part. He had no place intruding on another team's hard-earned glory.


After his agent, Scott Boras, who speaks in tongues -- some forked -- claimed A-Rod was opting out because A-Rod was uncertain about the Yankees' future with Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte entering free agency, we saw A-Rod for what he is: phonier than a three-dollar bill.


Does anyone really think the Yankees are on the verge of becoming a .500 team that signs players on the cheap from soup kitchens -- or that A-Rod's desire to play for a winner is the reason he decided to LEAVE North America's most successful pro sports franchise?


This is, after all, the guy who took the money from the Texas Rangers when they had the worst ERA in the American League the season before AND after he signed with them. Now he's worried about the Yankees becoming those Texas Rangers?


No, this was a cover story, an implausible explanation proffered as truth. A-Rod didn't want to play inside Yankee Stadium's petri dish. Otherwise he would've at least heard the Yankees' offer.


There's nothing wrong with wanting to play elsewhere. A-Rod is sensitive to criticism and scrutiny, and every star who plays for the Yankees endures criticism and scrutiny, even St. Jeter.


Fair or not, and it's really not, he was going to stay A-Lightning Rod until he excelled for the Yankees in the postseason and they won a World Series.


Most of us wouldn't want to carry a steamer trunk so weighted down by expectations.


But it rankles that A-Rod had said he wanted to stay in New York and finish his career as a Yankee. Either he experienced a change of heart or decided when asked about his intentions it'd be easier to habitually lie about them. We all know now he had no intention of staying.

A-Rod's production at a difficult-to-fill position will be missed -- nobody denies that -- but not his mental fragility. Besides, alternative ways to effectively spend the millions A-Rod would've received do exist. The Yankees' modern dynasty won World Series championships because they had outstanding pitching, not a surplus of hitting.


And despite what Boras claims, fans didn't flood Yankee Stadium to see A-Rod. Many of them watched Yankee games in spite of A-Rod. They came for the winning and the franchise's aura, the championships and the stars -- and not just the highest paid one.


The Yankees will manage without him. So will we. A-Rod did us a final favor. He made losing baseball's greatest player easy, a clean break.


Ettkin can be reached at 454-5457 or by e-mail at bettkin@timesunion.com. Check out his blog at http://blogs.timesunion.com/.

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