Friday, June 19, 2015

Thanks to A-Rod, The Yankees Hat is Back!

Well I wasn't sure if the Yankees hat would come out of retirement, but just like Andy Pettitte, I felt like I still had something in me and couldn't walk away just yet. It's time to make a comeback. And I have A-Rod to thank for it. 

I needed a reason to start writing again. Watching the most controversial New York Yankee break record after record, as well as becoming the newest member of the 3,000 hit club, and rising above all the hatred that's been surrounding him convinced me that this was a good place to start. 
I've taken the last few months off to just live life and focus on work for a while. It did not allow me much time for writing my blog but I feel the need to voice my opinion since my heart and soul belongs to this team and everything that surrounds it. 
So much has happened between now and the last blog entry I wrote so I'm not quite sure where to begin. 

I guess let's start with the reason why I'm back. It's simple...Alex Rodriguez. After so much controversy surrounding him and watching him struggle for the last year to gain some love back from the fans, I wanted to chime in on this emotional roller coaster and express my feelings on the matter.

Here's a guy who at one time was loved by the Yankees organization and the fans. Not only did his paycheck show it but the fans embraced him and looked at him as the man who could help them get a 28th World Series win. And then...the unthinkable happened. 
We all know how devastating it was to learn that our hero had let us down. Not only did he lose our trust as fans but his attitude was disappointing and made us grow too dislike him as a person.

No one likes to be lied to and no one likes a cheater. But the worst thing is when someone shows no remorse for what they did. I can go into the many psychological reasons why this happened but that's for another day. I don't agree with what A-Rod did and how he handled it, but we all know that there are so many other players out there not only in major-league baseball, but in all sports around the leagues that use performance enhancing drugs to step up their game. The only difference is that A-Rod got caught and the others are still out there doing it.

The bottom line is this, even if he took these drugs he still has to hit the ball. He still has to have his timing down. He still has to work hard every day to maintain strength and focus so that when he steps up to the plate the only one that can get the job done is Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod has served his time and has now proven to us that he is still a powerhouse hitter and a tremendous athlete. But what's more incredible to me is that through this whole experience, he has become a better person. It has humbled him as a human being and I have seen first hand the personal changes in his life. His attitude is better. He is more kind and genuine. He appreciates his fans. And he sees things in a different light. I know this because I had the opportunity to watch him in action during spring training this year just a few months ago. I saw Alex taking batting practice in Tampa Florida just before a game and Reggie Jackson was coaching him. Now as a Yankees fan, this was epic for me because here were two Yankees icons that I loved and adored working together on skills and focus. I was watching a student and a teacher and I can tell you that A-Rod was a great student. He was listening and wanted to learn and be the best that he could be. It was a great moment not only to see some of my favorite players behind the scenes, but to see a man who was trying so hard not only to better his game but to better his heart.
After batting practice ended, fans were cheering for him and asked him for autographs from the other side of the fence. He graciously said "meet me down there" and pointed to the end of the field where he met his adoring fans and signed every ball and piece of paper that they handed to him. A-Rod didn't play in that particular game that I was at but the vision of him embracing his fans and trying so hard to excel at what he does best stuck with me the entire game. The guy was focused and humble and it was a different kind of A-Rod that I had never seen before. And I believe it's just a matter of time that the rest of the world gets to see him this way to.

How hard it must be and how awful it must feel to stand before a crowd that at one point loved you and now they boo you and call you names and make you feel ashamed. The way A-Rod has been handling everything has been commendable. He never gave up. He just kept his head in the game and kept playing. He persevered and because of that he has great success. And good for him. The guy needs a break. I can only imagine how many nights he went home feeling depressed with so many mixed emotions. No one likes to be hated. We are a society that thrives on love and acceptance. I guarantee he doesn't go home smiling when the fans and baseball lovers everywhere turn their backs on him and refuse to forgive him and make him feel rejected. No matter how many boo's he got or how many unkind remarks that were made about him, he pushed forward and is now proving to all of us that he is not only an incredible athlete but he's turning out to be an incredible man. I tip my Yankees hat to you Alex Rodriguez and give you much respect. 
I watched him hit number 3,000 last night and I have to say I was overjoyed for him. For once the fans were cheering for him, his teammates embraced him, Joe Girardi hugged him and even the Yankees organization supported him. At one point A-Rod stepped back out on to the field and waved to the crowd as they cheered him on for accomplishing what only 28 others in MLB have done. A-Rod is number 29 to hit 3,000 and to make it even sweeter, it was a home run! Fans are slowly falling in love with him again. It actually brought tears to my eyes and touched my heart. I love to see when people are happy. And I love it when people deserve praise for the good things they have done. I believe that Alex has learned a lot and grown from this whole experience and I can't wait to see him continue to prove to us that he is once again a good man and a legendary player. We all deserve a second chance and forgiveness in life. Let's give the guy some love. Congrats A-Rod and thank you for bringing me out of retirement. 

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