On Thursday night, Alex Rodriguez will sit inside the broadcast booth at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Alongside play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt, the FOX Sports’ analyst will inspect his former team from atop, and so far, he likes what he’s seeing from the Yankees.
“People keep asking me, ‘Are they for real?’ It’s a quick yes,” Rodriguez told reporters on Wednesday. “They are for real and they’re getting balance and contribution from top to bottom. Most teams have a 25-man roster and they’ve constructed a 35-man roster. That’s good for us. That’s a good sign for our front office.”
Us? Our front office? Oh, right–he’s still a special advisor to Yankees’ owner Hal Steinbrenner. But, A-Rod’s full-time gig is on television, a job he’s so talented at that he could be called a natural.
“Look, this year so far has been a great story with the Yankees,” he said. “It’s really a celebration of what they’ve done.”
The Yankees have been celebrating quite a lot this season. Entering Thursday, the team has won 24 games, which ranks first in the East division standings and second among all American League clubs. They lead the AL in runs (219), home runs (59), batting average (.276), on-base (.356) and slugging (.461) and have scored 18 runs against the lackluster Royals in the last two nights. With the blend of veteran leadership and exuberance from youth, New York has–at least for the meantime–emerged as a legitimate playoff contender.
Were the Yankees preseason favorites to some? Sure. But even for Rodriguez–who left a team feebly fighting for a second wild card spot last September–he didn’t foresee this.
“They were my pick to click when we did our picks in March, but I think anyone would be lying to think they would mature this quickly,” A-Rod said. “It’s been a beautiful thing for watch. So even me, who expected them to be in the postseason and surprise a lot of people, they’ve even surprised me and I know these guys very well.”
Rodriguez and Burkhardt will have the call on FS1 as the Yankees look for their second three-game sweep on the road this year.