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2015 Season in Review: Alex Rodriguez

Over the next couple of weeks, the Bronx Pinstripes team is going to review every player’s season on the 2015 Yankees… the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m going to kick it off with everyone’s favorite, Alex Emmanuel Rodriguez.


What a crazy year it was for Alex Rodriguez. As we all know, ARod was coming back from a year-long suspension that kept him out of the entire 2014 season. Nobody knew what the Yankees were going to get out of ARod, not even he knew. Early in the season the Yankees were playing games, leaving him out of their social media posts like they were a ninth grade girl who just got dumped by the high school quarterback. He had home run milestones upcoming but the Yankees were not going to pay his bonuses because they were no longer “marketable opportunities.” His 3,000th hit was looming in the distance like Judgement Day, which we all thought would be more awkward than celebratory. Not many people predicted ARod would have a productive year, and those that did were mostly doing so ironically. In fact, we did a podcast back in March in which we said the Yankees would be lucky if ARod was simply not a distraction this season. Damn, that seems like ages ago…

ARod batted seventh on Opening Day and was greeted with cheers from the Yankee Stadium crowd. In a Jeter-less world, ARod was the 2015 New York Yankees drawing card. That was a SCARY proposition at the time. Little did we know that 5 days later Alex would be batting third against the Red Sox and would never look back.

At 40 years old, after two hip surgeries and sitting for a year, Alex had a legitimately productive season. For most of the year he was a force in the middle of the lineup, and the ARod-Tex duo was one of the best in baseball. There were a number of games in which he put the team on his back. On April 17 in Tampa he hit 2 home runs and had 4 RBIs in a game the Yankees won 5-4. On May 1 in Boston he hit a go-ahead pinch-hit home run in the 8th to shut the Fenway crowd up, and win the game for the Yankees. On July 25 in Minnesota he hit 3 home runs in a huge Yankees comeback win, including a game tieing HR in the 9th inning. There were a number of other moments this season, but those are some that come to mind.

The highlight of his season happened on June 19, when he became the 29th player of the 3,000 hit club.

A couple months later on September 13, the Yankees honored ARod at the Stadium for his milestone. All remnants of a rift between ARod and management had evaporated in a short 6 month span.

Not only was ARod the team MVP on the field, but he shut his mouth off the field and was a leader in the clubhouse. I, along with many others, begged ARod to embrace the “bad guy” persona and not try and make everyone like him. Instead, he somehow managed to get everybody to like him again but did so in a genuine way. Early in the season Didi Gregorius was really struggling but ARod worked with him at shortstop and calmed the seemingly overwhelmed Didi down. If you didn’t realize, Didi was one of the Yankees’ best players after June 1. (I’m not saying that was ARod’s doing, but I’m also not not saying that.) The reality was the 2015 Yankees had become ARod’s team.

For years we questioned ARod’s PR moves like sunbathing shirtless in Central Park, announcing he was opting out of his contract during the 2007 World Series, or barging into Mike Francesa’s show after barging out of court (ok, I actually kind of liked that one). But at some point, the previously PR-inept ARod got it.

That 15 second quote from Alex back in July summed up his entire year. He was back to being “Alex” and just playing baseball, a game in which he is freakishly good at. After the Minnesota comeback a few days later ARod was interviewed and, instead of talking about his 3 home runs, talked about John Ryan Murphy’s home run and the team chemistry. He was the leader the Yankees did not know he was capable of being.

It was not a perfect season for ARod however. Yes, he and the entire team faded down the stretch and he showed his age. He struck out more times this season than any other in his career. Next season the Yankees are going to have to monitor ARod, Teixeira, and others’ playing time to ensure their health in September. The team had young players contribute this season that should continue to improve under the veteran leadership of ARod and others next season. If the Yankees play their cards right, they will have a nice mix of young talent and veteran players.

And if you need any more proof that 2015 was the year of the ‘ARodaissance’, he made his TV debut on Sunday and will appear on the FOX MLB postseason broadcast. In a years time ARod went from hated villain to lovable underdog…pretty remarkable for somebody with his history.