The guy you love to hate is back...and this time with legacy on his mind.
Alex Rodriguez served his time for his PED usage...again, but has turned out to be a very pleasant surprise for the Yankees this season. Does that make him an All Star?
If we look at his numbers, he's already beat out his projections for the entire year. A-Rod was supposed to turn in a weakish season hitting .237/.321/.385 and 13 dingers. At that level he would be a "pretty good" DH and the Yankees have promised him so much money that they might as well get "some" benefit out of his service time.
Continuing to surprise, A-Rod has turned in .280/.381/.506 with 15 homers as we approach the first half. He's the top DH for homers and is in the Top 25 in the AL in OBP and Slugging. He also set new career milestones passing Willie Mays with his 661st home run and let's not forget that he also earned his 3001th hit, surpassing the internationally beloved Roberto Clemente in doing so. It's now conceivable if not inevitable that A-Rod can play long enough to accumulate more home runs than Babe Ruth.
How could a guy with this kind of season not be an All Star?
The names of the guys he passed this year's in the record books are the biggest clue.
Clemente was the pride of Puerto Rico and tragically lost his life delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Simply put, a man with the heart of a mountain. A hero.
Mays. Perhaps the greatest who ever played the game. The Goodwill Ambassador of Baseball. The man had a smile that could melt a glacier.
Being an All Star isn't just about having success on the field. It's about being recognized and applauded for contributing to your team's success in ways that may not show up in box scores. It's about those intangibles that function in harmony with natural talent and ability. This (and other financial considerations) is why every team is represented at the game.
A-Rod, you may be an All Star to the guy who picked you up for a $1 in the Fantasy League, but from the cheap seats, you're just an overpaid player who's over performing what the experts projected.
Turn over a new leaf. Keep it turned for three more seasons and things just...might...change.