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Joe Girardi Is Kind Of Being A Dick About The A-Rod Retirement Thing

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees - Game One

Even though I’m not a Yankee fan, I still find this whole A-Rod retirement story to be absolutely fascinating.

For me — and I’ve admitted this before — I’m not one of those Red Sox fans who hates A-Rod. I actually kind of like the guy. I started to change my perception of him when he began doing pre and postgame coverage for the nationally broadcasted postseason games. He comes off as incredibly bright and knowledgable, while being both sincere and friendly. It could be an act in an attempt to be liked, which I wrote was one of his biggest goals all along. If that’s what he’s trying to do, then it’s working for me.

But let’s not forget that this is a guy who probably, in the end, deserves the shit end of the stick, which is what the Yankees are giving him on his way out. Friday will be A-Rod’s last game in the MLB, and we knew that prior to this three-game series in Boston. The Red Sox made it clear that they would do nothing to honor A-Rod in his final series at Fenway Park, which was to be expected. But it seems that his own team really doesn’t care much to make his final few games in the majors very special for him, either.

In fact, Yankees manager Joe Girardi seems kind of pissed off about the whole thing. In an interview with ESPN, he sounded pretty fed up with farewell tours in the Bronx.

I’m not saying that I don’t think I can win with Alex in the lineup. What I’m saying is that I’m putting out what I feel is the best lineup. As we sit around and talk about it as coaches, that’s my job. That is in my job description. My job description does not entail a farewell tour. My job description is to try and win every game and put everyone in the best possible position, and that’s what I’m trying to do.

I’m gonna agree and disagree with Girardi at the same time here. That sounds stupid, but hear me out. I agree that farewell tours in baseball, and sports in general, can get out of hand, and there’s no better example of that than the one that Girardi had a front row seat to two years ago when Derek Jeter stumbled his way through his worst full season ever, accumulating an OPS that was exactly 200 points below his career average (.617). Some would even argue that playing Jeter every day that year, so that fans could see him one last time, ended up costing the Yankees a playoff spot. I think we all know that Girardi would not have put a player in the lineup every day with those numbers, if it were anyone else in the world but Jeter in their final season.

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But this year? Come on, Joe. The Yankees are cooked. They’re painfully mediocre, and they have been all year. I could’ve told you back in May that this team wasn’t going anywhere, but now you KNOW they’re not going anywhere, because they just sold off two of your best pitchers, AND your best offensive player. Season’s over. Shut out the lights. Spare me this argument that you’re playing to win games. You’re not. You’re playing games to keep yourself busy until 2017.

Don’t tell me that A-Rod’s not in the lineup every day of the final week of his career, because you’re trying to win games, when you trot out Mark Teixeira, who is also retiring at the end of the year, all while Teixeira has the lowest batting average of any first baseman in the MLB (.198), and the lowest OPS, too (.625). That’s bullshit, and you know it. It’d be a different story if A-Rod were hanging it up at the end of the year like Teixeira. He’s done at the end of the week. Let the guy play through the end of the week. You literally have nothing to lose.

Here’s where I thought Girardi was being a dick about all of this. So, the Yankees could’ve just released A-Rod right away, but they didn’t. They’re letting him finish out his career the way that he wanted to, kind of. They picked Friday for his final game, because he wanted one last game at Yankee Stadium. It’s his last game, and he’s going to go down as arguably the greatest shortstop who ever played, who, back when he came to New York, gave up that position — very unselfishly, I might add — in order to come to the Yankees and win a championship, because Jeter was already there. He’s not a DH; he just became one due to injuries over the years.

Apparently, A-Rod asked Girardi if he could play third base in his final game on Friday, and Girardi said no. What the fuck, man? Really? This guy wants to soak it all in, and bid farewell to the game the way that he came in, as one of the best infielders in history, and you’re going to deny him of that for no good reason, in a season when you have no shot of making it to the postseason? That’s a dick move, and I hope that even the baseball fans who hate A-Rod can at least recognize that that’s a dick move.

Listen, A-Rod has done a lot of horrible things in his career. There’s no denying his past. But whether you hate him, or you love him, that final game at Yankee Stadium is going to be a part of baseball history. And to deny not only him, but all the fans in attendance and the fans watching at home, the opportunity to see him at third base one last time is just really, really unfair. I hope Girardi realizes this and changes his mind.