Now that Major League Baseball has officially begun handing out its annual slate of meaningless awards, it's time for Alex Rodriguez to clear his trophy room. Alex, throw out those three MVPs, dump those 10 silver sluggers (god, please) and forget about those two gold gloves. After posting a playoff line of .365/.500/.808 with six homers and 18 RBI and picking up your first ring, you have finally won the only award that matters: "True Yankee" status. No, it doesn't come with a fancy piece of hardware, but you do get the admiration of adoring fans, respect from the media and the knowledge you won't go down in history like this guy, a notorious un-true Yankee.
It took Alex's superhuman 2009 playoff performance to get his postseason numbers out of the cellar and up to a respectable .306/.390/.576. Wait, that's his regular season career line. It took Alex's superhuman 2009 playoff performance to get his postseason numbers out of the cellar and up to a respectable .302/.409/.568. That's odd. After 54 playoff games A-Rod's postseason stat-line is shockingly similar to his excellent career line, and his playoff OPS is a little higher. What a choker.
Fortunately, for those among us who could never have imagined accepting A-Rod until he won a ring, BEFORE his centaur-esque 2009 postseason, Alex was an anemic .279/.341/.483 October hitter. Only about a hundred OPS points better than this guy, and slightly WORSE than this guy, both un-true Yankees of poor repute.
Questions about A-Rod's ability to deliver when it mattered most began almost as soon as the Yankees traded this superior playoff performer to get him. Doubts about Rodriguez's mettle were well-founded. He had only played in 15 postseason games at that point in his career, during which he hit a totally lame .340/.368/.566. A-Rod haters and the New York media were justified doubting anyone who could only put up a .934 playoff OPS. "True Yankees" OPS at least 1.000 in October, and A-Rod should have known better than to let the loser Mariners draft him. Then he signed with the loser team that offered him $57 million more than the next highest bidder, which is the least Yankee thing I've ever heard.
To reward the Yankees for trading for him, A-Rod selfishly changed his position to 3rd base and put up what remains the worst season of his career to date (.888 OPS, disgusting). This guy's superior 2004 performance earned him 2nd place in the MVP voting that year (OPS? .927.)
Rodriguez really began to stink things up in October. In a classic A-Rod performance, he peaked way too early, hitting .421/.476/.737 against Minnesota in the ALDS, when the games don't even count. Real pinstripe heroes get the job done in the World Series, something the Yankees didn't accomplish that year in large part due to Alex's ALCS performance of two homers and a wimpy .258/.378/.516 line.
The un-true Yankeeness continued in 2005, when A-Rod hit 48 homers, 130 RBI with a 1.031 OPS, becoming the first Yankee to win the MVP since Don Mattingly. In typical Rodriguez fashion, he tired himself out before the games mattered, and could only muster a .635 OPS in the playoffs against Anaheim.
In 2006 A-Rod was still recovering from overexerting himself the year before, and choked his way to 36 homers and 121 RBI, none of them meaningful since every last one came when the Yankees had at least a 2-run lead. His .205 OPS in the ALDS speaks for itself. (OK, all joking aside, that is really bad, and the only time in his entire career that A-Rod really stunk it up in the playoffs).
He in no way redeemed himself in 2007 when he hit 54 HR with 156 RBI and 143 runs scored. Once again thinking only of himself, A-Rod won his second MVP in three years, but failed to win the award unanimously and only hit a limp .820 OPS in the playoffs. The outcome? Another Yankee loss. The Culprit? Alex "Chokey" Rodriguez. (This may have had something to do with it too.)
In 2008, Rodriguez only managed to lead the American League in slugging, so he was entirely to blame for the Yankees missing the playoffs altogether. It had nothing at all to do with pitching.
Alex, you can now put all of those bad memories to rest. Your record of abysmal failure in pinstripes is finally behind you. Your stellar performance in all three rounds of the playoffs has taken the monkey off your back. You are, at long last, what you have always wanted to be. You are a "True Yankee." Like this guy, this guy, this guy, and even, this guy.
Up next? Mark Teixeira, un-true Yankee.