A-Rod Only Hears Home Run Cheers,
Tunes Out Jeers for Everything Else
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 12- Humans are strange beings. Most have very short memories and are only concerned with what one has done for them recently. The deeds of the past, both good and bad, are quite quickly forgotten. Most also overlook their own shortcomings but are quick to point out the weaknesses in others.
An example of the above is Alex Rodriguez on Sunday afternoon. In the second inning, as he approached the batter’s box for his first at bat and his name was announced on the public address system, a loud noise of mixed cheers and jeers were heard.
A-Rod lifted the second pitch thrown to him into the stands in leftfield. The home run was greeted with a thunderous ovation, many fans standing in tribute while applauding. The homer was his first of the 2013 campaign, the 648th of his career and accounted for his 1,951st RBI in the majors, giving him sole 5th place in major league history.
With two out in the top of the next inning, Rodriguez had difficulty picking up a ground ball and was issued an error. He was immediately jeered loudly, probably by many who cheered his home run.
In the bottom of the same inning, Rodriguez again received a mixed reaction as his name was announced. As the hard grounder he hit went into rightfield for a single, he was again cheered. The only similarity to all these responses from the fans is they are louder and more emotional than the reactions to any other player on the field.
Rodriguez explained his feelings to the reactions of the fans after the game, “You want to turn boos into cheers; you want to go out and make them proud. All you want is really a chance. I think New York always gives you that.”
In addition to the daily A-Rod story, a baseball game was played on Sunday at Yankee Stadium. The heat and humidity may have help carry baseballs into the stands as seven solo home runs were struck in the nine inning contest.
The first Detroit run came without the benefit of a homer. Starter Andy Pettitte gave up three singles and a base on balls in the first. It was the eighth consecutive start in which Pettitte yielded a run in the first frame.
The veteran gave up no further runs but his outing was cut short after 4.1 innings as he had thrown more than 100 pitches. Later, he commented, “It’s taxing on my body to throw that many pitches early in the game.”
The Yankees scored the next four runs. After A-Rod’s homer in the second, the Yanks gained another run on a sacrifice fly by Eduardo Nuñez.
Each of the remaining runs crossed the plate via a solo round tripper. With two out in the third, Robinson Cano blasted his 23rd homer of the year.
Alfonso Soriano led off the fourth with his 20th home of the season, three as a Yankee and 17 as a Cub. The long ball was the 2,000 major league hit for the veteran outfielder. He is the 16th active player to reach that milestone.
The Yanks kept the 4-1 advantage until catcher Brayan Peña led off the eighth with a home run to right.
The major’s premier closer, Mariano Rivera, entered the game in the ninth. Superstar Miguel Cabrera blasted a long ball to lead off the frame. The home run was his second off “Sandman” on the weekend, making him only the second player, with Edgar Martinez, to homer twice in a single season off Rivera.
After the game, Cabrera, a true professional, put his accomplishment in the perspective of winning, “I don’t know how to explain it. The only thing we can explain is that we lost the game. At the end of the game, the home runs mean nothing.”
Later in the ninth, Victor Martinez’s 10th homer of the season tied the game at 4. The homer gave Rivera a third straight blown save for the first time in his lengthy career. Rivera remarked, “At least it’s only the first time. I don’t pay attention to that stuff. I just try to go out there and do my job.”
With two out in the bottom of the ninth, Brett Gardner recorded his second walk-off hit of the weekend series as he homered to right.
The Yanks begin a four game series with the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night with Hiroki Kuroda (10-7) starting and Garrett Richards (3-4) on the mound for the Angels.