Alex Rodriguez will be out of the New York Yankee lineup for some time. It appears that he is facing two procedures and it is hard to predict how quickly and how completely a person will heal from operations. He could be out for a longer period of time. He may come back and be better than he was before the operation. Or, he may never be the same. Time will provide the answers to these questions. The current and most pressing question facing the Yankee organization and Yankee fans is how will the team do without Alex? Although A-Rod is a terrific hitter and a fine fielder, some fans and writers have criticized him for not performing in the post season and for not hitting well in key situations. Some people also believe he has been a distraction and a divisive for person ever since he came to The Big Apple. I believe that the Yankees will get off to a good start without their starting third baseman. While he is sidelined, there will be no distractions related to his steroid use, his romantic life and his press conferences. What a relief…..
Without Alex, many of the players may be more motivated to elevate their games and capture a bit of the limelight. Johnny Damon may be motivated to show that he is a fine lead off hitter, despite Rodriguez’s comment about Jose Reyes being a great player. Derek Jeter may step up his game the way a good captain tends to do. He may also become more of an active leader with A-Rod out of the dugout and club house for a while. Mark Teixeira may enjoy the added spot light as he plays in pinstripes for the first time.
The fine pitching staff may rise to the occasion and allow fewer runs and hits as they compensate for A-Rod’s absence. Joe Girardi may find it easier to focus on baseball without the ever present distractions which A-Rod seems to generate. It will also be interesting to see what kind of unity, spirit and energy which the team will exhibit without the services of Alex Rodriguez. If the team does well without A-Rod, some fans will question his value to the team.
If the Yankees play poorly and A-Rod ignites the offense when he returns, the fans and management will probably be delighted. We should know the answers to many of these questions in about two months.
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist in River Edge, NJ and the Founder of www.StayInTheZone.com