The New York Yankees are up against the ropes in the ALCS and Alex Rodriguez has the chance to make Yankee fans melt. Derek Jeter is out for the remainder of the playoffs with a broken ankle suffered towards the end of the Game 1 loss to the Detroit Tigers. There is a huge void to be filled in terms of leadership right now in the Yankees clubhouse.
This is where Alex Rodriguez could enter the void. Sure, he can’t replace Derek Jeter but he doesn’t have to. All Rodriguez needs to do is lead by example on the field and everything else will fall into place. Of course, that is easier said than done.
Sure, Rodriguez has had his struggles with the Yankees in the postseason, which is no secret. It also isn’t a secret that Rodriguez also almost single-handedly propelled the Yankees into the World Series in 2009 by belting 6 home runs and driving in 18 runs and posting a .500 OBP. In the World Series alone, Rodriguez hit 1 home run and drove in 6 despite hitting only .250. He hit .365 that postseason.
The precedent is there for Rodriguez to suddenly explode. Perhaps getting away from the pressures of playing in front of a hostile home crowd will relax him at the plate. Perhaps the fact that almost everyone is counting the Yankees out will cause some players, Rodriguez included, to just go out and play and not worry about having to win.
There are a lot of things that can happen. One thing is certain, the curtain is raised and Rodriguez can take center stage, away from the shadow of Derek Jeter and do what he has always wanted to do, win a World Series without Jeter.
The talent is still there. The desire is there. Big spots have seemed to follow Rodriguez everywhere he has gone this postseason regardless of what spot in the lineup he has been moved to. The question is, will A-Rod rise to the occasion?