After homering in last night’s 6-4 win over the Mets, Alex Rodriguez is now one home run away from tying Willie Mays for fourth all-time, one home run away from a legal battle with the Yankees over the $6 million they owe him and don’t want to pay. A-Rod, if only by dint of finding a larger villain, has become the good guy. With a killer one-liner after last night’s game, he’s maybe learning to play the part.
It’s an issue of semantics. (Sorry, “contract law.”) When he re-signed in 2007, Rodriguez signed a separate marketing contract with the Yankees, stipulating bonuses for milestones—like working his way up the home run ladder. But the Yankees, by all accounts, will attempt to withhold the bonuses because of Rodriguez’s PED use. Home run No. 660, the Yankees’ lawyers will argue once this goes to arbitration, is not a “milestone” because a “milestone” is marketable, and a tainted Rodriguez is not marketable.
That’s a necessary oversimplification because we don’t have access to the contract itself, but it’s accurate enough to be Rodriguez’s working understanding of the situation. In the locker room after taking two of three from the best team in baseball, Rodriguez was asked how he thinks the Yankees will commemorate his next home run.
“I don’t have a marketing degree,” A-Rod said, smiling.
The Yankees kick off a homestand-ending, three-game series against Tampa tonight, so if it’s going to happen in the Bronx, it’ll happen soon. After that: off to Boston, where Rodriguez can be the bad guy and relish how uncomplicated it’ll be.