Saturday, October 20, 2012

A-Rod to the White Sox? The concept is not completely out of the question

The New York Yankees have suffered a humiliation, and somebody must pay! Will the Chicago White Sox be the alleged beneficiary?

The ballclub that finished the regular season this year with the best record in the American League managed to get swept in four straight games of the final round of playoffs by the Detroit Tigers – which, we all know, is the ballclub that only made it to the playoffs because of the White Sox’ pathetic play in September.

THIS YEAR DEFINITELY won’t be a year where the American League puts up its best ballclub against the National League champion in the World Series that starts next week.

Which has Yankees fans seriously peeved! (Actually, the word that most accurately describes them is one much too vulgar to be published here). They’re looking for a person to take their abuse out on!

And it would seem that the fans and management want to blame Yankees third-baseman Alex Rodriguez – who for the record-setting kind of contract he has is supposed to be “the man” who leads the team to championships.

Instead, he didn’t hit worth squat. In fact, his play was so bad that the final two games of the playoff round against Detroit, Rodriguez was sat on the bench.

WHICH APPARENTLY GAVE him time to engage in one of the old tricks of a ballplayer – tossing a ball at a babe in the stands, in hopes that under the guise of asking for an autograph, she’ll hand over her phone number.

Rodriguez seems to have been more interested in getting himself some blonde companionship for after the ballgame, rather than trying to focus on winning the ballgame itself.

Personally, I think it’s possible for a ballplayer to focus on winning while not completely ignoring his surroundings.

But the mood is ugly in New York these days (uglier than usual, I should say).

THERE ARE THOSE who want Rodriguez traded away. There has been speculation that he will wind up in his hometown of Miami; which makes me wonder how he would react playing for manager Ozzie Guillen.

But there also is speculation that other teams might be interested. On Friday, I saw one list of clubs that emphasized that someone of Rodriguez’ “stature” would have to play for a “big-market” ballclub. No Kansas City Royals for him.

And that list basically came down to the two Los Angeles-area teams (the Dodgers and the Angels) and our very own White Sox!

Personally, I’m inclined to think that the White Sox are the bottom team on any such list. I’m not sure I see it happening – even though current White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis is likely to leave soon (he was only a one-season pickup to bolster the ballclub for a potential World Series that never happened).

THERE WILL BE a vacancy at that position. There would be room for Rodriguez on-the-field. Although I suspect the Yankees would have to agree to pay virtually all of what remains of Rodriguez’ contract for the notoriously-cheap White Sox to seriously think of pursuing him.

But we also have to admit that the White Sox have a history of picking up big-name veteran ballplayers whose best years are behind them. It’s like a stint on the South Side is a part of the path toward athletic retirement.

Wear the Olde English script “Sox” before trying to figure out what to do with the rest of one’s life.

Hall of Fame ballplayers such as Tom Seaver and Steve Carlton (and likely Hall of Fame member Ken Griffey, Jr.,) all had their stints in Chicago near the end of their careers.

HECK, LET’S NOT forget of such players as one-time relief ace Sparky Lyle (a Cy Young Award winner) or slugger Jose Canseco – who also have a bottom line of statistics in agate type indicating they played for “Chi-A” as their very last employer in Major League Baseball. I'm sure Sox fans with time on their hands can name dozens of other big-name ballplayers throughout the decades who finished up here.

In that context, it would make all the sense in the world for Alex Rodriguez to have a stint with the White Sox.

But then again, Rodriguez may well be capable of playing another couple of regular seasons in the major leagues. He probably isn’t completely washed up as a professional athlete. He’s just no longer the superstar that he once was with the Seattle Mariners (and whom the Yankees thought he would be for them).

Which probably means he’ll go to Los Angeles or Miami (where he lives during the off-season) and play for a bit.

THEN, HE’LL WIND up coming to Chicago to finish up in the black-and-white pinstriped uniforms that – from a distance – sort of look like Yankees uniforms.

So let me write a premature “Welcome to Chicago, Alex Rodriguez.” He’ll be here around 2015 and will get in a few final ballgames that will be considered an embarrassment to his career – while White Sox fans will speculate about how wonderful it would have been if he could have played for the ballclub a decade or so earlier.


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