Monday, August 8, 2016

A-Rod won’t don pale hose during his lengthy baseball career; Chicago won’t get a last chance to “boo” him

It’s a trend that our very own Chicago White Sox like to take on – aging star ballplayers who wind up finishing their careers on the South Side of Chicago with such unmemorable stints that most fans quickly forget they ever played here.
He'll never wear White Sox pinstripes
To the degree that I often wondered if Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees was destined to become yet another ballplayer in this category – somebody who’d wind up finishing his career getting in a few games playing for the White Sox.

IT MAY BE the big difference in character between the Chicago White Sox and the crosstown competition, the Chicago Cubs.

For the Cubs have a history of letting young ballplayers go who later wind up with other ball clubs having careers making them worthy of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. – pitchers Bruce Sutter and Greg Maddux, just to name a couple.

While the White Sox wind up being the aging dumping ground of guys like Ken Griffey, Jr., who when he was inducted earlier this summer into the Hall of Fame and people were going on-and-on about the highlights of his professional career, no one was thinking about the 41 games he played for the White Sox in 2008.

Then again, with a .260 batting average and only 3 home runs while wearing the black and white with pinstripes of the Sox, there wasn’t much to remember.
Just a few ballplayers ...
JUST LIKE STEVE Carlton or Roberto Alomar – who got into the Hall of Fame despite their lack of heroics in Chicago. Or Tom Seaver, who is a Hall of Famer whom many people barely remember as a White Sox.

It would have totally been in the ball club’s character to acquire Rodriguez, whom the Yankees have been eager to dispose of because he’s NOT of the quality any more that will make him a candidate for Hall of Fame induction.
... whose athletic demise and  final paycheck ...
He could be just like Jose Canseco, the aging slugger from the 1980s and early 1990s who ended his playing days in the early 21st Century by hitting the last 16 of his 462 career home runs in Chicago.

He got to end his major league playing days by finally getting to see a Comiskey Park fireworks display in celebration of his own home runs, instead of just hearing the echoing of “boos” from fans p-oed that a Sox pitcher threw another stinker of a pitch that wound up deposited into the outfield seats.
... came while wearing "white" sox

THIS HONESTLY WAS what I always expected the end of baseball would be for Alex Rodriguez – an unceremonious attempt to stretch out his career for a few more ball games. With the confused catter-calls coming from the stands – generations of Sox fans booing and heckling him for playing for the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and Yankees being muted because his hits finally benefitted the White Sox.

Although the reason it won’t happen is because Rodriguez announced Sunday he won’t play anymore following the Yankees’ ballgame Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays. He’ll get to finish out this season and next in some sort of unspecified role as a consultant.
Even Jose Canseco got a final farewell in Chicago

But his horrific play (batting only .204 this season and he didn’t even play back on July 4-6 when the Yankees made their only visit to Chicago this season) meant there weren’t many hits to be had.

As it turns out, Rodriguez’ Chicago finale turned out to be the final weekend of July 2015 when the Yankees played a three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field. The crowd reaction literally was a mess of people wanting to tell dumb steroid jokes and taunts mixed with Yankees fans still wishing to celebrate him – and one girl sitting behind me in the outfield seats making a point of wishing Rodriguez a “Happy Birthday.”

IT WILL BE intriguing how Rodriguez – the guy who lost the 2013 season to a suspension because of steroid-use allegations – gets remembered. Because with 696 home runs (as of Sunday), it makes him one of the all-time greats – ahead of Willie Mays (660) and not far behind Yankees immortal Babe Rush (714).

Not everyone heckled Rodriguez in Chicago
And certainly better than legitimate White Sox Hall of Famer Frank Thomas (521) or “is he, or isn’t he, a fraud” Cubs star Sammy Sosa (609). But some are going to be too eager to taint the Rodriguez memory with steroids, just as they have done with Sosa and many other ballplayers of recent years.

It makes me reminisce of the ballplayers of my childhood era – guys such as one-time Sox slugger Dick Allen.
He who took a Most Valuable Player title while representing the South Side and was critical of artificial turf by saying, “If a cow can’t eat it, I won’t play on it.” You just don’t get ballplayers like that these days.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Maybe the White Sox will wind up having Ichiro Suzuki on their roster some time in the near future. The Miami Marlins outfielder clinched his position in baseball immortality by getting his 3,000th base hit (a triple Sunday off Colorado Rockies pitcher Chris Rusin) playing in the U.S. major leagues (he has another 1,200 or so hit from playing professionally in Japan). Which means he's now an aging ballplayer whose past his prime and whose best years (with the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees) are most definitely in the past -- perfect for a stint at 35th and Bill Veeck Drive! For what it's worth, Suzuki made his only visit to Chicago this season last week when the Marlins lost three games to the Chicago Cubs, although the White Sox will be in Miami for a weekend series beginning Friday.

No comments: