Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Natural

We all thought Roy Hobbs was a myth, fiction, the product of Bernard Malamud’s imagination. Little did we know that he played for the Yankees and his name was Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod hit two more home runs tonight, and although the Yankees blew the game in the late innings, the A-Rod show is taking on superhero dimensions.

After belting 10 home runs in the first 14 games, including two titanic walk-off 9th inning shots rescuing the Yankees from defeats, A-Rod, already with one homer in the game, in his third at-bat struck an arcing blow to the opposite field that barely cleared the wall in distance, but was hit with such force and gravity that it appeared that centerfielder Coco Crisp, in his vain attempt to jump and catch the ball over the fence, was thrown back over the wall simply by the brush of the ball’s movement into the Red Sox bullpen.

Those are images clearly reminiscent of the Natural, similar to when in 1985, Darryl Strawberry hit a ball off the scoreboard clock in old Busch Stadium in St. Louis. All that was missing was the fireworks.

And that’s what we’ve been getting from A-Rod on what seems like a daily basis.

Now, Malamud had Hobbs go through a slump or two in his magical season, but Hobbs ultimately carried the team to the cusp of glory, before striking out in his last chance to send the New York Knights to the pennant - Malamud’s touch of tragic reality. Hollywood wouldn’t settle for such a downer. So Robert Redford hits a mammoth homer shattering the light tower and cascading sparks of fire from the short circuited bulbs as Redford floats around the bases.

A-Rod will go through a slump or two this season, although at this rate who knows. But the question is what ending is in store for A-Rod this fall? A tragic miss at the end of another superlative season, or a Hollywood finish with a championship as he floats on the adulation of fans knowing that he is now and always will be a true Yankee.

1 comment:

lbc said...

It's great to see a baseball post. A-Rod has an option in his contract to go elsewhere after this season, unfortunately, and the fans in the Bronx have not been kind to him up to this point. He's both superhuman, in terms of his athletic ability, and sensitive and vulnerable mentally. He's prone to internalizing criticism and undercutting his own strengths. Interesting case study of a man who could command $40 million annually after this year.