For my father
By Nelson Santana
August 4, 2010
Alex Rodriguez is an exquisite specimen of a baseball player who has rubbed Dominicans and Americans alike the wrong way. Interestingly enough, these individuals have no logical reason to hate Rodriguez.
For example, when a group of Dominicans carryon a conversation among themselves with Rodriguez as the protagonist, phrases such as “disgusting traitor” are integrated into the conversation. Words of hate and ignorant statements spew out of the mouths of such individuals. The root of this ignorant way of thinking is simply envy.
This shows the great ignorance of the Dominican people in regard to the best Dominican baseball player of all time.
WHEN THE DOMINICAN PEOPLE COLLECTIVELY LOVED THEIR GOLDEN BOY, ALEX RODRIGUEZ
There once was a time in history when Dominicans in and outside of the Dominican Republic admired Alex Rodriguez. From the moment that Alex Rodriguez entered Major League Baseball, Alex became the face of all Dominicans in the Majors. To be more precise, Rodriguez's face appeared on milk cartons, books and other merchandise in the Dominican Republic.
The question to ask is:
When did the Dominican people turn their backs on Rodriguez?
Only a fool or one who does not follow baseball would not know the answer.
Dominicans turned backs on their idol Alex Rodriguez when the gentleman of the future half billion-dollar contract signed with the New York Yankees. Both fans of the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox - many of whom are Dominican - were so distraught that from one moment to the other they began to hate the Golden Boy they once praised. In fact, some Dominicans have even gone as far as to wish death upon Rodriguez. Felix Cabral said: "I hope that thief’s bags (scrotum) rot."
Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Vladimir Guerrero, Bartolo Colon and a host of other Dominican players left their respective teams and abandoned their fans who worshiped them in search of more money. Then, why so much hatred toward Rodriguez and not these players? The answer: Simply because the New York Yankees, also known in baseball as the “Evil Empire,” was the team to win the Alex Rodriguez sweepstakes by signing the best baseball player and unfortunately the ignorant Boston and Mets fans have not been able to get over this.
A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:
Traditionally the team of preference among the Dominicans, in and out of the Dominican Republic has always been the New York Yankees.
The team of choice for most Dominican players who aspire to someday play in Major League Baseball is the New York Yankees.
Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez are two baseball players who have had such a preference of playing for the Yankees, a team in which many of their fellow countrymen have played in including Robinson Cano, Alfonso Soriano, Tony Fernandez, Mariano Duncan, Luis Polonia, Raul Mondesi and a host of Dominican players.
THE INFLUENCE OF DOMINICAN MUSIC
Manny Ramirez and Rafael Furcal are multimillionaires who have never forgotten their Dominican roots and oftentimes can be found socializing with Dominicans when they travel to Dominican Republic. They partake in activities with the rich and poor alike, and take time to socialize with the common folk.
Major leaguers are praised by Dominican society. This is evident in Dominican music, especially merengue tipico songs, where players are often mentioned.
For those who do not know, the players most often mentioned in Dominican music are Manny Ramirez and Rafael Furcal, and not necessarily because they are the most humble, but because they have invested money to keep alive and relevant in today's society merengue tipico.
Before the defection of Tormenta, Cristian, Dario and other musicians from the first Kerubanda, that group in particular was sponsored by Peligro Records, a company owned by Manny Ramirez.
During the group’s reincarnation and prior to the second breakup, the new Kerubanda was sponsored by Rafael Furcal. If one listens carefully to the song, “El Pichoncito,” the most played merengue tipico of 2009, one would hear the many times that Furcal’s name is mentioned throughout the song.
IN DEFENSE OF ALEX RODRIGUEZ
One of the most interesting things is when a psychologist attempts to analyze the psychological psyche of an individual. New York’s darling was abandoned by his father at the age of seven and Rodriguez has a brother who he just met not too long ago.
No matter how much they try to reason, those individuals speak negatively about Rodriguez principally because they are envious of him.
In the press conference that ensued after the Yankees eliminated the Minnesota Twins from contention in 2009’s postseason, the first thing Rodriguez did was thank all Dominicans for the support they had given throughout his career, especially for the support they gave him in a season in which the American and Dominican press portrayed him negatively after he honed up to the use of steroids. Again, following New York’s second victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Rodriguez mentioned the Dominican people in the press conference. After watching and listening to Rodriguez, only an ignorant person could argue that Rodriguez does not mention his land or his people.
2009 was a memorable year for Rodriguez since for the first time in his storied career he demonstrated his prowess and shined during the postseason, leading the Yankees to his first World Series title.
People should not be so ignorant to not recognize when one of their own calls.
THE DEBATE BETWEEN ALEX RODRIGUEZ AND ALBERT PUJOLS
There is absolutely no doubt that the two best players of Dominican descent
to have played in the Majors are Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez.
There are many Dominicans who insist that Pujols is a more complete baseball player than Rodriguez, but these folks usually argue without having concrete evidence before their eyes, and thus make ignorant comments.
Alex Rodriguez's career is more extensive than Albert Pujols, then it is logical that Rodriguez has produced more than Pujols in terms of RBI, runs scored, hits and home runs among other categories. However, when comparing the career of Rodriguez with that of Pujols is clear that the statistics of both players are almost identical.
Seasonal Averages (per 162 games played)
Seasonal Averages (per 162 games played)
As the evidence suggests, taking into account the average of 162 lifetime games of both players, Rodriguez has outperformed Pujols in runs scored and home runs, while both are tied in RBIs and Pujols has been a more complete player in relation to hits and batting average among other categories.
• 1996 American League Silver Slugger
• 1999 American League Silver Slugger
• 2001: American League Hank Aaron Award
•1998 American League Silver Slugger
• 2000 American League Silver Slugger
• 2002: American League Gold Glove at SS
• 2002: American League Hank Aaron Award• 2003: American League Gold Glove at SS
• 2003: American League Most Valuable Player• 2003: American League Hank Aaron Award
• 2005: American League Silver Slugger• 2005: American League Most Valuable Player
• 2007: American League Silver Slugger• 2007: American League Most Valuable Player
• 2007: American League Hank Aaron Award• 2008: American League Silver Slugger
• 2001: National League Rookie of the Year• 2001: National League Silver Slugger
• 2003: National League Silver Slugger• 2003: National League Hank Aaron Award
• 2004: National League Silver Slugger• 2004: NLCS Most Valuable Player
• 2005: National League Most Valuable Player• 2006: National League Gold Glove at 1B
• 2008: National League Silver Slugger• 2008: National League Most Valuable Player
• 2008: Roberto Clemente Award• 2009: National League Silver Slugger
• 2009: National League Most Valuable Player• 2009: National League Hank Aaron Awar
The evidence indicates that each has had an illustrious career. Without discrediting Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez's career as a player has been brighter than Pujols' career.
To those critics who still do not give up and rationalize that Albert Pujols has had a more prolific career that Rodriguez should note that Pujols is younger and has many years to play to finish his illustrious career. Because Pujols is younger, he is a better player than Rodriguez, since Alex is 34 years old and Pujols is 30.
Others argue that Pujols would have had five Most Valuable Player trophies had it not been for the existence of Barry Bonds and Ryan Howard. However, the only trophies that count are the three that were awarded to him. By the same token there are baseball analysts who believe that Rodriguez deserved the award in 1996 when Juan Gonzalez won it.
When the statistics of both men are compared, one must take into account all data beginning with the stats from each player’s first season. That is to say, though Rodriguez has played five seasons more than Pujols, those numbers cannot be ignored, and when taking these numbers into consideration, Rodriguez has earned his spot in Baseball's Hall of Fame – of course, notwithstanding the steroids use, yet that is a topic for another day.
RECORDS SET BY ALEX RODRIGUEZ
In the 2009 postseason hit six homers and drove in 15 runs
His six homeruns are tied with Bernie Williams for the all-time record
His 15 RBIs are tied with Bernie Williams (1996) and Scott Brosius (1998) for the all-time Yankees record.
He is the youngest player to reach 500 homers
Signed the two biggest contracts in baseball history:
$ 252 million (2001)
$ 272 million for 10 years (2007)
7 time All-Star at shortstop
3 time All-Star at third base
7 times Silver Slugger at shortstop
3 times Silver Slugger as a third baseman
Major League Records
Most runs in a season (SS)1411996
Most extra base hits in a season (SS)911996
Highest slugging percentage in a season (SS).6311996
Most total bases in a season (SS)3932001
Most home runs in a season (SS)572002
Most home runs in the month of April (tied)142007
Fastest to 12 home runs in a season (tied)15 Gms2007
Fastest to 13 and 14 home runs in a season18 Gms2007
Most home runs by a New York-born player599since 1994
Youngest ever to hit 500 home runs32y, 8d2007
Most home runs by a third baseman (season)52†2007
Most stolen bases in a 50-home run season24 (tied with Willie Mays)2007
American League Records
Most home runs in consecutive seasons (RH)1092001-2002
Most home runs in the month of April142007
Fastest to 10 home runs in a season14 Gms2007
Fastest to 12 home runs in a season15 Gms2007
New York Yankees Records
Most home runs in a season at home (RH)262005, 2007
Most home runs in a season (RH)542007
Most RBIs in a postseason182009
Most home runs in a postseason6†2009
Major League Baseball has never had a baseball player with the talent of Alex Rodriguez. Rather than judging him over every minor thing he does, Dominicans should celebrate the storied career of this prolific Dominican athlete.