Posted August 09, 2013

Mixed reaction greets Alex Rodriguez’s return to Yankee Stadium

Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis, New York Yankees
Alex Rodriguez swung through strike three in his first at-bat at Yankee Stadium since the Biogenesis scandal.

Alex Rodriguez swung through strike three in his first at-bat at Yankee Stadium since the Biogenesis scandal. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — As Alex Rodriguez walked to the plate at Yankee Stadium for the first time since being suspended on Monday — and filing his appeal on Wednesday — he had a head start on the cheers, as Brett Gardner sprinted across the plate with New York’s first run of the night.

Rodriguez, standing on the fringe of the dirt circle with his hands raised to signal that Gardner had no need to slide, even added two of his own claps before continuing into the batter’s box. As Rodriguez dug in against Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello and P.A. announcer Paul Olden read the third baseman’s name about half the crowd booed lustily while the other half cheered, many even standing as they did so.

There was no consensus on the tenor of Rodriguez’s greeting — as there rarely is when it comes to the perception of the game’s highest-paid player and highest-profiled suspendee — except at the conclusion of his at-bat. Following his swing and miss at strike three, Rodriguez returned to the dugout to an unmistakably unanimous round of boos.

Rodriguez, who did not speak to reporters before Friday’s game, said on Monday in Chicago, “If I’m productive, I think they want me back … New York’s about winning championships. It’s about producing.”

Everyone got a sampling of the mixed reaction in the top half of the first inning. After the game’s second pitch, the Bleacher Creatures’ daily roll call made its way around to third base, where the right field section’s chant of “A-Rod! A-Rod!” was brief before Rodriguez curtailed the commotion with a lift of his gloved hand. Reactionary boos and cheers immediately filled the ballpark.

Asked prior to the game about an expectation for how the fans would welcome Rodriguez, manager Joe Girardi said, “I don’t really have a way they should receive him. That’s not my job.” Girardi insisted this week hadn’t really been much of a distraction to anyone but Rodriguez.

Given that Rodriguez has been alternately booed and cheered throughout his Yankees tenure — ranging from the highs of 2005 and 2007 AL MVPs and a strong 2009 postseason, to lows of his 3-for-25 postseason last October and his 2009 steroid admission — such a mixture was not unexpected.

In fact, the biggest incongruities of the night were the special-edition white-billed cap on his head (part of a cancer-fighting partnership with New Era and the David C. Koch Foundation) and the identity of the shortstop to his left (Eduardo Nuñez, not Derek Jeter).

Just as it was before his suspension, some fans will always cheer and some will always boo — and others will probably wait and see how many hits he has. New York, as Rodriguez knows, is about producing.

12 comments
jamesb2
jamesb2

Yankees just got some chunk change from the H-Rod is Hay-Rod rolling in the hay with his stolen money from baseball. Yet the Yankee organization seems to love throwing their money around. They

are just as guilty as the Hay-Rod. The leagues love covering over thieves.

dinohealth
dinohealth

There will not be any mixed reaction when Alex whips the crap out of Selig and the owners, in court, if necessary, for their greedy, unfair, monopolistic, whimsical, 211 game "punishment" (4X that of anyone else), while not ever testing positive on any drug test.  Writers can confuse the issue and hold up MLB all they want, but, ultimately, this witch hunt is about greed and money!  I hope MLB loses its anti-trust exemption and has to conform to the laws of the land like any other corporation. 

effeweall
effeweall

 @NeoSmith Stole 100MM???  The yankees have made billions with him!!!  They have gone over 4 million with home attendance since signing a-rod in 2004.  last year was the 1st year they dipped below 4 mil mark for 81 games.  They knocked down the true cathedral of baseball for the new Airport they play in.  Yankee airport has 200 lux boxes and the team owns it.  Coincidentally the only year they did not make the playoffs in the last 40 years was the year they wanted to demolish the greatest stadium ever.  But don't worry, we can put a huge syringe for the house that arod built instead of the huge bat that was at the old place.  PED's help with recovery!!!  It makes players recover as if they are young.  It stops the breakdown process.  It does not cause it.  Players get beat up and baseball is a very long season.  Look at Jeter.  His ankle snapped last year and he is supposed to be clean.  He says it takes him 45 minutes to get ready to play a game now.  The Yankees and MLB have made a boatload off of PEDs and HGH.

MLB is the same as Wall Street.  The got an owner to police the league?  Selig did so many mess ups.  He should have been fired after calling the All Stargame.  How does he remedy it.  Make it count for homefield advantage for the WS.  Wouldn't a neon ornage post it on his phone been suffice "do not cancel tied games!"  Wall Strret moving all the Goldman Executives to the SEC is the def move to stop the hemmoraging of cash down there too.

effeweall
effeweall

link says "A-rod boo'd" but headline says "mixed reaction".  Does si.com do analysis on the % of clicks a positive to negative link to its headline section gets in a given time period?  Did you put up "A-rod cheered" and "Mixed reaction for Arod" over the last 12 hours?  Does the negative "A-rod Boo'd" get more clicks cause people like kicking someone when they are down?

Is this MLB strategy with the Steroid Era?  It brings people to watch baseball who have no interest.  Yankees 4th sellout of season last night?  18 years to "Clean up" baseball and a whopping 69 people banned since 2004 for PEDs.  Bud Selig should pace himself or they may be no one left to suit up in a few years. 

IvanAJagerbomb
IvanAJagerbomb

so what, a few people boo'd him, he pretty much received a warm welcome...what a lame article

6marK6
6marK6

But the question is, was he booed because he is a cheater, or because he completely sucks?

nathan l
nathan l

The good news is, according to John Sterling, nobody has ever booed A-Rod, ever. 

NeoSmith
NeoSmith

Yankees fans should be angry. A-Roids stole $100M+ from their team and is producing at the level of a AAA player.  This is only the beginning.  Just wait in 2 years when A-Roids will need a wheel chair to get to 1st base because his body is broken down from all the PED use.  $25M+ / year for that crap for 3-4 years more after. 

effeweall
effeweall

Rivera blows back to back saves!!!  Ever done before?  Who cares about a-rod and MLB limp testing policies!

DarrellStanaford
DarrellStanaford

The more players on opposing teams see how the fans boo him the more will understand that it's better to be a mediocre clean player that a statistics producing dirty one. Baseball fans need to loudly state that cheating is not acceptable to us. Hopefully we'll remember this whenever Braun comes back to play again.

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

If the Yankee fans were smart....they would have all turned around each time he came up to bat in total silence. But that's asking a lot of a Yankee fan. 

John NoLastName
John NoLastName

Lemire, your career has come to his? Reporting on the proportion of cheers and boos at a sporting event?