• The Hank & Alex Show

    Posted by on November 21st, 2007 · Comments (7)

    From Johnette Howard

    When you look at the Yankees’ club that locks into place for a decade once Alex Rodriguez accepts his new contract, how do you say this team belongs to Derek Jeter or the old guard anymore? The minute Rodriguez signs on the dotted line, he completes his replacement of Jeter as the face of the franchise. Ready or not, Rodriguez is also setting himself up as one half of a new Straight Man/Boss Man shtick that the Yankees haven’t seen since George Steinbrenner was jousting with Reggie Jackson and sparring with Dave Winfield and tweaking Joe Torre.

    In this recast version, A-Rod is the superstar who will be credited or blamed for whatever happens to the Yankees. And Hank Steinbrenner, George’s blunt-talking son, has taken over the role once played to the hilt by his combustible old man.

    Hank and A-Rod are the organization’s twin pillars now – Rodriguez, the power hitter on the field, and Hank, the newly installed powerhouse in the Yankees’ front office. Jeter has his rings. On Monday, closer Mariano Rivera followed fellow free agent Jorge Posada back to the team. But those World Series wins feel like ancient history now. A-Rod has more juice than any of them because of the commitment the Yankees are making to him. The entire dynamic of the organization feels changed.

    Rodriguez and Hank are going to be manacled together for the next 10 years, closing out old Yankee Stadium and opening the new one, chasing the Red Sox and seeing if Rodriguez can break Barry Bonds’ all-time home run record.

    All true. All, so, very, very, true.

    Johnette nails this one. Dead, solid, perfect.

    Comments on The Hank & Alex Show

    1. baileywalk
      November 21st, 2007 | 10:08 am

      How does A-Rod signing a ten-year contract make him the face of the franchise? Jeter is going to be around the same amount of time, no doubt. He’s a homegrown player who will have played every game as a Yankee — and Rodriguez will somehow elevate above him? It’s not going to happen. Rodriguez will still symbolize everything people perceive as “wrong” about the Yankees until he goes wild in the post-season. Jeter is still more respected and more popular than A-Rod, and he’s won here more. So until A-Rod gets some jewelry, and is a main reason he has it, he’ll be the face of nothing but greed among athletes.

    2. christopher
      November 21st, 2007 | 10:40 am

      ~Jeter is still more respected and more popular than A-Rod~

      That’s probably the case among fans over 20 years old, but the new generation of fans are all about A-Rod. My 9 yr old son doesn’t remember the Yankees ever winning a World Series and doesn’t have the appreciation for Jeter that we have. When he plays ball with his friends, they all fight over which one gets to pretend to be A-Rod. When his Little League team hands out uniforms, the kids all fight over who gets to wear #13. While Jeter, Posada, and Mo all play important roles, A-Rod is the star of the show now.

    3. JohnnyC
      November 21st, 2007 | 10:53 am

      Christopher is right. This has everything to do with the passage of time. It’s been 7 years since the team won it all. Enough time to rearrange the axis upon which the baseball world revolves. Just think. Before 2004, the notion that the Red Sox would ever be considered the epitome of the sport was laughable. Indeed, Peter Gammons would have given his left testicle for just one, one ring in the years left to him on this earth. Now, there are Red Sox fans in their teens and older who know nothing but perceived dominance over the Yankees. Do they care about who Nomar, Rocket, Mo Vaughn were to the franchise, much less Ted Williams? The time is approaching for the Yankees Universe when names like Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, and Tino Martinez will seem as lost in the haze of nostalgia as Reggie Jackson and Thurman Munson are now.

    4. November 21st, 2007 | 10:56 am

      Ditto christopher. If someone was born before 1985, and is a big Yankees fan, I can see them hanging with Jeter. But, to anyone born after 1985, or, to anyone who is a “casual” fan of the team – say, like, someone who follows the team via the 6 o’clock news sports report because their kids (or parents or spouse) likes the Yankees, but, who is also someone who never watches a full game on the TV during the season – it’s now A-Rod’s team.

    5. November 21st, 2007 | 10:58 am

      ~~The time is approaching for the Yankees Universe when names like Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, and Tino Martinez will seem as lost in the haze of nostalgia as Reggie Jackson and Thurman Munson are now.~~

      Sad, true, and well said JC.

    6. Pete
      November 21st, 2007 | 11:16 am

      I don’t think such a haze can exist in the modern era of the ‘Yankees Classic’ or the ‘Yankeeography’…

    7. baileywalk
      November 21st, 2007 | 11:39 pm

      You seem to be forgetting that Jeter is the most popular baseball player period. He is the Peyton Manning of baseball — on TV every few seconds, and essentially the face of his sport. It doesn’t matter when he last won a ring; his popularity has not waned.

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