Maybe there was no other way to tap the true greatness in Alex Rodriguez. Maybe he just needed to remember how baseball felt when he was a kid in order to survive the pressures of being the biggest bat in the biggest lineup in the biggest baseball city in the world.
After drilling his 499th career home run to put last night’s game away, Rodriguez was drilled on the helmet by Robinson Cano and hugged by Melky Cabrera. They celebrated the moment the same way they’re playing these days: Hard and fast with big smiles.
“I have a good time with those two kids,” Rodriguez said. “They are excited about playing the game and they make me laugh a lot.”
They are kids with Dominican roots just like Rodriguez. But they didn’t come out of Westminster Christian High in Miami with a “can’t-miss” tag on their back and they aren’t regarded as the greatest player of their generation and they don’t have the biggest contract in the game. Rodriguez has always been determined to live up to expectations, but he seems even more determined to just be a ballplayer this year.
“The game is fun right now,” Rodriguez smiled.
And that’s the only thing baseball was ever meant to be.