Sportress of Blogitude

Hal Steinbrenner won’t rule out A-Rod ending up in Monument Park

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Alex Rodriguez is set to (probably) play his final game in the major leagues on Friday. This of course has spawned countless discussions about how the slugger’s legacy should be viewed as his 22-year career nears its an end.

While there will be endless debates concerning whether or not A-Rod will ever end up in Cooperstown, New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner left the door slightly ajar to the possibility that the slugger may one day receive the ultimate tribute from the organization:

A spot in the Yankees’ hallowed Monument Park.

“It’s a bridge to cross when we come to it, but he has done a lot for this organization, on and off the field,” Steinbrenner said Monday on ESPN Radio, as transcribed by the New York Post. “And I’m talking about players way back, even [Mariners second baseman Robinson] Cano, who he was a mentor to. He’s done a lot for this organization on the field through the years, but also off the field that people don’t know about. He’s been a great mentor.”

Steinbrenner obviously has good reason to tout Rodriguez’s contributions — past and presumably future — to the Yankees organization. Actually, the Yankees boss has 27 million of them. The team will pay A-Rod $27 million to serve as a special adviser through next season, thereby satisfying the remaining monies owed to him according to the terms of his contract.

It’s clear with his noncommittal comments that Steinbrenner by no means assured Rodriguez a spot in Monument Park. From a purely statistical standpoint, Rodriguez has rightfully earned enshrinement. But his decade-plus playing in pinstripes was obviously tainted by his one-year suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, among other less severe but nevertheless unflattering incidents.

That said, Steinbrenner clearly understands that in order to at least get something out of that $27 million he’ll pay A-Rod, it’s necessary for him to play nice and hail the presumably soon-to-be-retired slugger as a revered figure in the Yankees organization’s esteemed history.