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Alex Rodriguez earns his pay

It’s October, which to many Americans means it’s time to sit down and enjoy one of America’s best forms of entertainment: the Major League Baseball playoffs.

Every year the season starts with speculation on how much money the Yankees will spend to assemble a team that consists of nothing but Hall of Fame players of the future, and how much they will succeed.  The last decade has been rather rough for the Yankees after their last World Series victory in 2000.  They’ve been eliminated from the playoffs every year, and some years with great disappointment such as when they lead the Red Sox 3-0 in the series before losing the next four games and becoming the first team to accomplish the unwanted feat.  Last year, even with a payroll that eclipsed every other team in by more than an NFL salary cap, the Yankees failed to reach the post season.

Then there’s the storied history of Alex Rodriguez failing in the clutch.  A-Rod is the most talented player in baseball to have never won a World Series, and even more talented than most who have.  He signed the largest two MLB contracts ever and is by far the richest player in baseball on salary alone.  His season started off with a steroid scandal and a book that attacked his character.  Every season, A-Rod has been cast in the negative light about his private life or his failure to play up to his pay grade after the regular season.  This year all the skeletons came out of the closet, and then A-Rod went dark with hip surgery and the whirlwind of potential controversy on his steroid admission had nowhere to direct its media-fueled frenzy.

The rest of the season has been about A-Rod beating his demons, and then A-Rod leading the Yankees into the post season.

A-Rod, even with his injury recovery at the start of the season, racked up 100 RBIs and his first at bat of the season was a home run.  The rest of the season followed suit as the Yankees went from struggling to dominating with the addition of the best player in baseball back to the Yankee roster.

But even with his success in the season, many wondered if this would be yet another year of disappointment for the Yankees.  Those questions were put to rest with the ALCS, when A-Rod dismantled the Minnesota Twins and lead the Yankees to a sweep.  Then, game 2 of the ALDS against the Angels came around, bottom of the 11th inning, the Angels were leading the Yankees 3-2.  A-Rod had two strikes, and it seemed as if the Yankees best hitter, who had gone 0-4 so far in the game, would once again fail under pressure.  Then one loud thunder crack in the light rain sent the ball over the wall, tying the game and keeping the Yankees in it.

And the Yankees eventually won.  Without A-Rod’s heroics, the game that burned through both team’s bullpens would have ended in the Angels favor.  Now the Yankees are poised to take another big step toward their goal of winning another World Series, and with A-Rod finally performing as expected, they seem well on their way to accomplishing the goal.