We all know how people outside of baseball — fans and media, mostly — feel about Alex Rodriguez. The emotions range anywhere from ambivalence to outright disgust, but safe to say that what was left of Alex Rodriguez's fans outside of the city of New York have pretty much vanished like dandelion spores.
But how do people inside the game feel about Rodriguez? How do his teammates feel about him after he deprived them of his services for a year because he cheated the game multiple times? How do opponents feel about Rodriguez, who, let's face it, was imminently easy to hate even when we all thought he may have been clean.
(Quick side bar — at Thursday's series opener between the Astros and the Yankees, I had seats right behind former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani behind home plate. He and A-Rod exchanged winks and waves multiple times during the game, so count Rudy G, outwardly at least, as an A-Rod fan still.)
Well, we got a bit of window into those emotions this past weekend in the Astros four game series against the Yankees, a 2-2 split that gave us a glimpse into how the Astros likely plan to hang around come October — a formula that includes a whole lot of solid starting pitching (Dallas Kuechel and Collin McHugh were sublime) and Carlos Correa.
Which brings us back to A-Rod. The only poor outing by an Astros starter this past weekend came from Brett Oberholtzer on Saturday, and MAN was it a doozy of a shitstorm. Oberholtzer allowed six earned runs in less than two innings, including a first inning grand slam to Brian McCann and a two run homer to Chris Young. After the Young home run, this happened….
So what did we learn from this entire exchange. Two things:
1. If we can assume that C.C. Sabathia is viewed as a leader in the Yankees clubhouse (and at his salary, if he isn't, that's kind of a big deal), it would appear that Alex Rodriguez's teammates are ready to fight on his behalf when an opposing pitcher decides to refer to Page 31 of the outdated "Baseball Book Of Unwritten Rules" and throw at the next hitter after he's given up a 400 foot bomb. Either that or Brett Oberholtzer sucks at throwing, which brings us to...
2. Brett Oberholtzer may very well suck at throwing, but clearly his attitude is not far behind. Everyone from the umpire to his own manager A.J. Hinch saw Oberholtzer's errant pitch as an intentional zing at A-Rod, and neither side would have any of it. The umpire immediately tossed Oberholtzer from the game and Hinch immediately sent Oberholtzer to Triple A after the game, making it abundantly clear that Obie's M.O. was not in any way indicative of how Hinch wants the Astros conducting business. Ouch.
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So we learned that A-Rod's teammates are cool with him, and Brett Oberboltzer is expendable. What else? Well, clearly there's a respect level between young Carlos Correa (who's most often compared to a young Rodriguez) and A-Rod, at least if there's anything to read into their exchange at second base on Saturday as A-Rod was on the base paths….
The Force is strong in young Correa. Hopefully, he continues to use his powers for good and he hasn't been poisoned by the dark side (code for A-Rod).
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.