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Who’s It Gonna Be, A-Rod or Alex?

Mike Lupica:

If you are going to be a great Yankee, you are a great Yankee starting right now. You do it with lights up. Alex Rodriguez has to know. Even Don Mattingly, who had just one shot at October, hit .417 against the Mariners in 1995, had 10 hits in five games and tried to carry the Yankees on his bad back into the second round. He had stopped being a great player by then. He was a great player against the Mariners, in the last five baseball games he ever played.

“You’re not paid to win 100 games here,” Reggie Jackson said in February, the day before Rodriguez was introduced as a Yankee at Yankee Stadium. “You’re not paid to take us from 102 wins to 109. You’re paid to win the last 11.”

It’s Showtime, Mr. Third Base. Put up some “A-Rod in Seattle/Texas” numbers, hoover up everything that comes your way like the second coming of Nettles, or you’re just another merc taking Boss George’s dough. Help bury the Twins quick, so Torre can have some time figuring out how the hell the starters get arranged to counter whoever comes out of the Anaheim/Boston battle.

No pressure.

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