Tonight marks Alex Rodriguez’s final game with the Yankees, and no one is more excited for it than Joe Girardi. Ever since A-Rod announced his impending retirement on Sunday, the Yankees manager has trolled him to no end, toying with him in the media, keeping him out of the lineup as much as possible, and refusing to let him play one last game at third base. But has Girardi saved his greatest savagery for tonight? Here are some other ways the Yankees can screw A-Rod over before he takes off the pinstripes for good.
Girardi has done plenty to humiliate A-Rod this week, but he hasn’t sabotaged his equipment … yet. Girardi may not be able to keep A-Rod on the bench on Friday night, but he could still attempt to find a more nefarious way to embarrass his outgoing DH. One option would be to secretly cork A-Rod’s bat, and then tip off the umpire (or Rays manager Kevin Cash). Call it the Reverse Grimsley. If Girardi’s feeling really sinister, he could even put pine tar on A-Rod’s bat. Baseball fans would relish the opportunity to dub A-Rod a cheater one last time, and as a bonus, A-Rod’s dumbfounded, indignant reaction would be pure gold.
2. The Sacrificial Centaur
Citing a need to “do what I think is best,” Girardi refused to play A-Rod on Tuesday night, despite previously saying that “if he wants to play in every game, I’ll find a way.” Translation: Girardi doesn’t think A-Rod has anything to offer the Yankees, which is tough to dispute given his .595 OPS. Accordingly, don’t be surprised if Girardi orders A-Rod to bunt in all of his at-bats tonight, regardless of the score or situation. Every game is do-or-die for the fourth-place Yankees.
3. Merciless At-Bat Music
If you don’t think Girardi has already instructed Yankee Stadium employees to play Madonna songs before every A-Rod at-bat, you’re kidding yourself. Another possibility: kabbalah music. Girardi is cold-blooded.
4. Impromptu Jeter Tribute
Surprise! Instead of giving A-Rod a proper farewell ceremony, Girardi could call an audible and announce a new promotion: Players’ Tribune Night at the ballpark. Everyone in attendance would receive a commemorative print edition of The Players’ Tribune, consisting solely of editorials about why Jeter is the greatest Yankee of the 21st century. A-Rod would inevitably refuse to autograph a copy for a young fan, thus becoming universally decried as a misanthropic egotist.
5. Grunt Work
If Girardi pulls A-Rod from the game in the second inning only to make him the Yankees’ bat boy, don’t be surprised: This could be part of A-Rod’s new “special adviser” role. He’ll spend his nights shagging balls and collecting bats, selling cotton candy, and performing woeful renditions of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” No word on whether Cameron Diaz will be around to feed him popcorn.