By Jon Lane
Word from the beat, in this case Pete Caldera’s blog, is that Alex Rodriguez called his home run in the dugout. According to Yankees PR head Jason Zillo, A-Rod told him during batting practice that he’d go yard during his second at-bat.
Reggie Jackson met the media after the Yankees’ 6-1 win and shared an interesting story. A “stern” Hank Steinbrenner told Mr. October to send a message to Rodriguez: “You tell him to hit the damn ball, and hit it when it matters.”
Jackson, who had dinner with A-Rod Tuesday night, said he was “disappointed” and at times angry after learning of A-Rod’s PED usage while with the Rangers.
“I get angry sometimes,” Jackson told reporters. “I’ve been reprimanded by the commissioner and the president of our team. I’ve pleaded with them to understand that I’m personally affected; I’m personally involved. I’m hurt; I’m bewildered. I don’t know that we ever get past it.”
Jackson also related this personal message to Rodriguez, whose 553 career home runs are 10 behind Jackson’s for 11th place on the all-time list.
“My dad said you can control the story as long as you have a chance to hit. Edit your own story with the bat. As long as he does that, he has a chance to change things around him.”
I remember after working a game during I think the 2005 season when Gary Sheffield, in the throes of a slump, delivered a big hit to spark the Yankees to a win. A cordial Jackson chatted with us and told us what he told Sheffield: “As long as you have the bat in your hand, you can change the story.”
Jackson has made it one of his priorities to look after Rodriguez. Now more than ever, A-Rod needs to listen to everything Jackson tells him — and listen very carefully. Jackson’s tenure in the Bronx had absolutely nothing to do with PEDs, but he lived through the good, bad and the very ugly times of the Bronx Zoo. He won two World Championships, came through virtually every time when everything was on the line and weathered every storm that came his way, self-inflicted or not. When Reggie talks, you listen. Bottom line.