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Who Cleans Up in 2012?

Most of the debates that take place before a new season regarding the New York Yankees are as predictable as pitchers and catchers arriving in late February.  I’ve come to expect most of these debates and just assume that the rotation, batting order, and relief pitching roles will be scrutinized until the very first lineup card is made on opening day.

Debates are really what this time of the year is all about. They’re a way to pass the time and expel the nervous energy that many baseball fans feel as a new season approaches. As fans or media, that is what we do. We debate and postulate endless theories and possibilities of the season to come. It’s not often I’m caught off guard by a possible topic of debate, so when more than one Yankee fan asked me who I thought should be the cleanup hitter in 2012 I have to admit I was surprised.

It’s my opinion that Yankee fans are as well-educated and informed about their team as any fans in existence. They’ve always had every Yankee game available on cable TV and a treasure trove of solid media covering the Yankees on radio,  in print, and now more than ever on the internet.  You can wander into Twitter at any time of the day on any day of the year and find thousands of Yankee related tweets just waiting to be read.  The upside of this never-ending barrage of Yankee conversation and coverage is the awareness that Yankee fans have about their team.  One of the downsides is that the intensity with which the Yankees are covered can make a sub par season seem far more dramatic than it actually is.

No Yankee in my lifetime has been the lightning rod of controversy that A-Rod has been.  From his admitted PED use to his postseason failures to his high-profile women to his massive contract there has never been a shortage of controversy surrounding him.  Through it all, the one constant associated with A-Rod has been his regular season performance as the Yankee cleanup hitter. I see no reason why removing A-Rod from that role should even be considered and think the naysayers are really jumping the gun on A-Rod’s “demise”.

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