PHILADELPHIA -- Yankees home run heroes
"Big hits are what matter,'' Rodriguez told Reggie before Game 4.
Which was like music to Reggie's ears.
And that's not just because that sort of comment celebrates Jackson's career of big hits and big moments, but because it reveals something new about A-Rod. Until these recent weeks, Rodriguez looked destined to be remembered for the sheer volume of regular-season hits and home runs, not any October moments. Now, with the Yankees one victory from wrapping up their 27th World Series championship, Rodriguez is close to rewriting his legacy.
"We're stride for stride ... on the same page,'' Reggie said.
A-Rod declined to discuss what the two greats talked about ("that's a private conversation,'' he said) after he scorched the go-ahead, two-out, ninth-inning hit off Phillies closer
"I'm happy for him,'' Reggie said. 'It's nice to watch great players.''
One teammate remarked that he hoped Rodriguez's homer on Saturday "loosened'' A-Rod up, just another suggestion that Rodriguez's mood is so vital to the team's success that it is constantly monitored by those around him. Rodriguez, though, attributed his sudden success here to being hit by a pitch for the first time this Series on Saturday, saying it "woke me up'' to the realization that this was the World Series.
He has now been hit three times in two games to tie a full-Series record, and while Rodriguez wouldn't say in the interview room whether he felt that the pitches were accidental, Reggie said, flat out, "I think they're hitting him on purpose.'' When it was suggested to A-Rod as he exited the ballpark on Sunday night that it couldn't possibly be coincidental, he gave a shushing signal by pressing his right index finger up to his mouth. He has always seemed to find the limelight. But now he seems content to stay out of it, if he can.
A-Rod tried again to glorify his teammates by saying that they got to this point with him and fellow star slugger
Almost to a man, teammates cite a different A-Rod this year, an A-Rod who is more a part of a 25-man team, who is close to Teixeira and closer to
Rodriguez attributed his spectacular October to expectations that were reduced after his spring steroid revelation. "For the first time in my career, I've felt like an underdog,'' he said.
Whatever did it, those closest to him notice a change.
"He's more patient, more relaxed, more comfortable,'' Reggie said.
And now he's within a game of writing a new lead for his own life story.
• The Phillies have an issue if they get past Game 6, which would be
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• Reggie Jackson was asked to name the seven players with the most power he ever saw, and here's his list: 1.
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