Last Thursday night the Anaheim Angels defeated the New York Yankees 8-4 in front of 44, 682 fans packed into Yankee Stadium. “How about that A-Rod?”, said Hank, an old Yankee faithful, as he made his way to the car with his wife, Lucille.
Lucille: I think the love story is over, honey. It’s not the same anymore.
Hank: Whaddya mean by that?
Lucille: You know, with the drugs and all…he did all the drugs.
Hank: The PEDs?
Lucille: You’re a PED, Hank.
Hank: Yeah, you know me. We’re partners in crime though, aren’t we? Give me leather, why don’t ya?
Lucille: Dollars to doughnuts, ya nut.
Hank: Why is this guy even out there swingin’ a bat? He shouldn’t be playin’, right? It’s like you shopping at Target on Flatbush. I mean, what else is there to do? It’s over. It seems like a big ol’ weasel deal if ya ask me.
Lucille: No one’s askin’, are they? And what’s this, you’re accusing me of using PEDs while shopping, Hank? What do you know about that? For your information, Alex is out there playing because that’s how the system works. Maybe you don’t like him but he still has a right to play until his appeal is heard. So shut it, ya scootch.
Hank: All right, go see where you gotta go. I-..
Lucille: Hank, it’s like when I drive the 217 miles from Brooklyn to Fenway Park. Do I want to drive all 217 miles? No. What happens? I drive until you hear my appeal.
Hank. Makes sense.
Lucille: Or I just drive until you have to drain it. It’s a waiting game. How much stale coffee can one man drink? You have an eternal wallear for your coffee.
The couple reached their car and Alice noticed an object on the ground by the passenger door. “HANK!”, she cried out as her husband almost fell over his own feet.
“Lucille?”, Hank cried out, and rushed to his wife who knelt down on the pavement in the opposite direction. “Lucille, what is it? Talk to me.”
The woman raised her head, turned around slowly and looked at her husband. Hank watched in anticipation as Lucille raised her hand which clutched a broken, compact item.
“Dear God, is that a dead animal? I smell something horrible.”
“It’s a mixtape, Hank. It’s…it’s a mixtape.”
“I love you, honey, but can you explain to me exactly what in the hell you are talking about?”
What was on this damaged mixtape found in the parking lot of Yankee Stadium by an elderly couple? Why was Lucille so stricken by the item? What does Frank’s oblivious attitude tell us about him? The couple entered their car, slipped the cassette into the trusty cassette player and pressed play. I was able to get my hands on a duplicate copy of what is now known as “The A-Rod Mixtape” and have analyzed my findings. Thank you Hank and Lucille for your cooperation.
My first response to the mixtape was the item itself. This was an actual cassette which meant I was dealing with some serious business. The creator must have grown up in the 80s and was well versed in how to make a successful mixtape. After a first listen it was clear that the intention was to provoke an emotional response within the listener. It was startling. Up. Up. Down. Up. Down. Down. Down. The precision was hard to believe. The modern mixtape on compact disc is generally used to entertain, but this was a throwback on cassette meant to linger in the mind of its recipient. This was a legitimate mixtape.
The common themes are love, money and New York. The creator? No one can know for sure. It’s a story about the relationship between Alex Rodriguez and the New Yankees. There are two conceptual sides of this mixtape:
Is this an A-Rod creation? Did the Yankee slugger put together the ultimate mixtape in a desperate attempt to way the minds of teammates and those within the organization? Why was it in the parking lot of Yankee Stadium? Had it been listened to? Did A-Rod ditch it at the last moment?
Did this mixtape of Yankee love originate within the Yankee clubhouse? Management? Perhaps someone is blatantly teasing A-Rod about his playoff failures and PED use?
The cassette is unlabeled however the tracklist is hand-written. There are eleven songs in total including an opening track titled “Money”. Each track that follows has been assigned a year and lists the statistics of A-Rod for that season. Listen to the music, look at the numbers and make your own decision about the origin of the mixtape. It’s a classic tale of “You’ve got my stuff”, which in this case is millions of dollars.
The Lost A-Rod Mixtape: Side A
Track #1: The Drums “Money”
Key Lyric: I Want To Buy You Something But I Don’t Have Any Money
The opening track sets the tone for the mixtape. The selection seems to suggest a time when money was scarce and a love for baseball was the true focus. The absence of a year leads me to believe that the creator believes money is an eternal theme to contemplate: What is the real motivation: Love or money?
Track #2: Soulwax “NY Excuse”
Record: 101-61; Lost ALCS to Boston 4-3
Stats: .286/36 HR/106 RBI
Key Lyrics: This Is The Excuse That We’re Makin’/Is It Good Enough For What You’re Payin’?
Alex Rodriguez’s first year in “The Big Apple” was 2004 and this track seems to tease at the nature of the relationship. It’s a New York excuse but for who? This was the year of the infamous comeback by “The Idiots” of Boston who took down their arch nemesis, the New York Yankees. What is the excuse?
Track #3: Julian Casablancas “11th Dimension”
Record: 103-59; Won World Series 4-2 against Philadelphia
Stats: .286/30 HR/100 RBI
Key Lyric: Cause No One Really Cares Or Wonders Why Anymore
This is almost certainly a reference to the World Series Championship of 2009. A-Rod had been in New York for 5 years, won 2 MVP awards and now had his first ring. The early placement of this track is in direct contrast of the open in which someone dreams of everything but has nothing. Now the roles have been reversed but at what cost? Does A-Rod continue to use PEDs because it’s working and nobody else seems to care? Does management know but choose to turn the other way? In 2009, the New York Yankees reached a new dimension of the A-Rod Era and the Yankee slugger was in a New York state of mind.
Track #4: T.I. “What You Know”
Record: 97-65; Lost ALDS to Detroit 3-1
Stats: .290/35 HR/121 RBI
Key Lyrics: You Got These People Fooled Who See You On The Tube
This track seems to be all about swagger. I can imagine A-Rod thinking “See me in ya city sitting pretty know I’m shining dawg”, however someone may be pointing back to early in Rodriguez’s career and letting him know that he wasn’t fooling anybody. What you know about that?
Track #5: Tame Impala “Elephant”
Record: 95-67; Lost ALCS to Detroit 4-0
Stats: .272/18 HR/57 RBI
Key Lyrics: He’s Got Friends But They Have Fear/Who Don’t Care Too Much If He Just Disappeared ; He Talks Like His Opinion Is A Simple Fact
What is the elephant in the room? The investigation into Rodriguez’s past use of PEDs? Or too much talkin’? Do the Yankees even want the aging A-Rod around at this point? This track addresses that there is a problem in the relationship but how do you move forward?
Track #6: Ladytron “Destroy Everything You Touch”
Stats: .321/48 HR/130 RBI
Record: 95-67; Lost ALDS to Anaheim 4-1
Theme: Anger or Vindication?
Key Lyric: Destroy Everything You Touch Today
This lyrically aggressive track is difficult to analyze. A-Rod won the MVP Award in 2005 and the mixtape placement could be in reference to his monster season. On the other hand, it may be a thinly-veiled attack on the character of Rodriguez and his PED use. It was a magnificent statistical season but ultimately left everyone disappointed as the Yankees failed to do any damage in the playoffs.
The Lost A-Rod Mixtape: Side B
Track #7: Q-Tip “Gettin’ Up”
Record: 89-73; finished 3rd in AL East; did not make the playoffs
Stats: .302/35 HR/103 RBI
Key Lyric: Hasty Decisions We May Still Prevail
Side B of the mixtape begins with referencing the horrible year of 2008 and an uplifting jam by New Yorker Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest. It’s a track about a couple making mistakes and moving on. Is A-Rod willing to put everything behind him and look towards the future? Are the Yankees feeling the same way? Keep in mind that this was shortly before Selena Robert’s released her tell-all book on Alex Rodriguez.
Track #8: Of Montreal “The Past Is A Groteque Animal”
Record: 94-68; Lost ALDS to Cleveland 3-1
Stats: .314/54 HR/156 RBI
Key Lyric: Performance Breakdown And I Don’t Want To Hear It
Alex Rodriguez won his third MVP Award in 2009 by putting up historical numbers, however the Yankees once again failed to reach the American League Championship. The track title could be in reference to A-Rod’s thoughts on the criticism of his post-season play. From the Yankee perspective, it may be a congratulations of sort on a magnificent season, but also a reminder of PED use and A-Rod’s failure to make an impact in the playoffs (4-17, 1 RBI). After a theme of forgiveness, this track suggests that the creator is retreating into the past and struggling to look forward.
Track #9: LCD Soundsystem “I Can Change”
Record: 95-67; Lost ALCS to Texas 4-2
Stats: .270/30 HR/125 RBI
Key Lyric: And What You’re Asking Me Now, Disastrous Now
The placement of this track on the mixtape suggests hope for this doomed romance. A-Rod took the Yanks deep into the playoffs despite struggling at the plate once again (7-32). Who is going to change? What is happening behind the scenes? This was the last 100 RBI season for Rodriguez who was 34 years old at the time. One has to wonder what kind of pressure Rodriguez was feeling after the release of Selena Robert’s book. Was this the beginning of the end? It only gets worse from here. The romance could once be described as “The Spectacular Now” but now it was becoming disastrous.
Track #10: Thee Oh Sees “The Dream”
Record: 97-65; Lost ALDS to Detroit 3-2
Stats: .276/16 HR/62 RBI
Key Lyric: The Dream, It Seems, Is Peeking Into Real Life
The mixtape moves on chronologically from this point forward and the hopes of an everlasting romance has now turned into a morbid dream. A-Rod played in only 99 games and went 2-18 in the ALDS against Detroit. Both sides are frustrated and don’t know what the future holds. Was it ever anything more than a dream? Was the 2009 championship legit? The placement of this track shows that the creator has confronted a new reality. This may be the point when the master mixtaper first thought of throwing it out the window. But was it?
Track #11: The Strokes “Partners In Crime”
Stats: .319/2 HR/6 RBI
Key Lyrics: You’ll Need A Lawyer
The romance is over. The dream is over. The couple is still living together but don’t like to look at one another. They pass each other in the hallway and scowl. “Let’s just get through this”, they say, and try to make the best of the “situation”. Who gets what? When are you moving out? The placement of this track certainly suggests a complete end to the relationship, however it could be an indication of an ultimate truth. We are both guilty. Now what?
Hank and Alice listened to the mixtape beginning to end on the way home. It was a bizarro moment in the history of the couple, and Hank occasionally looked out the window as Alice listened in silence. Then it was all over.
Hank: Well, that was interesting. I’ve never made a damn mixtape before.
Alice. No, you haven’t, ya shem.
Hank: I can change, right?
Alice: In your dreams.
Hank. Partners in crime. Well, that’s done. Let’s hear that baseball mixtape you found.