The New York Yankees effectively banned Reggie Jackson from the team after his inflammatory comments about Alex Rodriguez and other performance-enhancing drug users. While I’m sure that the ultimate decision was made by Hal Steinbrenner or one of his top deputies, I can’t help but wonder how much, if anything, ARod had do with Jackson’s banishment.
Right now, ARod has a lot more pull with the Yankees than Jackson, despite his Hall of Fame pedigree, simply because ARod is a current player. Regardless of the regrets the Steinbrenners must have over the expensive, long-term deal they gave him, they have to do everything in their power to make sure ARod is happy and comfortable, so he can be as productive a player as possible. And that means not allowing Jackson anywhere near the Yankees third baseman.
Did ARod tell someone in the Yankees hierarchy that he didn’t want Reggie around for a while? Maybe, maybe not. I wouldn’t put it past ARod to say something like that. But it seems more likely that the Yankees benched Reggie just for starting an unnecessary controversy that they were forced to deal with, one that took some attention away from the team’s terrific play heading into the All-Star break.
If someone in the Yankees hierarchy made the unilateral decision to ban Jackson, was it an overreaction on his or her part? I don’t think so. It was probably a wise move if for no other reason than to avoid any incredibly awkward encounters between ARod and Jackson that would keep the story alive.
But I doubt Jackson’s banishment will last very long. I would expect to see Mr. October back in the Bronx in October. But until then, Reggie should keep a very low profile to get back into the Yankees’ good graces.