Big League Stew - MLB

If there is one constant in Alex Rodriguez's(notes) life, it is his uncanny ability to find the spotlight at the most inopportune times. It was no different on Thursday night, when he was again placed as the only obstacle between the New York Yankees and an exit toward the offseason's golf courses, beaches and deer stands.

And just like he did in the 2010 ALCS, A-Rod came up whiffing. His strikeout at the hands of Jose Valverde(notes) sealed a 3-2 win for the Detroit Tigers and sent the Yankees home for the winter after they won an AL-best 97 games.

Though he went 2 for 18 with no extra base hits and six strikeouts this series, A-Rod was far from the only reason the Yankees are going home early. The man behind him in the lineup, Mark Teixeira(notes), was just as bad while Nick Swisher(notes) and Russell Martin(notes) were almost equally as invisible. At least A-Rod played a good third base all series long.

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But both you and I know that doesn't matter much — nor does his standout performance in the 2009 postseason or the fact that he was injured early this season — when it comes to A-Rod. He's owed another $143 million through 2017 and could stand to make as much as another $30 million if he passes the home run marks of Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Henry Aaron and Barry Bonds. It's that type of money that makes him susceptible to the increased criticism from disappointed Yankees fans — and schadenfreude-laced posts like this one. (You clicked through that slideshow, didn't you?)

Photos: AP, Getty Images, US Presswire

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