Where do we start? Actually, where do we start after we talk about A-Rod?
The New York Yankees' postseason flameout ended on Thursday night in Detroit, beginning what figures to be long, loud offseason in the Bronx. Although Alex Rodriguez' benching by Yankees manager Joe Girardi was the big story as the Tigers swept the Yankees out of the ALCS, the team's epic postseason struggles were certainly the work of many people sporting pinstripes -- including some of those in the stands, apparently.
After barely holding on to the AL East crown, the team that lead the majors in home runs, slugging percentage and OPS during the regular season could barely put up any runs in the playoffs. Having plated enough in fits and starts to narrowly edge the Orioles in the ALDS, the Yankees' offense produced runs in just three of 39 innings in its four straight ALCS losses to the Tigers.
The culprit many have pointed to has been the Yankees' $275 million man, Rodriguez, who was benched three games in the playoffs and pinch hit for three times (one of which saved the team int he ALDS). When A-Rod was permitted to enter the batter's box, he went 3 for 25 with 12 strikeouts.
Again, he was hardly the only Bronx Bomber to misfire.
Curtis Granderson, who led the team with 43 homers and 106 RBI during the season, went 3 for 30 in the playoffs with a staggering 16 strikeouts (had 195 in the regular season). Robinson Cano, arguably the team's most dynamic offensive player, batted a clean .100 in 40 postseason at-bats.
"It wasn't just one guy struggling," Rodriguez said after Game 4, via the Associated Press. "It was a collective group, and it was a very unique situation."
"Unique." That's one way to put it. Before the A-Rod trade rumors begin to intensify and the baseball media covers the Yankees' offseason like ESPN covers Tim Tebow, it's time to decide who deserves the most blame for the Yankees' exit.
Was it A-Rod's fault? Granderson? Maybe Girardi with all of his eyebrow-raising roster moves in the ALCS? Scroll down below and vote.