HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) -Rudy Giuliani can't wait to keep cheering for A-Rod.
Asked Sunday how he feels that the New York Yankees and third baseman Alex Rodriguez are on the cusp of finalizing a $275 million, 10-year contract, the Republican presidential candidate broke into a wide smile and said he was thrilled.
``My take on A-Rod? I'm glad to have him back,'' Giuliani said before watching NASCAR's season-ending Ford 400. ``If you give up a player like A-Rod, you've got a lot of rebuilding to do.''
Giuliani's affinity for the Yankees is no secret.
The former mayor of New York is a regular at Yankee Stadium, with a seat right next to the team's dugout. And even on the campaign trail, he can't get away from Yankee-related questions: In recent weeks, he expressed hope Joe Torre would be back as manager and recently said former right fielder Roger Maris should be in baseball's Hall of Fame.
So on Sunday, it wasn't exactly a surprise that amid questions on oil prices and push polling, a conversation with Giuliani turned to Rodriguez's pending deal.
``Negotiations are complex in baseball and everyplace else,'' Giuliani said. ``I'm glad it's going to work out the right way. I'm very glad to see that as an American League fan, as a Yankee fan, that we're keeping him in the American League and keeping him on the Yankees. ... Maybe next year he'll have 62 home runs.''
Rodriguez opted out of the final three seasons of his $252 million, 10-year contract on Oct. 28, but later contacted the Yankees through intermediaries and began discussing the prospects of a return. The parameters of the new deal were agreed to last week.
Rodriguez has 518 career home runs, 244 shy of Barry Bonds' career record.
A-Rod's new manager, Joe Girardi, was also at Homestead-Miami Speedway Sunday for the NASCAR finale. Girardi chatted for a few minutes with popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., who posed for a photo with Girardi's son, Dante.
``Congratulations about your job,'' Earnhardt told Girardi, who was hired as the Yankees' manager last month after Torre turned down the team's $5 million, one-year offer.
Girardi thanked him, telling Earnhardt he's ``very excited'' to get started.
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