On Friday night at Yankee Stadium, Alex Rodriguez had his Yankee moment. More than his postseason performance in 2009 – when he helped the Yankees win their last World Series -for the first time, Alex Rodriguez was accepted. Rodriguez felt the love from Yankees fan in the Bronx after his first inning fly ball cleared the right field fence for his 3,000th career hit. It is a remarkable achievement, even with his history of PED use. But this is not a column to debate his place in baseball history or whether or not he will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
This column is about giving the man with all the gaudy stats credit for how he has rebuilt his image in the span of just four months. Alex Rodriguez was viewed, not-so-long-ago, as a complete liar,cheat andfraud. He questioned Yankees doctors and refused to admit his responsibility in the BioGenesis scandal until he was left with no other choice. To some, Alex’s actions areunforgivable for how he has tainted the sport. I get that. But I do think he does deserve a fair amount of credit for how he has handled himself following the year-long suspension from Major League Baseball. There have been no negative headlines, no pictorials in magazines, nothing. He continues to be the great teammate that he has always been (just ask Robinson Cano about A-Rod the clubhouse man).There have been no more lawsuits, no questioning of doctors and he has not tried to put the Commissioner’s office on trial.
Maybe Alex has finally seen the light. Maybe I am giving him the benefit of the doubt too quickly. I think people deserve second chances in life. As we know, life is way too short. Alex has certainly come across a tad more humbled and appreciative this season. He appreciates the game now more then ever after it was taken from him for his PED use. He needed last year to get to this year. He needed to stare into the abyss of a lost season, to realize what he had. Maybe that is what has brought about the change in Alex. Sometimes we don’t truly appreciate something or someone until it is gone. Baseball has always been the first love forAlex Rodriguez. It has been there ever since he can remember. When he lost it, there was nothing else in his life that could replace it.
So A-Rodis back,he is hitting and he is humbled. He is now accepted by a far greater percentage of Yankees fans. Will he ever be fully accepted by the entire baseball community? I do not see that happening anytime soon. People have long memories. But in 2015, Alex is a changed man. He is better for it and the Yankees are certainly better for it as well. Amazingly enough, he has been one of the constant performers in baseball since Opening Day. Good for Alex. He deserved Friday night. He is trying to rewrite the final act of his career, and he is off to a good start.