He is a liar He is a cheater. He is a fraud.
There are many in New York City that view Alex Rodriguez that way. Some view him as a champion and as one of the greatest players they will ever see. Sure, he was awkward. Sure, there were times that he could not get out of his own way. Those thoughts were further cemented when Joe Torre came out with his book, “The Yankee Years” which did not paint Rodriguez in a positive light by any stretch of the imagination. It discussed his need for attention and that he was always looking over his shoulder and focused in on Derek Jeter. The book also revealed that teammates called Rodriguez “A-Fraud” behind his back. The Torre book did not pain Alex Rodriguez in the most positive light. Certainly the relationship between Rodriguez and Torre was not exactly warm and cozy. To go along with that, we know Rodriguez was a habitual PED user beginning when he was a Texas Ranger and continued through his Yankee years. We know that Rodriguez embarrassed himself when he tried to defend himself during the Biogenesis scandal by blaming everyone else but himself. He came across like a buffoon when he took on MLB and the Yankees and painted a picture that everyone was out to get him instead of looking at himself in the mirror and blaming the only person that truly controlled his decisions and choices, which was himself. He ultimately came to the decision to serve the 162 game suspension that was handed down by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. It is the longest drugs suspension and longest non-lifetime ban in the history of major league baseball.
That was then and this is now. When Rodriguez returned from his PED suspension he was a changed man. Controversy was no longer his middle name. He took the high road and tried to rebuild the relationships that he had destroyed. Who would have ever thought that Alex Rodriguez would ever be at a charity event with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred when he returned? There is nobody walking planet earth that thought that was a possibility. But that happened. Who would have ever thought that Rodriguez would be hired by FOX Sports as a playoff analyst given his likeability at the time? Nobody, but he was hired and did a fantastic job. His return to baseball in 2015 for Rodriguez could not have worked out better. He hit 33 home runs in the regular season as the Yankees were a Wild Card team in the American League. He began the long process of trying to rebuild his reputation.
I don’t look back at the Rodriguez years as a disaster for the Yankees. He helped them win a World Series in 2009. Sure, there was drama and headlines and photo spreads that did not paint Rodriguez in the kindest light. With that being said, he was worth the price of admission. He made the Yankees watchable, interesting and entertaining. I am not going to defend his choice to use PED’s and I am certainly not going to tell you that he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. But, I am not going to kick him in the rear end on the way out either. He played his last game as a Yankee on Friday night and fittingly enough he had an RBI double in his first at-bat. Yes, Mother Nature interfered with the pre-game festivities and many chuckled and celebrated that the ceremony was interrupted. For all those, that rip him on the way out, tell me the baseball player that will replace him now. Who will draw the interest that Rodriguez drew? Who is the crossover player that draws interest from baseball fans but non baseball fans. It will be a long wait, because there is none. That is a problem that baseball needs to resolve in short order. Whatever you want to say about Rodriguez, he had that covered.
For the Yankees, they move on and hope the young players that have flashed early develop into stars. Rodriguez in his new role with the Yankees might play a major role in the development. He should have been treated better on the way out, but he wasn’t. That is what happens when you are hitting .200 with 9 HR and 31 RBI in 65 games. This is what happens when you get old and the juice is no longer worth the squeeze. This is also what happens when you embarrass the organization after you get caught using PED’s again.
If this is the end for Alex Rodriguez as a baseball player, his stats are awe inspiring. Rodriguez has 3,115 hits, 2,021 runs, 696 HR and 2.086 RBI in 22 seasons. He did not do it clean and that is what makes him a tragic figure. For all the money that he made as a player, the sport he loves does not cherish him the way that he cherishes it. That was his choice and his choice alone to decide to use drugs to supplement his performance. The tragic thing about it is he did not need it in order to get to where he got as a player. He is physically one of the most impressive baseball players that you will ever see. However, he did not believe in himself the same way that others believed in him.
There is no debating his talent and his impact on the game. However, his place in MLB history rages on and will for quite some time.