As A-Rod celebrates his 40th birthday he remains perhaps one of professional sports’ all-time enigmas. I don’t think any one, including his family and friends can say with any certainty what to expect from this pharmaceutically enhanced superstar in the way of personal behavior over the next year. And even the most astute observers of baseball did not predict the reemergence of offensive skills he’s displayed during the first half of the 2015 season after sitting out all of last year on his infamous suspension.
I did not become a fan of A-Rod the player until 2007, when two things happened simultaneously. First, he had the most incredible year on the field of any Yankee I’ve ever seen play the game. Secondly, it seemed as if he learned how to say “no comment” whenever the New York media asked him questions that were not about his play on the field.
Then, A-Rod and his agent, Scott Boras orchestrated that tasteless and clueless announcement during the 2007 World Series that A-Rod was opting out of his Yankee contract. Even though the move did end up making millions more Yankee dollars for Rodriguez, it was a public relations disaster for him at the same time.
By the time 2008 rolled around, A-Rod was still saying no comment to the reporters but the papparazzi photos of his extra marital actions started speaking a lot louder than his words. With the Yankees struggling with injuries under then new manager, Joe Girardi, the sports pages of the New York tabloids were filled with photos of Rodriguez in night time action. Unfortunately, none of those photos showed A-Rod with a baseball uniform on.
Then during the spring of 2009 we learned that A-Rod did take steroids. So in the space of just two and a half pinstripe seasons, Rodriguez’s actions verified his greed, his marital infidelity and his cheating on the field, a sort of modern day ballplayer’s triple crown. But then came the Yankees’ glorious ’09 post season run, with Alex leading the way with some of the most impressive clutch hitting I’ve seen during my fifty years as an avid fan of MLB. He had reversed his reputation as a perennial goat of October, captured his elusive World Championship ring and gained the somewhat begrudging adoration of Big Apple fans all at the same time. It seemed too good to be true and as we now know, it was. The following year we learned that Rodriguez visited, Dr Anthony Galea, the convicted Canadian “blood doctor” without telling the Yankee front-office. Then came the Biogenesis scandal and I have to admit, once he was suspended and admitted using steroids yet again, I thought we’d seen the last of A-Rod in pinstripes.
Then like a bad dream sometime does, he returned and the Yankee front office that did everything possible to discourage him from doing so did nothing to prevent him from doing so. Now Steinbrenner, Cashman et. al. are actually praising his play again. Proves once again that the business of Major League Baseball is all about what did you do for me lately.
Ironically, A-Rod who has stopped talking about himself shares his birthday with another Yankee who never could. This utility-infielder and this Yankee starting pitcher from the 1950’s were also born on July 27th.
|NYY (11 yrs)||1375||6005||5120||958||1485||247||9||327||1030||146||727||1153||.290||.386||.533||.919|
|SEA (7 yrs)||790||3515||3126||627||966||194||13||189||595||133||310||616||.309||.374||.561||.934|
|TEX (3 yrs)||485||2172||1863||382||569||91||9||156||395||44||249||379||.305||.395||.615||1.011|