When he first came up to the majors in the mid-1990s, Alex Rodriguez was destined for stardom. Now, he is baseball’s public enemy No. 1
Even though they never won a World Series, the Seattle Mariners had some great teams in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I enjoyed watching Ken Griffey, Jr., even though he had some great games against my Yankees. While I didn’t hate A-Rod, I was never as impressed with his game than Griffey.
I laughed when Rodriguez signed that ridiculous $252 million contract with Texas prior to the 2001 season. Even though he put up great numbers, the Rangers had no pitching and his offensive talents went to waste.
Some people forgot that A-Rod was initially traded to the Red Sox after the 2003 season. However, the trade was vetoed by the Major League Baseball Players Union. Thanks to third baseman Aaron Boone’s off-season injury during a pickup basketball game, A-Rod was instead traded to the Yankees.
Unlike some Yankee fans, I wasn’t too excited about Rodriguez’s acquisition. I cheered for him, but not like I did for Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and others.
My lack of respect for A-Rod began when he swatted the ball out of Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS. It was a bush league play that I couldn’t believe a Yankee, much less a major league player, would do.
The Yankees gave him a 10-year, $275 contract in 2007. Since they would still have A-Rod when he turned 42 in 2017, I thought it was a waste of money. I know the Yankees had the money to afford him, but his skills and production would steadily decline.
It’s hard for me to see Rodriguez in pinstripes now. If I was at Yankee Stadium for his first home game Friday, I wouldn’t have cheered. I don’t think I would have booed either, rather just sat in confusion.
While I will always be a Yankees fan, I’ve had a hard time cheering for A-Rod. He’s a liar, a cheat and delusional. I don’t think anyone on the planet believes A-Rod didn’t use performance enhancing drugs, even those carrying signs of support for his first plate appearance Friday night against Detroit.
I’ll never understand why someone as naturally gifted and talented like A-Rod used PED’s. It reminds me of a scene from the 1992 Disney movie “Cool Runnings,” which was about the inaugural Jamaican bobsled team at the 1988 Winter Olympics. When one of the bobsleders asks his coach why he cheated years earlier when he had already won two gold medals as a participant, the coach replied that although he won, he had to keep on winning.
I think this helps explain why A-Rod and countless others used PED’s. It’s unfortunate that all of his stats and records will be tainted. But he has no one else to blame but himself. Otherwise, he had a clear path to the Hall of Fame. That path has now been blocked permanently.