Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Fascination with Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez is in the news again and it is tough not to watch, read and listen to the stories about him. Say what you will about him, he is fascinating. A day after his handwritten apology, comes this very long feature piece on AROD, titled The Education of Alex Rodriguez. It is a great read, regardless of what you feel about him.

The article goes into his life during his year away from baseball. How sincere is it? Well, as we all know Alex has given up the right to get the benefit of the doubt treatment. However, it is very telling. Pete Rose has gone on record saying Alex is one of the most insecure athletes he has ever met. That comes across in the article. He is ashamed he never attended college, he is always trying to make himself smarter, trying to learn new things. He doesn't address the reasons for his PED use in the article but it isn't a huge leap to see how someone as insecure as Rodriguez would turn to PED use and not be able to give them up.

I want to like AROD, I really do. I think he has a lot of great qualities. I also feel he got a raw deal from Derek Jeter. I wrote about that back in 2011 when a book on Jeter came out. I often wonder how his career would have been different if he ended up on the Red Sox. Obviously it worked out well for the Red Sox that the trade fell through. It hasn't worked out well for Alex. People forget that he was willing to give back money from his mega contract to play for the Red Sox. This 30 for 30 short on that winter in December 2003 is great to watch, especially now.

I was so intrigued about how life may have been different for AROD as a member of the Red Sox that I tried to re-create history with the help of  Out of the Park Baseball. In this alternate universe, things do work out better for AROD. The Red Sox? Not so much. You can read about that here.

AROD will turn 40 this year, hard to believe. He still has three years left on his contract, even harder to believe. How will it all end? It will be fascinating but also a little sad. I want to like AROD, but his most recent acts make it tough. He went Lance Armstrong on all of us. He was lying, knew he was lying and in an effort to keep the lie going he attacked good people who he knew were telling the truth. It doesn't get much worse than that. 21 years ago I sat in Fenway Park and watched him make his debut. I wrote about that experience last year on the 20th anniversary. It is still surreal to me what has transpired in the last two plus decades. Maybe this is why I still want to like him even though I know I shouldn't.

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