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Bring me the head of Alex Rodriguez!!!
Updated: August 11, 2016
By Tony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus
NEW HAVEN, Ct. (BASN) — While watching Alex Rodriguez’s tearful news conference this past Sunday announcing his “divorce” from the New York Yankees, several things went spinning through my head.
Now if you’ve been under a rock for the last few days or you’re just getting home after chasing Pokemon, allow me to to get you up to speed regarding ARod and his soon-to-be former team.
The team announced before Sunday’s game against Cleveland that they and Rodriguez “mutually agreed” to give him his unconditional release following Friday’s home game against Tampa.
This comes on the heels of teammate Mark Teixeira’s announced retirement just a few days earlier. The former Georgia Tech product will finish out the rest of the season with the Bronx Bombers.
I’ll allow you to form your own opinion as to why they’ll allow Teixeira the opportunity to finish out the season and not ARod, but I digress. Like any issue similar to this, there are many factors.
Let’s try and digest some of them one by one.
– Despite being in pinstripes for over a decade, ARod has never really been fully embraced by the Yankees and their gang of spoiled brat fans. In many ways when they acquired him in February of 2004, it was more about sticking it to their rivals from Boston who failed to get him just months earlier. While he did help them win their last crown in 2009, he was blamed for the most of the Bombers’ postseason failures along the way. I akin it to the relationship President Obama had with Congress and the House over the last eight years. In that same vein, ARod was always the convenient scapegoat.
– The other silent partner in this sideshow has been Major League Baseball. During this “steroid era”, MLB hasn’t really tried to solve the problem. They just wanted to put a face to it. And if the face just happened to be either black (i.e., Barry Bonds) or hispanic, they didn’t have a problem with it. For example, ARod and several other hispanic players were all implicated (and suspended) in regards to the Biogenesis scandal in 2013. While the lone white player implicated — Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun — was treated as a sympathetic figure as he vehemently denied the charges. His lies eventually cost an MLB drug tester his job as the 2011 National League MVP claimed his sample was tampered with. Even with the suspension, there was a clear racial double standard at work here.
– Speaking of the aforementioned Bonds, it brings me to what in many media folks’ eyes is ARod’s biggest sin. When the former Giants slugger passed Hank Aaron in August of 2007 to become the all-time homer king, the national media clamored to find someone to “save us from Barry and restore the home run record”. The man anointed by the media wags for that job?? You guessed it — one Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez. Whether it was his huge contract with Texas or just plain old fashioned jealousy, there’s always been a large dose of arrogant smugness in the way the media has treated ARod.
But let’s also be very clear with this issue. ARod has been his own worst enemy at times. His Sally Field like way of wanted to be accepted (“You like me!! You really, really like me!!) has led to undoing as well. One of the main reasons why Barry Bonds was always able to succeed was because he had no problem telling the media to kiss his ass while circling the bases.
Despite being one of the most gifted players to ever put on a jersey, ARod’s insecurities regarding his talent and temperament have used against in so many ways. When he threatened to sue MLB, the Yankees, and the MLB Players Association regarding his suspension, I felt he had a legitimate case and could have blown the lid off the sport’s cavalier attitude regarding steroids.
Eventually he decided to not to follow suit and has spent the last few years trying “kiss and makeup” with all parties involved. And in turn, all three of those entities are now having the last laugh on this brief and bazaar “farewell tour”. As a friend of mine so adequately pointed out, the silence of the Players Association has been deafening.
And so on Friday night at the big ballpark in the Bronx, it will all come to an end for Rodriguez. While his final game will likely beg for more questions than answers, I can’t help but think we really haven’t seen the last of ARod as a major leaguer. Despite what seems to be an unofficial double secret probation being sent from MLB in cooperation with the Yanks, someone will want to add another chapter to the Rodriguez story.
Tony McClean can be reached via email at email@example.com.