Alex Rodriguez could have been the Boston Red Sox problem. When the slugger bailed out of his own arbitration hearing last fall, it could have been WBZ-FM’s Felger and Massarotti show he bared his empty heart to, not Mike Francesa and WFAN.
Ten years ago, the Sox had a deal done with the Texas Rangers to send enigmatic left fielder Manny Ramirez to Arlington in exchange for Rodriguez. MLB.com’s website even had Rodriguez’s No. 3 jersey’s for sale. It was a master stroke by the new ownership group of John Henry and the boy-wonder general manager Theo Epstein.
Except, the Major League Baseball Players Association did not approve of how Boston wanted to restructure the later years of his mega-contract and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig ended up scuttling the trade.
Thank goodness he did.
You could write a book about how the complicated Manny Ramirez-Red Sox relationship fell apart. Manny being Manny was cute, but the slugger believed it and thumbed his nose crossing the Tobin Bridge on his way out of town.
Nothing remotely close to what Alex Rodriguez has put the New York Yankees through.
Yes, the Yanks took his contract. Moreover, when Rodriguez decided to opt-out in the closing stages of Game 4 of the 2007 World Series, they re-signed him. When he confessed to steroid usage to Peter Gammons on MLB Network and swore up and down he was clean—after telling CBS’ Katie Couric he had never touched the stuff in a 60 Minutes profile—the Yankees stood by him.
When MLB and the Miami New Times, however, started listening to Anthony Bosch and his Biogenesis clinic in regards to blatant steroid use, Rodriguez’s credibility—whatever was left of it—was shot to hell.
What followed was an act of hubris that would have made Narciss blush.
Instead of finally becoming contrite and remorseful for being a habitual liar, Rodriguez doubled down, earning a 211 game suspension from the sport that has given him everything.
Saturday, when arbitrator Frederic Horowitz reduced the length from 211 to a full-season 162, Rodriguez not only showed no remorse or pleading of forgiveness, he vowed to fight further and continue to disrupt a team that is ready to move on without him.
Self-love and sports is not new. We see it in the National Football League and National Basketball Association all the time. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire still have fan bases after their steroid usage went public. There are people in Cincinnati and elsewhere who struggle with what exactly Pete Rose did wrong.
No one feels sorry for Rodriguez.
Rose put his own interests before the game and city he swore up and down he loved and only came clean for money. Apparently, no one has offered the correct amount of cash for Rodriguez to unburden himself yet.
His career had such promise. A kid that broke into the Seattle Mariners at the tender age of 19, Rodriguez could have been worshipped in the Pacific Northwest like Ken Griffey Jr. Instead, each-and-every step of the way, Rodriguez placed himself before his sport and his employers.
If your child came to you and asked what athlete they should model themselves after, Alex Rodriguez would rank slightly lower on the list than Dennis Rodman.
The average Red Sox and Yankee fan agrees on very little. Water is wet and the New York Jets stink would be the short list. Loathing Alex Rodriguez joins it.
There will be no day in the sun in Cooperstown for Rodriguez. That may be the oly good thing that comes out of this whole mess.
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