On the same night a movie involving the New York Yankees premieres, we are reminded of the embarrassing link "Henry & Me" had with suspended third baseman, Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was already in the picture using his voice to play himself, but was later edited from the movie when the Biogenesis scandal was in the midst of sinking the 39-year-old's 2014 season.
According to Howie Kussoy of the New York Post, investors in the movie decided to cut A-Rod because of fears that he'd hurt the marketability of the film, as was reported last August:
Rodriguez, who did his own voice work while appearing in the upcoming animated film “Henry & Me,” will be removed from the film’s final version due to fears from investors that the Yankees third baseman, who is currently appealing a 211-game suspension for his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs, will hurt the marketability and profitability of the picture.
Kussoy's report also pointed out that producer Joseph Avallone said it would "cost a fortune" to make the change. Despite that, the change was made and Hideki Matsui, who was originally slated to be the hero in the kids picture before moving to the Los Angeles Angels in 2010, was picked to take A-Rod's place.
While it was a wise move to pull A-Rod's likeness from the project, it wasn't a good idea to put him in that spot in the first place. Sure, Matsui was the original guy for the job and had to be switched out, but Rodriguez was by no means the second-best option.
Already in hot water after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs while with the Texas Rangers, A-Rod stunk of corruption and his career was about as tainted as can be.
Yankees adviser Ray Negron spoke on the decision to have A-Rod play the role, only to remove him much later in the process, per the New York Post story:
“In 2009, Alex had already admitted to that situation, had a good season, had a terrific World Series and playoffs and then what happened was Matsui, who was the initial hero, had gone to the Anaheim Angels,” said Negron. “I wanted a current Yankee and we figured, he’s past that, redemption, etc. George Steinbrenner was always a guy about second chances. Perfect guy.”
“I love Alex Rodriguez, but I love kids more, and at the end of the day, we don’t want to get caught up with everything that’s happening right now,” Negron said. “This is too important a message of what we’re trying to relay to kids and we don’t want to get caught up with that.
Despite Rodriguez's admission to using steroids and subsequent apology before the movie was made, he still wasn't the right guy to choose.
It's always the smarter choice to err on the side of caution and steer clear of a dirty player, whether he seemingly redeemed himself or not.
As was the case in A-Rod's situation, there was more negative information that hadn't been released yet, which was certainly something to consider given his past. Once Biogenesis reared its ugly head, Negron and company had to reverse course in order to avoid total embarrassment.
I'd argue the Yanks already embarrassed themselves by having A-Rod of all people try to appeal to kids and teach them a valuable lesson. As a parent, A-Rod would be one of the last guys I would want my child to idolize and learn from as a young, impressionable baseball fan.
The Yanks could have chosen a slew of other players that were a better option than one of the most controversial players in Major League Baseball history.
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