Alex Rodriguez announces his retirement from baseball.https://t.co/TNBVlHfpaC
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) August 7, 2016
First things first, I’m a Boston Red Sox fan. I’ve had mixed feelings about Alex Rodriguez for most of my life. Eh, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. 90% of my life I’ve hated A-Rod, and the other 10% of the time I’ve silently liked him. Rodriguez is one of the most polarizing players in the game, and for good reason. He’s lied about taking steroids on several occasions, and spent the entire 2014 suspended as a result of his steroid use. In 2015 he made an impressive comeback, as the slugger hit .250 with 33 home runs and 86 RBI. 2015 was the first year he hit 30 home runs since 2010, so it looked like he was about to experience an unlikely career resurgence.
However, today, A-Rod and the Yankees announced that he will play his final game in a Yankee uniform on Friday, August 12th. After that, the Yankees will release him and he will work as a special adviser to the club. Say what you want about Rodriguez, but he is a brilliant baseball mind and can no doubt be of assistance to the Yankees as they attempt to rebuild their club.
Now, Rodriguez has a very tarnished legacy. There are already rumors swirling that he will sign with another team before he hangs up the cleats for good, but for the sake of this blog let’s pretend that Friday is really going to be it for the 3-time MVP. As it stands right now, Rodriguez is 4th all time in home runs, with 696. He is 18 short of reaching Babe Ruth, which I believed to absolutely be attainable before he wrapped up his career. There is little doubt that Alex Rodriguez is one of the best players to ever play the game, and if you say otherwise you’re wrong. Rodriguez’s use of steroids obviously taints his career to an extent. But he performed at an elite level for years, steroid-aided or not. I loved to hate Rodriguez throughout his career, but I can recognize that he is one of the best to ever play. Any fan who rips on him for being a steroid user is a hypocrite, because they have undoubtedly rooted for a steroid user on their own team. My favorite player growing up was Manny Ramirez, so it would be ridiculous of me to write off A-Rod’s career while I have several Ramirez jerseys at my house.
A-Rod was a strange guy throughout his career as well, whether it be his alleged painting of himself as a centaur, or the time he slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove. He did plenty of things that made him easy to hate, but his comeback in 2015 turned me on him. He was great on the Fox coverage of the playoffs last fall as well, showing that he really has grown and is a changed man. If I didn’t change the way you think of Alex Rodriguez, give this ESPN piece a read and tell me you don’t end up kinda-sorta liking the guy afterwards.
P.S. If the Red Sox honor him in any way at Fenway Park this week they will get critizied heavily, and deservedly so. That’s pushing it.