Wilcox: Why I rooted for Alex Rodriguez (Jan. 16)
Alex Wilcox | Wednesday, January 15, 2014
That title got you, didn’t it?
You thought I was going to make some twisted, convoluted argument as to why Alex Rodriguez is not the most vile scumbag to ever grace the sacred ground of a baseball diamond.
No, I can assure you that is not the case. As someone who adored A-Rod growing up (he played the game with a child-like enthusiasm, we share the same name, he wore my favorite number three while in Texas), no one is more disappointed or let down than I. If he never gets another at-bat in the MLB, baseball fans everywhere will be better off.
What surprises me though is just how many people feel the same way I do. Whenever something scandalous like this comes out, there are usually at least some supporters or defenders for the athlete implicated. People cheered Barry Bonds as he juiced his way to 762 home runs, and people still wear “Livestrong” bracelets even after Lance Armstrong admitted to doping his way to seven Tour de France titles.
But no one is standing behind Rodriguez. Throughout the years, A-Rod has lied and cheated his way into having the public more likely to believe a sleazy drug dealer than a three-time league MVP.
How did his fall from grace reach such epic proportions? How did it get so bad that even his own team doesn’t want him back? Well, throughout the years, Rodriguez hasn’t exactly shied away from controversy, and most times it is of his own doing. Let’s look at some of the most notable A-bombs A-Rod has dropped.
Contract with Texas
In 2001, Rodriguez signed the biggest contract in the history of professional sports with the 10-year, $252 million deal he received from the Texas Rangers. While A-Rod did win his first MVP award during his Texas days, the team never contended and ultimately traded Rodriguez after just three seasons. He would later go on to say the pressure to live up to this contract forced him to use PEDs.
Trade to Yankees – and opt out
The Rangers dealt Rodriguez to the one organization where the term “too burdensome contract” is not in its vocabulary – the New York Yankees. A-Rod won two more MVP titles in New York but failed to perform in the postseason. After another disastrous playoff season in 2007, Rodriguez opted out of the most lucrative contract in history, only to re-sign for another 10 years and $275 million. The enormous financial strain and headaches caused by A-Rod and this deal led Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to say the team will no longer give out 10-year deals.
While Rodriguez has won three MVP awards, he has not performed in the playoffs. His first season with the Yankees he was part of New York’s unprecedented collapse to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS, and has performed poorly in nearly every playoff series since. He has been benched, booed, and moved down in the lineup. On a team that was expected to win championships every season, he has won it all just once.
In one of the more bizarre stories of A-Rod’s career, Rodriguez and his wife filed for divorce due to a rumored affair with Madonna. Rodriguez’s former trainer then went on Good Morning America and claimed Madonna had brainwashed him with the teachings of Kabbalah.
In 2009, Rodriguez was outed as a steroid user in a report by Sports Illustrated. The report claimed Rodriguez tested positive for an anabolic steroid and testosterone in 2003, his first MVP year. A-Rod later claimed he only used steroids in Texas and stopped when he came to New York.
Benched in ALCS, flirts with fans
During another disastrous postseason, Rodriguez was pulled from Game 1 of the 2012 ALCS and then proceeded to flirt with fans from the dugout during the Yankees loss to the Tigers, allegedly giving one fan – an Australian bikini model – a baseball with his phone number on it.
In A-Rod’s latest scandal, hundreds of text messages and documents link Rodriguez and other players to PED distributor Anthony Bosch. While every other player confessed, A-Rod continues to deny any involvement with Bosch. In Sunday’s 60 Minutes, Bosch claimed Rodriguez’s associates threatened his life and attempted to get him to flee to Colombia.
So why is A-Rod arguably the most hated villain in the history of the game? The answer of course, is staring the tainted slugger right in the mirror – if only he could stop kissing himself in it to see the mess he has caused.
Contact Alex Wilcox at firstname.lastname@example.org