Cleat Geeks

To Terrorize or to Forgive? The Issue With Alex Rodriguez.

I know what most of you are thinking. He embarrassed baseball. He ruined people’s lives. He drove the Yankees from yearly World Series contenders to a huge market team in debt while raking in $275,000,000 over two years when less than 1% make that in a lifetime of hard work. All this man had to do was play a game and he managed to screw that up. You are probably right to call him a cheater, a fraud, and any other profane word you want to use. A few months ago I would have been booing him along with the rest of the baseball world. But after careful research, I have come to the conclusion that he deserves to be cut a little slack.

 To start this things off, Alex has done about as good as anyone can hope for a 39-year-old, batting.344 with 4 homers. I know it is early, but you can tell Rodriguez has worked hard to get himself in shape for major league pitching. To make it even more impressive, Rodriguez has had 2 hip surgeries which is where almost all your power comes from. With a total of 14 injuries that have caused him to miss multiple games over 19 years, it is amazing he is not in a wheelchair yet. Last night, Rodriguez hit 2 homers including one that went 471 feet, the longest Yankee hit in 10 years. Unless he gets hurt again, this does not look like a fluke. He has endured the boos and embraced the hate mail. They are begging him to give up. They want a new era of clean-cut stars such as Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw. In my opinion, I think baseball needs a little of a diva figure. Alex does not embrace this role. In fact, he is probably the one player that worries about the opinion of the public the most.

ARodWhen Alex was suspended for the 2014 season, Alex went back to college, Miami University to take a marketing class during the summer. At this point A-Rod was at his lowest moment. Baseball was embracing his sidekick Derek Jeter, rewarding him with standing ovations every game, and then there is A-Rod, a divorcee and former glory boy of America, sitting in class with other regular people. How horrible right? This is where Alex got his swagger back. He was no longer in the spotlight, he was at peace! The students didn’t even know who he was until he stood up. The students were introducing themselves to the class, what they wanted to do for a living, blah blah blah. Alex says his name. Peoples mouths drop. What is A-Fraud doing in my marketing class?He is not even sure himself. Alex begins to feel better though as college has been a secret dream for him. He has been going through therapy daily and is just glad to get a break. Alex has begun to blend in the background, just what he wants. He then receives his first essay over the preassigned reading they had. A few days later the professor calls him and tells him the news… he got a 44. 44% in baseball now that would be legendary. In the school world, it gets you a job scrubbing dishes. He feels like a failure and who wouldn’t blame him. But Alex recovers. He starts getting closer with his family, including a reunion with his father, who he had not seen since childhood. He starts getting better grades, not honor role level although impressive. He begins training rigorously for the upcoming season. He is stressed and tired, but name one person who isn’t these days?

At the beginning of the year life isn’t great. His doctor/friend Tony Bosch has been sent to jail, with the same expected to happen to his cousin Yuri. Spring Training is about to begin, and it’s been over a year since he has seen professional pitching. He is going through extra therapy, trying to get ready for the season. He lives in hope. He is finally at peace with himself, tuning out the nay-sayers. The Yankees still had not forgiven Rodriguez, who were currently trying to get out of his monster contract. Alex had a positive spring, not making any waves, just having fun again. This brings us to where we are now, 2 weeks into the season. Kris Bryant is supposed to be the next Alex Rodriguez, only  clean. 20 years ago this was Alex, just getting called up to the majors, the super-prospect ready to take the baseball world by storm. Alex had the same infectious smile, same perfect swing, same love of the game. Im not asking for Alex to be forgiven. He has a long way before he has earned that. But at least lay off him for a while, and let him continue to rake and give it one last hurrah.

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