It’s always been about him. His wants, his needs, his wishes, his paranoia.
This Friday it will likely all end, for him, and for the Yankees, as he exits.
His outright release brings to an end a decade of dynamic play, and a decade of distractions. The amazing big league seasons have been accompanied by the years of issues.
For every 40-home run season, and there have been 8-in all, including years of 52-54-57, there were the years of raging controversy.
A-Rod and the lies. A-Rod and the positive drug test. A-Rod and the suspension. A-Rod and the lawsuits.
His clubhouse relationships were sometimes stormy, sometimes steamy, always territorial. Who’s team was it, Ron Guidry’s, Derek Jeter’s, Mariano Rivera’s, or CC Sabathia’s?
It was ‘love me-love me not’ with managers from Joe Torre through Joe Girardi.
His bombast was probably only superseded by the bombast of the man who kept giving him contracts, George Steinbrenner.
It was the war with Yankees executives, from the late ‘Boss’, to his sons Hal and Hank Steinbrenner.
His fights with the Commissioner’s office, the MLB drug testing program, his own team, his union were legendary.
There was also always an explanation, an excuse, or a lie.
I never took PED’s. I didn’t know what I was taking. I felt pressure to use.
There were fall guys everywhere, from his cousin Yuri Sucart, who delivered him ‘Boli’ in Texas, and PED’s in New York. Anthony Bosch and the HGH clinics in Florida, where he violated the baseball drug testing agreement a second time, leading to his one year suspension.
His contracts, his paydays, his bonus money, was all front and center. He loved the game, and he loved the limelight, and he loved to get paid.
From little things, like demanding clubhouse boys put toothpaste on his toothbrush, to his ongoing brush with the New York media, to opting out of his contract in the middle of the Yankees-World Series games, he always had to be the center of attention.
And now it’s almost over, though you expect another chapter and verse. He gets 27M next year from New York.
Will he try to go home to Miami or Tampa Bay, and try to get to 700-home runs? Will he move into the TV booth, where his always ‘slick’ (sleazy) persona might ooze baseball for a network? Can he live outside the limelight? What will his post career life be like?
In modern day baseball history, few of the cheats have ever been treated well once the cheering and adoration stopped. The littered trail of arrogance by divas like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and now A-Rod, has not left them in good light.
Aside from the post playing career popularity of Cardinals slugger Mark McGuire, who admitted steroid use for injuries, and who has gained respect as a hitting coach with the Cardinals-Dodgers and now Padres, none of the others, stained from that era have done much. Where have you gone Sammy Sosa to Rafael Palmiero, to so many more?.
Barry Bonds may be in Miami as a coach for Don Mattingly, but he is held in disrespect virtually everywhere, except San Francisco. The rest are in the shadows, out of baseball, and nearly off the Hall of Fame ballot.
In this his final week in Pinstripes, more drama. Wanting to play the final group of games at Fenway Park despite not hitting all all. The New York media went haywire on Manager Joe Girardi, calling him ‘vindictive’ for not granting A-Rod a final wish to finish it out in the lineup.
He did finally play on Friday, and did what he has done so much this season, (0-4), his final batting average hovering near the Mendoza Line.
Girardi blew his lid, saying his job title did not mean he had to conduct farewell tours, though he has allowed equally slumping-about to retire Mark Teixeira to stay in the lineup, and did the same a couple of years back as Derek Jeter wound it all down.
It was typical Rodriguez, wanting what he wants. Fascinating what is just up ahead for him though.
And that will be the next discussion point, as to whether Hall of Fame voters will vote yes for him, or no, as they have for every one of the other cheats from that time.
He put up big numbers, (696) home runs, he earned mega money (452M) in his career that stretched from Seattle-to-Texas-to New York. He leaves behind a legacy, of good-bad-evil.
History will write about his hitting prowess, his relationships, his way of being.
Yankees fans will miss his talents. Doubt those who suffered while he sat in that dungeon of a dugout around him, will miss him. The drama queen will be departing after tonight’s game.
A-Rod was a A-Fraud, but that’s what you would expect from someone who should have gone by a different name “Mr. Me-Myself-and-I.”