The easiest thing to do is bash others for their mistakes.
The hardest thing to do is hit a baseball – even if you believe the use of performance enhancing drugs help.
Exit Alex Rodriguez.
A-Rod and the New York Yankees announced today that this coming Friday will be his last game in a Yankee uniform.
A-Rod’s 22-year career will come to an end at Yankee Stadium, in pinstripes, against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Rodriguez, 41, will be released after that game. He will then serve as a special advisor with the team through the end of 2017. He will help with the development of younger players in the Yankees’ farm system.
“This is a tough day,” an emotional Rodriguez said in a press conference broadcast on national TV. “I love this game and I love this team. And today, I’m saying goodbye to both.”
A-Rod’s numbers are ridiculous. He has 696 home runs, 3,114 hits and a lifetime .930 on base plus slugging percentage. He won three MVP awards.
“I want to be remembered as someone who tripped and fell a lot but kept getting up,” he said.
No better testament to that was last season when A-Rod hit 33 homers, got his 3,000th hit and helped the Yankees make it to the postseason following a year’s suspension by MLB for PED use.
If you want to call his career complex or checkered, that’s fair.
But one thing you can’t deny is that he was one of the most dominant baseball players in the game’s history.
A-Rod numbers are staggering. His imprint is deep. His moments are unforgettable.
Not even his PED use will ever be able to erase what we all witnessed. Without question, A-Rod is one of the greatest players I ever saw.
History might not be kind to him right now. But years down the road, we might find out that A-Rod wasn’t the exception when it came to PEDs, but was more of the norm and that many more dabbled than we now know.
Still, it isn’t an excuse for his actions – A-Rod admitted twice to using PEDs – that makes him leave the game with a cloud over his head instead of a halo.
Many fans will come out of the woodworks and point a finger at A-Rod. They will call him a cheat and pretend he’s the worst player on the planet.
Meanwhile, these same fans won’t condemn the players on their favorite teams that got caught up in the MLB’s steroid scandal.
The Yankees and their fans will not soon forget A-Rod and the thrills he provided. When general manager Brian Cashman was asked how fans should remember Rodriguez, he took off his 2009 championship ring and offered the bling.
“We”, I’m wearing this 2009 (World Series championship) ring right here,” said Cashman about A-Rod, who batted .365 with six homers and 18 RBI in 15 postseason games that year. “I’ll take it off and put it right in front of you guys so you can look at it.
“That’s the ’09 ring. That doesn’t come along to this franchise’s trophy case without Alex Rodriguez’s contributions.”
The same goes to the way A-Rod helped the younger players on the team. His teammates adored him. It’s almost impossible to find a teammate with anything bad to say about him.
“Alex has meant a ton to me,” manager Joe Girardi said.
As his days dwindle and his career comes up to full debate, A-Rod shouldn’t have to carry any bigger burden about the scandal that rocked baseball because he was a big star. Either you did or didn’t use PEDs.
That’s all that matters. No one is more guilty than the next guy. Or less guilty than the next guy, for that matter.
If you steal $5 from your mother’s purse or $5 million from a bank, you’re still a thief.
Sadly, in the aftermath of this scandal, some are being treated more harshly than others. It reeks of favoritism and unfair treatment. Enter Boston DH David Ortiz, who has a failed PED test attached to his resume.
But somehow, Rodriguez is the scapegoat for all things bad in baseball. It’s just not fair.
“I do want to be remembered as someone who was madly in love with the game of baseball, someone who loves it at every level,” Rodriguez said. “Someone who loves to learn it, play it, teach it, coach it.”
That’s why this separation is perfect.