Strong commentary from Sweeny today on Alex Rodriguez:
It’s almost comical now, the way we once thought about Alex Rodriguez.
These are the first three paragraphs of a Sports Illustrated cover story by Gerry Callahan in the July 8, 1996 issue:
In the off-season he lives with his mother, Lourdes Navarro, and shares a bedroom with his best friend, a three-year-old German shepherd named Ripper. He plays golf each morning and hoops each evening, and by 10 p.m. he is nestled in bed with his Nintendo control pad. He makes Roy Hobbs look like John Kruk, and he makes you wonder if you’re missing something: A guy this sweet has to be hiding some cavities.
On July 27, Alex Rodriguez will turn 21, making him old enough to have a beer with his Seattle Mariners teammates. He says he’s not interested. “Can’t stand the taste,” he says. Rodriguez has always felt more at home among milk drinkers.
He grew up in the Miami suburb of Kendall with a poster of Cal Ripken Jr. over his bed and number 3 on the back of his baseball uniform, tribute to another of his idols, former Atlanta Braves star Dale Murphy. “My mom always said, ‘I don’t care if you turn out to be a terrible ballplayer, I just want you to be a good person,” says Rodriguez. “That’s the most important thing to me. Like Cal or Dale Murphy, I want people to look at me and say, ‘He’s a good person.’ “
No, it’s not even comical. It’s absurd. Dale Murphy? Murphy has more integrity and goodness in his pinky than A-Rod does in his whole body. He was supposed to be the face of everything that was good in baseball, and now he is the exact opposite.
A-Rod might avoid suspension here, because there might not be a way to prove he received anything illegal from Tony Bosch. But his past history does not entitle him to the benefit of the doubt. Within weeks of that teary press conference in 2009, his infamous Cousin Yuri (who was no longer supposed to be anywhere near the team) was spotted picking him up after an exhibition game. If the timeline in the Biogenesis report is accurate, then he was back on PEDs within weeks after that.
Bottom line is this—A-Rod will no longer be considered among the greatest players ever, and he will not be in the Hall of Fame, as a Yankee or anything else.
I have to admit: I was once a huge A-Rod fan. Like everyone else, I was fooled. I want to say it was around 1997 when my wife and I saw Alex one day on QVC, selling autographed stuff, and we were sucked in by him…thinking what a nice, polite, well-spoken, and clean young man he was…and good-looking too! We were discussing, at the time, that this kid is going to be the next Cal Ripken Jr. (as he seemed to be someone who “got it”).
But, then, A-Rod came to the Yankees and I got to see him on an everyday basis. Quickly, all the thrill and excitement that I had over the Yankees trading for him went away. (And, I was – if you pardon the pun – juiced over him joining the Yankees. I can still remember Billy Crystal opening the Oscars soon after the trade and saying something like “Holy Crap, the Yankees got A-Rod!” We were all looking forward to him coming here.)
Yet, again, once Alex got to New York, it didn’t take long to see he was a FOS person, a flawed player, and not a good teammate. After a while, I took his pictures down in my house. And, if this is the end of his career, or, at the least, the end of his Yankees career, I would be thrilled to see him gone.