• A-Rod’s Legacy: Attention For Bad Reasons

    Posted by on January 30th, 2013 · Comments (3)

    Good stuff today from Richard Justice

    Some of us thought A-Rod would change when he joined the Yankees. For the first time, he would not be bigger than the franchise. He’d be surrounded by players even more famous and part of a franchise that won before he arrived and would win once he departed.

    The Yankees changed Roger Clemens, and not in a small way. He’d probably reject such a notion, but Clemens became a different guy with the Yankees. He was no longer the main player. Instead, he was part of something larger, and he understood it and absolutely loved it.

    The Rocket misbehaved some early in his career, seemed to do things to draw attention to himself. Once he walked into the clubhouse doors at Yankee Stadium, he saw that it was no longer about him. It was about winning. It was about carrying himself a certain way.

    He saw how Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte and Joe Torre conducted themselves. He saw there was no drama in the clubhouse. He saw that only one thing mattered. As a result, The Rocket had a great six seasons with the Bombers. He was a beloved and respected teammate. He did charity work, befriended cops and soldiers and competed like hell on the field.

    He may not enter the Hall of Fame as a Yankee, but I’m guessing that in his heart and his soul he’s a Yankee.

    For whatever reason, A-Rod never seemed to find that same comfort level with being a Yankee. He was constantly making missteps or doing things that called attention—many times negative attention—to himself. Some people may have disliked him intensely, but there seemed to be more who just never understood him.

    He had a wonderful career arc written for him long ago. He was the kid who showed up at Miami Stadium and befriended Cal Ripken Jr. during Spring Training one year. He wanted to be like Ripken, who tried to do everything right, signing every autograph, preparing and performing in a way that would influence others in a way more powerful than words.

    All great players have special needs, and so it has been with A-Rod. If this is the end of his career or the beginning of the end of his career, he’ll go out with people remembering all the wrong things about him, not that he was an incredibly gifted player, but that the attention too often wasn’t on his playing.

    Whatever happens with A-Rod, I will say this: After his playing days are over, he’ll be done with baseball. They will never let him be part of team ownership or a front office. And, even if he was willing to manage or coach, which I doubt, no one will touch him.

    Hopefully, he will go into retirement and never been seen again. Then again, if he ended up like O.J. Simpson someday, that would not shock me either…

    Comments on A-Rod’s Legacy: Attention For Bad Reasons

    1. Garcia
      January 30th, 2013 | 12:15 pm

      no one will touch him

      The world can be quite forgiving. That said, ARod has a lot of work to do before that ever even gets entertained with the people that matter inside of baseball. If he somehow figures out a way to use this experience and turn into a positive, where he becomes someone that can articulate the ups-and-downs in his career, then he can easily be forgiven and accepted. All is not lost, IMHO.

      ARod gets a lot of attention, a lot of negative press, but he knows a lot of this has been his own doing. And if he doesn’t know that then he must come to realize that eventually. I don’t sense that ARod is hated by the press, at least not the way Albert Belle, Carl Everett, or a plethora of others have been hated. He didn’t kill anyone. He said and did a lot of dopey things. He pumped his body up with PEDs. He violated baseball rules, he didn’t wipe out a whole village of children.

      If Willie Aikens can comeback and work for the Royals, I don’t see why ARod can’t comeback from this.

      I’m not an ARod fan, I would want nothing more than to see his contract go away, but I can’t wrap my head around ARod being a bad person. He’s not someone I will ever root for, but he’s hardly the worst human being on the planet. From my perspective, he’s just a lost and confused soul, constantly stuck between validating his own existence and doing dumb shit. I don’t feel bad for him, he brought this on himself and his narcissism led to his destruction. History is littered with these sorts of people, but there’s still time for ARod to change the way we remember him.

      It can spiral out of control and he can go the OJ route, or he can go in a different direction. Time will tell.

    2. Raf
      January 30th, 2013 | 12:38 pm

      For all the drama, Rodriguez has done positive things for other ballplayers over the course of his career. I doubt that he will disappear from the public eye once it’s said and done.

      I find it hard to believe that given some of the characters that have found work in the game after their time as active players, that Rodriguez will not be able to find work.

    3. MJ Recanati
      January 30th, 2013 | 3:30 pm

      Richard Justice wrote:

      For whatever reason, A-Rod never seemed to find that same comfort level with being a Yankee.

      I’ve got a theory as to why Rodriguez might’ve had a hard time finding “that same comfort level” upon arriving in New York…

      In any case, that’s ancient history. It seems silly for Justice to suggest that Rodriguez “would change” if the implied argument is that comfort in one’s own skin or with one’s surroundings would preclude that individual from seeking out the assistance of PED’s. According to Justice, Clemens changed upon arriving in New York. Yet how does Justice reconcile that fact with the near-certainty of Clemens’s PED use on the Yankees? If Justice argues that PED use comes from attention-seeking behavior then what to make of Pettitte’s PED use? Is Pettitte not one of the least self-aggrandizing players we’ve ever known?

      Justice’s theory makes for nice copy on a day when columnists are tripping over themselves to come up with Pulitzer-worth prose on their favorite subject. In reality, it’s just bunk.

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