So yesterday was Alex Rodriguez’s final game of his career. This came after a news-breaking press conference, held by the Yankees, where the man was basically forced into retirement by his team. At first, I felt sorry for the guy because I didn’t think he deserved this ending to his career. My first impulse was to write a long-winded curtain call, but I’ll refrain and here’s why- it’s all his fault.
When A-Rod first came to New York in 2004, fans were ecstatic, to say the least. 29 at the time, he could boost any lineup, both offensively and on defense. That’s what the Yankees needed in their infield with All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter. I was too young at the time to fully understand how much of an impact he’d have on the team, but I can only imagine the celebration of the Steinbrenners after the deal was made.
During his time in the pinstripes, he has seen his highest of heights (2009 World Series win) and the lowest of lows (his one-year suspension). New York fans, being the hopeless, positive souls that we are, always welcomed him back with open arms. But not anymore. Maybe I only speak for myself, but his career has become a drawn out mess.
I felt two emotions watching the press conference. The first was “finally”. The second was “The Steinbrenner’s are playing no games”. As a disclaimer, I do believe the Yankees should’ve let him finish out his farewell tour into September (since they probably won’t make it to the postseason). Instead, he played his final game last night and it seemed like the common emotion in the stadium was respect. I do think he deserves respect, but to what degree?
The shortstop-turned-third baseman used performance enhancing drugs during his time with the Texas Rangers in the early 2000’s. He denied it until the evidence was overwhelming and he had run out of excuses. Between playing in a league that performs regular drug tests and being under a microscope by the media, it was only a matter of time before we all found out the truth. Taking any kind of PED is not only illegal, but it could be the difference between a first ballot hall of famer and being overlooked in voting. Just ask Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa.
Now that it’s all said and done, I can acknowledge that the dramatic end to his otherwise fantastic career was all his fault. He was the one who made the decision to use steroids, knowing the possible consequences. He made the decision to lie through his teeth for a number of years. He made the attempt at a comeback, even though we all knew his career was over after his suspension. Don’t get me wrong, the Yankees were instrumental because of the business side of things, but he ultimately tainted his own legacy. For that, I can’t help but feel an ounce– yes, just an ounce– of sympathy for a player that I’ve grown up adoring and rooting for.
I’m Kayla Nyree, and whatever will be, will be!