For Alex Rodriguez, maybe it was time to savor a bit of attention. He’s 40 years old and in two years, his $275 million deal will expire with the New York Yankees. When everybody wrote off the slugger last season after his year-long Biogenesis suspension, the controversial Dominican-American clobbered 33 home runs. Now, he is only 27 jacks short of breaking Babe Ruth’s record, a feat that should easily be accomplished, health permitting. So yesterday at spring camp, A-Rod must have felt the need to occupy center stage.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time,” Rodriguez revealed to ESPN. “After 2017, it’s time for me to go home and be dad.”
Later on in the day, however, Alex seemed to recant his decision in an interview with the New York Daily News.
“We’ll see what happens,” he reflected. ” I was referring to my contract with the Yankees. I have more than 300 games left to play.”
It’s interesting to speculate why Rodriguez blurted out the plans to retire. Had the PED scandal not forced him to the sidelines in 2014, it’s doubtful that A-Rod would have been so successful last season, even though his role had been reduced to designated hitter. A genuine superstar never loses his God-given ability, but the old bones need time to recover. Alex seems to realize that his illustrious career is nearing twilight mode, which was probably why he was on his best behavior in 2015. The media was treated with the utmost respect, as well as Yankee teammates. Rodriguez was like a guy on death row who got released on parole. Whether or not that attitude will continue is anybody’s guess.
A-Rod was like a guy on death row who got released on parole.
It was once said that if Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter were invited to the same party, A-Rod would made a grand entrance with confetti overhead. On the other hand, Jeter would slip in through the back door. If A-Rod thinks getting a head start on his retirement plans will earn a farewell tour like the former Yankee captain or the great Mariano Rivera, he’s sadly mistaken. While the circus atmosphere will remain from city to city, Rodriguez has never been a role model for the game like the previously-mentioned gentlemen, and avid fans are not stupid. Even as Alex was hinting retirement, the notorious playboy was making headlines in the tabloids for his latest romance with Anne Wojcicki, the former wife of Google founder Sergey Brin.
Look, nobody can deny that Alex Rodriguez has been one of baseball’s premier performers. His accomplishments have been amazing, even if like Pete Rose, off-the-field mistakes will prevent him from being enshrined in Cooperstown. So let’s cut the crap and hope that A-Rod has enough left in the tank to lead the Yankees back to the World Series in 2016. One year at a time, por favor.