Alex Rodriguez is still public enemy number one throughout Major League Baseball, but if no one is going to talk about his place in history, we will.
Recently, Alex Rodriguez, the most complete shortstop to ever step foot on a diamond, joined the illustrious 3,000-hit club. He became just the 29th player to accomplish this incredible feat. Think about that for second. Major League Baseball was founded in 1903. Players have come and gone throughout the years, yet only 28 others have had the talent and fortune to reach the 3,000-hit plateau. The newest member has been ignored by multiple media outlets instead of being applauded and praised. It’s easy to hate Alex Rodriguez, whether on the field or off. He is arrogant, negotiated two $200 million contracts and, of course, he is in every conservation surrounding PEDs. It’s time to appreciate A-Rod for his accomplishments though, because we only see a player of his caliber every so often.
I am a huge A-Rod fan. I think he is the best player that I have seen in my short lifetime. Better than Bonds, Griffey or Trout and I don’t believe its close. I may be biased but he has the stats to back up my claim. He stole bases, hit bombs, drove runners in, hit for average and played Gold Glove-caliber defense. He has won MVP’s, a World Series title and has been an All-Star, deservingly, 14 times. So why does the world insist on discrediting his accomplishments and boo him every time he comes to bat?
As a society we have a tough time separating the player on the field from the player off the field. Take Terrell Owens. He created headaches on and off the field, but you could count on him to go off every Sunday. He is hardly mentioned amongst the greats at his position but finished his career second in receiving yards, third in receiving TD’s and sixth in catches. People hated his constant attention-grabbing remarks and attitude so we ignored how great of a player he was.
Rodriguez has been caught lying, cheating and taking the most money he can get from whatever club chooses to pay him. Athletes are held to a higher standard than us ordinary folk. They are idolized by kids at a young age. When they fail to meet those expectations or do something that is viewed as immoral, we lose respect for them. What we don’t understand is that they are people too, unique in their own right. They are going to make mistakes and fail just as much as others. After all, baseball players play a game where failing 70 percent of the time is considered great.
We ask these players we admire to always make the right decision, live flawlessly and be honest with us at all costs. Is it because we ourselves can’t achieve their elite status? Put yourself in their shoes. Tomorrow, try to please and appease everyone you come in contact with. Then try it for a week. I promise you, trying that will drive you bonkers. You won’t be living your life because you’re constantly worried about others perceptions of you. It’s impossible to please everyone you cross paths with.
For Alex Rodriguez, he made his bed and now he is laying in it. He broke the hearts of millions when he lied to the camera about his PED use. He won’t be forgiven or considered for the Hall of Fame simply because he lied over and over. We live in a world of second and third chances. He has had an opportunity to come clean about his past and has continuously refuted those claims.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Rodriguez all have something in common. They lied about their “cheating” ways. Many baseball fans groan whenever those players are brought up. Andy Pettite, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Melky Cabrera and Nelson Cruz all took their whoopin’. Most have forgotten these players used PEDs, for two reasons: one, they served the suspension or faced the music somehow. Two, those players can’t compare talent- or production-wise to A-Rod.
I’m nearly positive all would have been forgotten if he just attacked this head on. We can’t accept that historically brilliant players had an advantage when they played. Because A-Rod is an all time great, society has a problem with him lying to the world. Lesser-known players receive a slap on the wrist from the league and the fans.
There are plenty of studies out there regarding HGH and its effect on baseball. Sure, HGH promotes muscle growth, but it doesn’t increase strength. Steroids are the drug that provide strength and mass and can increase athletic performance. Yes, he admitted to taking steroids to live up to the contract he signed in Texas, but it’s not like he was lacking power numbers before going to Arlington. He hit 184 home runs during his five full seasons in Seattle; that’s an average of almost 37 a year. There is no research relating steroids or HGH to better hand-eye coordination. In baseball, you need that tool in order to hit the ball. Face it; A-Rod was just better than everyone in his prime.
It’s time to move on from the PED drama and get on with our lives. Measures are in place now to better monitor nowadays. As fans, learn how to separate the player from the person, even if he isn’t on your team. Funny how that works; if said player is on your team, then we love him. If he plays for the opposition, we wish doom upon them in every situation. Understand I’m not behind any leagues’ criminals or players that have been in those situations. But it’s time to acknowledge that A-Rod is one of the best that has ever played and celebrate his 3,000th hit. No one is perfect. Judge him based on his production and not his personal life and how he acts with the media.
Alex Rodriguez has lied, he has cheated, and now, he’s paying for it in the court of public opinion. But even through the lies and the cheating, he was one of the best to ever put on a uniform, and it’s time we acknowledged that.
Oh, and PS – To the fan who caught that 3000th hit, give Rodriguez his ball back.