The New York Yankees…
There are certain players that will forever bring a smile to a true fan’s face; Babe Ruth, Phil Rizzuto, Yogi Berra, Mariano Rivera, Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, Lou Gehrig, and of course, Derek Jeter. When sports fans think of Yankee greats, those are the men who come to mind. They changed the game of baseball and demonstrated how all players should play; with respect, with heart, courage, and determination.
Over the years, we have watched the best players in pinstripes take their final at bat and leave behind a legacy that will be unmatched. It is not just history, not just broken records, not just a ring count; it is a legacy.
It wasn’t long ago that the beloved Derek Jeter took his final swing. No matter what city you bleed for, there is no denying Jeter has always exhibited the true essence of baseball and what it is all about. He was captain, a fighter, a leader, a role model. He has even gotten a tip of the hat from Red Sox Fans. If that is not a definitive sign of success, I don’t know what is.
So here we are, approaching Alex Rodriguez’s final up at bat.
Another Yankee is stepping up to the plate one last time. Alex Rodriguez is saying goodbye to the game that built him. Rodriguez is a part of the greatest baseball franchise in history, has a World Series trip under his belt and of course, a championship ring.
Aside from signing the highest contract in MLB history at $23,000,000 per year in 2013, A-Rod’s name is shadowed by a few other numbers. Most importantly, 696. Rodriguez is only four runs away from joining Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, and Hank Aaron, in the 700 Club, but with his last game this Friday, that is one historic number he will not have under his name.
Yankee fans are outraged about A-Rod’s historic moment being denied, but who is really to blame for it? No stranger to criticism and scrutiny of the media, Rodriguez’s career took a nasty turn when his reoccurring steroid usage was exposed over the years. Some could argue that being the best comes with unfathomable amounts of pressure, which resulted in his desperate measures, but pressure should never be a reason to break the rules. Especially when you’re making the type of money A-Rod was pulling in.
There is not much worse than when the lies outshine the stats.
A-Rod was a phenomenal baseball player who deserves recognition for his accomplishments. However, it is impossible to think A-Rod and not think of the last few years of his career. In 2014, Rodriguez was suspended for his steroid usage for the entire season as well as losing $25M originally in his contract. The praise he received early on in his career was also tarnished when it was revealed he tested positive for illegal performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.
Every player goes through a slump, but A-Rod’s was by far the worst. It wasn’t just his performance that suffered; the slump was filled with disappointment, many of those who had known him feeling betrayed, and infuriating crushed fans who had once held Alex Rodriguez on a pedestal.
His History, Not Legacy…
Alex Rodriguez leaves behind mind-blowing stats and records breaking deals, but one thing he will not leave behind is a legacy of honor. His career is being forced into a sudden, tragic end and his fans are once again left with something missing.
Yes, history has been made, but the legacy that every player desired to one day leave behind is not in the cards for Alex Rodriguez.
He’ll be remembered as the guy that almost had it all.