It wasn’t supposed to end like this.
Alex Rodriguez had more talent than anyone in the game. His numbers put him in the upper echelons of baseball history. He was supposed to be remembered as one of the all-time greats.
But there was no pomp and circumstance, no farewell tour, no parting gifts by opposing teams, and no mention of retiring numbers or even looking forward to a Hall of Fame speech in five years.
Instead, all we got was a short statement saying A-Rod’s last game will be Friday and he will be released afterward. His last year found him benched with a batting average hovering just over the .200 mark. He had a simple press conference where he said all the right things about loving the game of baseball.
But it shouldn’t have ended like this.
He came into baseball with Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra as the new age of shortstops, all ready to take the position into the future from Cal Ripken, Jr., the stalwart at the time. But somehow it wasn’t enough. There was the move Seattle to Texas where he became the highest-paid player in the game. There was the trade to New York to be a part of the Yankees dynasty, and then three years later signing a new 10-year contract that broke the salary record again. He even got a World Series ring in 2009, playing his absolute best during the postseason.
But it didn’t seem to be enough. He had more talent than Jeter and Garciaparra, he made more money, but it seemed he wanted more. Then came the PEDs. He tried to put on his best face with distortions and outright lies. But he ended up serving a year-long suspension and the game kept on without him.
It didn’t have to be this way. Alex Rodriguez should’ve been basking in the glow of an awesome career. But now he’s a benchwarmer, hoping to get an at-bat or two in the series this week at Boston and at home against Tampa Bay. Sure, he’ll get a standing ovation when he comes to the plate. But come Saturday, he’s no longer part of the Yankees locker room. His bags packed and locker cleaned out, the team will move on. They’re in rebuilding mode, already having conceded this season as done even though there is still almost two months of baseball left to be played.
The team says that Rodriguez will stay on as a “consultant”, whatever that means. But there will be no more A-Rod in the dugout for the foreseeable future. That may never come.
Forget about Cooperstown for the time being, not with the year-long PED suspension on his resume. That may never come as well.
It didn’t have to end like this.
But the only person that Alex Rodriguez can blame is the man in the mirror.