As I sit here munching on my heaping helping of crow I can’t help but feel bitter, resentful, and scammed. After 4 seasons of defending Alex Rodriguez, of cheering him on, of insisting fans go easier on him, I find myself in the corner wearing the dunce cap. While all of my classmates point and laugh and revel in their “I told you so’s.” And what can I say? Nothing. They’re right. They have been all along.
Having A-Rod opt out of his contract without even taking a meeting to hear the Yankees’ offer has been the ultimate reality check for every fan who tried to believe he was anything but a self indulgent jackass. Now we all look back and ask “How was I such a fool?” Dealing with his free-agency has been like realizing you were dating a psychopath for four years. All your friends told you this chick was crazy, but you just didn’t see it. You insisted they were all overreacting. Until one night (say maybe the last night of the 2007 World Series) you wake up to see her standing over you dressed in full Geisha garb, wide eyed and breathing heavy as she sketches a portrait of you with crayons and glitter. And it hits you like a ton of bricks, it was there all along, you just couldn’t see it until it was right in your face.
Now the ugly truth has surfaced. For as much time as I spent as an A-Rod apologist I have to admit I was always scared I’d eventually have to eat my words. In the back of my mind I was always worried that he was exactly what everyone warned us of. And he is.
Many, including myself, thought he had come to his senses when he forced his way out of a futile situation in Texas. It seemed that Rodriguez realized his stats meant nothing if he was putting them up for a dreadful team. Suddenly he was headed to New York, to add his name to the list of great Yankees, to win not only MVP’s but Championships to boot. But Sunday night we all saw why he was really there, for the money and the attention. He was there for another chance at a bigger check and for the spotlight he so desperately craves. And now he will look for both elsewhere.
For someone who has always been touted as a “student of the game” who wants to make his place in history, his actions have not exactly helped etch his legend. Each successive move he has made has tarnished his reputation even further. Now it seems that some day down the road Alex Rodriguez will retire with full pockets, and an empty fan base. He will stand at the podium in Cooperstown as a team-less Hall of Famer. He will be remembered as the greatest individual ever to play the most team oriented game. He’ll be known as the All-Star who never truly belonged anywhere, who was never a leader except in statistics, and who never really became a winner.
Thanks to his selfishness he will never have that Jeter-like following that he has always seemed so envious of. His willingness to betray every city that embraces him will ensure that no baseball fan will ever genuinely care about or believe in Alex Rodriguez again. He will continue to be admired for his numbers and admonished for his character.
So go wherever the money takes you Alex, whether it is sunny California, windy Chicago, or fiery Hell. It doesn’t really matter. Because when all is said and done, no one will really care.