The Tragedy of Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez

The Tragedy of Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez

Exit stage.

Director’s note:  Gracefully?  Petulant?  Actor’s choice.

We are at the end of a great sports epic.  Alex Rodriguez or A-Rod, superstar infield slugger for the New York Yankees, will be suspended from Major League Baseball for using performance-enhancing drugs (PED) and/or obstructing the league’s investigation into a PED scandal.  He may have played his last big league game, but we await the details of the suspension.  The suspense is not in the verdict or the punishment but in A-Rod’s response.  His lawyer has indicated publicly that he will appeal any suspension, but sources are saying that he is considering a settlement to lessen the punishment (see “Alex Rodriguez representatives negotiating possible settlement….”).

A-Rod’s story has not been fast-paced, but it has been laced with controversy, perhaps a by-product of his uneasy relationship with the media, teammates, and even himself.  He was a superstar in high school, had a brief spell in the minors, and started playing in the majors in his teens.  Since his first full season in the majors for the Seattle Mariners in 1996, he has won every personal accolade including multiple MVPs and his playing stats put him amongst the greatest players of all-time.  But his public problems began when he signed the most lucrative contract in North American sports history – a massive $250 million contract with the Texas Rangers.  And he has been paying for it ever since.  The attention and scrutiny that follows such a massive deal was more than A-Rod could handle.  Sure he kept putting up great numbers on the field, but he started failing off-field life tests.  Every step of the way he took a defiant approach to criticism and tried to manage his own way out of crises.

A-Rod struggled with the notion that just because he was an elite professional athlete did not mean that he had powers of persuasion over anyone else.  And when he lost the public relations war he originally waged, he lost control of his fate.  Whatever his motivations were for using PEDs – the pressure to perform, the drive to break records, ego, temptation – he treated the situation like an at-bat, fouling off pitches until he either put the ball in play or struck out.

And now the audience waits to see how A-Rod will exit, knowing that his outcome will inevitably be tragic.

 

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JB Hacking

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