Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Journey to the Return

The Alex Rodriguez story is one that may leave you scratching your head or wondering if it's real or just make believe. It's a cautionary tale , a tale that shows you even baseballs biggest stars are humans just like me and you. Alex Rodriguez was suspended by Major League Baseball for PED use for a whole year. During that time he was training both physically and mentally and is looking to make a return. ESPN Magazine chronicled his return and JR Moehringer wrote an excellent piece on the return. He was with Alex for six months and got to see the real A- Rod. JR described Alex and all the struggles he has dealt with. He described his struggle with getting abandoned by his dad and not going to college. He described Alex as a guy who loves the game and his family. He was able to show us more of the human side. He made you feel bad for him and shocked you by describing all his demons. He also spoke about the apologies he wants to make and how he is trying to become a better guy. He also discussed how hard it would be for Alex to tell his true story to his daughter Natasha. The bottom line is Alex made a mistake just like many others. Either move on from him or forgive it's simple.

Obviously it has been a bumpy road for Alex since last winter. First he went through surgery. He was then suspended 211 games. He appealed the suspension and rehabbed. Alex played In the minors and worked his way back. Rodriguez passed on his knowledge to the minor leaguers and often payed for all of there meals. The minor leaguers were thrilled to have him. He returned to the Yankees in August. Rodriguez dealt with the boos and the critics all year. They were deserved and self inflicted. However he was focused on the Yankees making the playoffs. He hit 7 home runs including a monster homer off of Ryan Dempster after he had been intentionally hit. The Yankees did not make the playoffs however and his fight with baseball resumed after the season. Once the appeal was over MLB suspended Rodriguez for all of 2014. After a long fight Rodriguez quit and took his medicine. Alex made his apologies recently and the focus shifted to his return.

On Monday A-Rod reported for Spring Training a few days early. He did some baseball activities and spoke to the media. He also posed with some fans for pictures and signed autographs for every fan. Rodriguez said he was just happy to be back playing the game he loves. He said he just wants to make the team. He said he made a lot of mistakes and he cringes when he thinks about it. He said he is PED free. Rodriguez will work extremely hard to produce for the Yankees. The Yankee players will be happy to have him back. The Yanks may still be mad but the truth is they need the right handed bat. People seem excited to see what Alex can do as Yankee ticket sales were already up 35% the other day.

Alex Rodriguez despite being an all time great felt that he had to resort back to PED's. In mid 2010 he met Tony Bosch and decided he needed some help. Rodriguez felt even at his stature he had something to prove. Once again he proved he was not comfortable in his own skin. He was not comfortable being Alex and his demons got the best of him again. When Rodriguez was 18 he was a Golden boy , baseballs next legend. He has now turned into a pariah , a guy the back page of the newspaper keys on , a guy we sometimes make bigger than the game , a guy we dehumanize. Rodriguez showed us that even the biggest of stars can fall. He has showed us that baseball players are just like anyone else. They have their flaws and their issues that go back to their early years. Rodriguez's story is a cautionary tale. A tale that shows us even someone as big as A-Rod can be punished. His story also shows us that even some one who has made as many mistakes as Alex can get another chance and even another chance.

 After reading the Espn article I though about how much of a shame the Rodriguez story is. A guy with as much talent as Rodriguez was so naive. A guy with as much talent felt he was never good enough. A guy who chose to play baseball is embarrassed to tell people he didn't go to college. Many former teammates said that they life him personally he just always was trying to prove something. He was always trying to fit in and be comfortable. Rodriguez has been his own worst enemy. His youth has haunted him and has shaped him at the same time. If you forgive Alex Rodriguez that's fine , if you don't that's fine too. I'm sure everyone has done something wrong in their life. If you ever stole , cheated , or did something else are you exempt from forgiveness ? Of course not. No one is telling you should forgive A-Rod and no one is telling you shouldn't. If your a Yankee fan you should want him to produce because that will only help your team. He was the key component of the 2009 team. If your a baseball fan whether you like him or not you will tune In that's for sure. What will Alex bring
In 2015? Your guess is as good as mine. I am not saying I support PED use however I think A-Rod can still show us something. Who am I to say he doesn't deserve another shot. I think everyone does. This could be his final shot to make things right and I hope he does.

By Peter Vitella

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