As a frigid winter melts into a hopefully much more temperate spring, and baseball resumes once more, all eyes will be on the sport’s perennial pariah: Alex Rodriguez.
A-Rod, once the game’s premier player, is now an injury prone 39-year old who hasn’t played since 2013, after a year-long suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. The 3-time MVP has now been caught for PED use twice, and will be forced to compete for playing time on a Yankees team that doesn’t appear to be much better than average. He’s pretty much hit rock bottom.
He reported early to Spring Training this year, and, in front of the media, has said all the right things. Just like he did in 2009, when he owned up to using steroids from 2001-2003, while he was playing in Arlington for the Texas Rangers. And what happened he apologized the first time? He went back and used PEDs again. Logically, there’s no reason for us to believe him this time.
And yet, something inside me makes me believe him. Something about this time seems genuine, that he is really, truly sorry.
Look, I’ve been as hard on Alex Rodriguez as anyone around. Just over a year ago, I called him an “egotistical sociopath,” a constant “distraction to the team” who “thrives on attention.” And I still believe that. I also believe that he’s probably only sorry that he used PEDs because he got caught. But deep down, something is telling me that Alex Rodriguez deserves to be forgiven.
Maybe I’m too soft. Maybe, after all the steroid drama, I’m too worn out and tired to continue fixating on A-Rod. Maybe, as I wrote in that 2014 piece, I don’t think he deserves the attention. But really, I think Alex Rodriguez is genuinely sorry for using steroids. Something about what A-Rod said and the way he said it makes me think that the man who spoke to the press in Tampa in this past February meant every word he said.
I don’t expect anyone reading this to feel the same way I do about this. He’s a narcissistic jerk, and it absolutely makes more sense to despise the man. He has done nothing to deserve my sympathy But I know that once Opening Day rolls around, I’m going to forgive and forget. I really do believe he’s sorry for the mistakes he’s made. I’m giving A-Rod another chance. I just want to watch some baseball.