As there are hints the once Bronx Bombers are interested in getting back Alfonso Soriano, the once rising star of the organization that they traded to get Rodriguez, reports are that A-Rod is breaking down and moving around almost robotically. It appears his first game back will be this Tuesday night in Texas as the DH, as he is not healthy enough to play third base.
How times have changed. It was only seven years ago that my son, Alex, just beginning to be the crazed baseball fan he has become, thanked me on numerous occasions for giving him the first name his mother and I chose for him. That was because his favorite player was Alex Rodriguez.
It wasn't long after that A-Rod held a press conference confirming reports that he did performance enhancing drugs from 2001-2003 because of the intense pressure he felt to perform at a high level after signing the biggest contract in baseball history. Being a forgiving public, it was kind of/sort of forgiven and we all moved on. Thought to be clean, he helped the Yankees win the World Series in 2009.
Two years later, I was in Bradenton at spring training helping Steve Blass write his autobiography. In that Pirates-Yankees game, A-Rod hit one of the longest homeruns over the centerfield fence I ever witnessed--estimates put it at 475 feet. Prior to the game, I was walking about five feet in front of A-Rod in the corrider outside of the visiting clubhouse. Rodriguez had just finished signing autographs for a group of very young children. I had a ball in my bag, but as technically a member of the press that day it would have been a no-no to ask any player for an autograph, even when it would have been so harmless in that case. A signed ball from A-Rod would have made my son's year. But I just couldn't do it. I wrestled with myself for a day or so how maybe I should have just done it anyway because of how much my son would have been thrilled.
A-Rod's performance has declined tremendously since that A-bomb he hit in Bradenton. Injuries have limited his playing time and now he is intangled in the Biogenesis controversy. Baseball insiders say he is looking at a 150 game suspension which would pretty much end his baseball career.
For fans like my son Alex, there is now indifference, which is the worst case of all for A-Rod.