I have received so many questions about ARod over the last few days since he hit his milestone 3000 that I am starting to question myself and how I feel about Alex Rodriguez's accomplishment. I am sure that Jack Curry is correct in his assumption that Rodriguez is contemplating 'what ifs' all on his own. I mean, what if Rodriguez didn't use performance enhancing drugs and get mixed up in this whole Biogenesis thing? What if ARod trusted his own talent instead of doubting it? What if ARod was motivated to work harder, be stronger and be himself rather than someone else? Could he be the player his is today? These are the questions flooding Twitter and my text message archive for the week.
One fan wrote this to me, "ARod makes history last night. Do you care?" Do I care? I thought about that question and my initial response is "Nope, not at all." But, when I dig deeper, I think about the bigger picture; What does it mean to ARod? “I’m grateful,” Rodriguez said. “I’m extremely appreciative to the Yankees for giving me an opportunity to put the uniform back on. There were days last year I never thought I would sometimes get that uniform back on, to be able to play in this stadium in front of these fans. And for that I’m thankful to the Steinbrenner family," reported the New York Times the morning after the milestone.
I think that this is the line from the Times that best describes how I feel about ARod's 3000th hit. "Rodriguez chose to tarnish a legacy that could have ranked among the greatest ever." He could have been great without the PEDs and without the asterisk that will forever connect him to his home run and hit milestones. But, as MLB Network put it in one of their Hot Stove reports prior to the start of the season, ARod always needed someone's approval from the dugout; someone's praise for his work. He never seemed to feel like he was good enough.
Old timers and Hall of Famers weighed in on Alex's achievement in interviews reported by the NY Post after Saturday's Old Timers Day. Reggie Jackson, a notable Alex fan, said that “People want to see him do well. I think people believe he served his time. So for that he’s been forgiven by most. The reception in the crowd [Friday] night, the way his teammates rallied around him, I think it’s really cool. … Alex, his first love after his two daughters is baseball. He’s more at home than he is anywhere.’’ I believe that Alex is the one who still needs to believe in himself and he will wrestle with the "What ifs" probably until the day he dies.
So, do I care? In the scheme of things, not really. For baseball and the Yankees, maybe. I'm all about second chances. But, in Alex's case it's more like third chances. He lied. He allegedly cheated. But in all honestly, I think one fan put it this way to me. "Do we care about ARod hitting 3000? Yes, because that means he is hitting and contributing to the team winning." This puts things in perspective. Congratulations ARod. Now just keep hitting!
Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
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