There is a lot to be said about a man that learns from his mistakes and humbles himself. And with Alex Rodriguez hitting yet another career milestone, it is becoming clearer that he has become that man.
On Thursday, September 8th, ARod reached 30 home runs, for his 15th season, tying a record held by Hank Aaron. The last time he'd hit 30 homers in a single season was in 2010. He now has a career total of 684 home runs. He has been an incredible asset to the team this year, and has done it all while respecting the game, the fans, and most importantly carrying himself in such a manner that is professional, and respectable.
I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't expecting this kind of turn around from ARod. Yes, he served his suspension but let's be honest for a moment, ARod had barely made the cover of a newspaper that wasn't discussion whatever life scandal he was dealing with at the time. We're talking about a man that made the front page of a paper for shaving his legs. And suddenly, this season starts, and it's as if he's finally figured it out.
There is no doubt that ARod has always been a fantastic ballplayer. I have said more than a few times, that he has the sweetest swing in baseball. It's absolutely fluid and so natural. So this is not an observation on him as a player. As a person, he has not always been represented well by the media. Again, not a remark on his character, but the way it was represented to us in the media. From being in the paper for assorted affairs, gambling and more recently, suing the MLB, it became almost the norm that any headline that contained ARod's name would be a circus sideshow. This season has shown us a new kind of ARod. The kind that is asked to participate in HOPE Week with the Yankees. They trust him to represent the team now.
Sunday, the Yankees celebrated ARod's 3,000 hit, another milestone he reached this season. If you asked me last year, or even two years ago, if I thought that ARod would be celebrated on the field at Yankee stadium, my answer would have been no. The fact that the Yankees were willing to go ahead with the ceremony is proof of the change ARod has made. At the beginning of the season, there was a debate over whether the milestone was "marketable." If ARod had come in, guns blazing, with a lot of the same from his previous years, I do not think the Yankees would've gone ahead with the ceremony. It's a testament to how he has carried himself, and it has helped heal the relationship between the Yankees and Yankees fans, and ARod.
ARod has come a long way. Michael Kay once credited the season off to the shift in his personality, and I have to say I agree. ARod loves the game. It is all he has known for a very long time. There is something to be said for having one of your greatest passions in life taken from you, and knowing that you were the cause of the loss. It makes you think if there were anything you could have done to change it. ARod has figured out what it was he had to do, and it trying every time to do just that.