Alex Rodriguez Rises From the Ashes
It seems like it was only yesterday when Alex Rodriguez was coming off a one year suspension from baseball. During a year plus window A-Rod started multiple lawsuits against his team, major league baseball and others, while trying to cope and deal with assorted injuries and an aging body.
But A-Rod was helped by many factors, some in his control and some out of his control in what has turned out to be one of the most startling redemption and feel good stories in a long time.
It seems like just yesterday as time flies. that all were wondering how A-Rod would transition back to baseball and most importantly, how he would conduct himself on and off the field.
Brian Cashman the Yankees GM at the time stated that he had no idea of what he was going to get out of A-Rod the player or the person, and who could blame him given A-Rod’s antics and age.
Cashman did indicate that A-Rod was sending all the right signals in terms of his behaviors and preparation and perhaps he was going to put all the shenanigans behind him. But Cashman was more than cautious in his assessment-and who could blame him!
As it turned out A-Rod exceeded all expectations and had a superb season batting .250 with 33 homeruns and 86RBIs. Which was truly amazing given that these stats surpassed his last full season which was in 2012. More amazingly, A-Rod was at the advanced age of forty an age where many in the game are long gone.
But most importantly A-Rod was able to turn around his relationships with all involved. A-Rod who is and was a media hound was able to affectively use the media to repair his relationships by saying all the right things. As well saying all the right things in private.
It also helped that A-Rod was contrite, sorry and apologetic while also appearing sincere when he talked about being a good teammate and not being the circus distraction he had become.
A-Rod who is and was beloved by the Hispanic community quickly gave them something to crow about. Additionally, some in the community viewed A-Rod as a victim who was unfairly being picked on by then commissioner Selig. Thus, they were particularly eager to forgive and forget if in fact there was any of either to be done.
Winning and producing on the field is always a good formula for personal redemption and both the Yankees and A-Rod did that.
A-Rod who is a master baseball aficionado also shared his knowledge with all who would listen as he mentored young players which was not lost on his teammates who were most appreciative of the new A-Rod.
In a flash A-Rod went from saying and doing all the wrong things to all the right things. However, there were a number of other factors working in his favor. It has helped that steroid users of his generation and before were beginning to be grudgingly accepted by both fans and the media.
After-all it seemed that a whole generation of players used PEDs and why single A-Rod out for what was a fairly common behavior. What are the fans and media to do make believe a whole generation of players did not exist?
Additionally, Derek Jeter had retired and this allowed A-Rod to assume a more senior status in a locker room where Jeter sent obvious and not so obvious signals that A-Rod was persona non-grata.
Our society has become more tolerant in general some would say too liberal as marijuana and petty crimes are being marginalized, minimized and in some cases legalized. Illegal and legal enhancing drugs have long been used by many individuals in the mainstream population.
It has become increasingly difficult for us to hold A-Rod to a higher standard than we hold ourselves. Although people can frequently be hypocritical in this regard. It also seems that many are being given second and third chances in all walks of life as people are allowed to resurrect their careers and lives.
The formula is well known while being tried and true. Lay low for a while and gradually with good management, public relations guidance slowly work your way back to favor– until you achieve full reincarnation.
Seen in this light, you wonder if there is less of a deterrent to behaving badly and more perversely a subtle signal that there is not much that one cannot recover from.
As for A-Rod, he has continued to behave himself and had what was for him a very quiet off-season. He is no longer the returning pariah he was as he prepares to report for spring training.
In fact, the only thing the Yankees appear to be worried about is A-Rod’s health while feeling pretty good that if he stays healthy there is no reason he cannot produce respectable and contributory numbers.
What a far cry and an example of how to go about rising from the ashes—you have to hand it to A-Rod he has played all of his cards just right.
Mark my words his story will become a movie someday sooner than later as you could not write a better redemption script if you tried.