If you have turned on a television in the past three years, odds are you know the deal with New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez. From the steroid controversy and his yearlong suspension, A-Rod has always been the center of attention for the media. But for once in his career, he is being praised for his accomplishments, and having little hate thrown his way. He is the active leader in just about every offensive category, and sitting with the legends in the record books. While many people are calling for A-Rod to be thrown out of baseball and have his records stripped, I say give the guy a chance.
From a young age, Alex Rodriguez proved he was a special ballplayer. Having his breakout year in Seattle in 1996, when he hit 36 home runs and batted .358, A-Rod showed the potential to be an all-time great. While his production has slowly gone downhill as he has aged, he has still put up monstrous numbers that many players aren’t capable of. Currently in his 21st season at age 39, A-Rod has cemented himself as one of the best hitters of all time. A lifetime .299 hitter, Alex is fourth on the all time home runs list with 665, second in RBIs with 1997, and nine hits short of 3,000. While these numbers are mind boggling, many people want A-Rod out of the record books.
Rodriguez has been targeted and convicted of using steroids and the biogenesis case. Having served a 162-game suspension in 2014, which was the longest non-lifetime ban in baseball history, many thought his career would likely be over. Now with that missed season, A-Rod’s run at the all time home run record is likely going to fall short. He was stripped of an entire season to help his team win a championship, which the Yankees did not accomplish, but he also missed an opportunity to pad his stats and move up in the books. But he has come back in 2015 and, to many people’s surprise, been the cornerstone to the Yankees’ success this year.
The Yankees currently sit at 32-25, with a 1.5 game lead on the Rays for first place in the AL East. Without A-Rod’s production, that wouldn’t be close to leading the division. He is hitting .280 this year, with 11 long balls and 28 runs driven in, and that’s a shock to many. With his average dipping below .276 for the past three seasons and his power numbers hitting career lows, it look as if the best was behind Rodriguez. But with his new role at DH, it looks as if his body is being well rested and that he can still put up good numbers, which excites Yankee fans such as myself. I would love to see Alex stick around for a few more years and keep smacking the ball out of Yankee Stadium. Not only does A-Rod serve as a key contributor on the field, but also he is a mentor to the younger Yankee hitters in the lineup. With all of his experience, he brings a lot to that Yankee clubhouse.
But with every great player come a lot of skeptics, and these call for A-Rod’s head because of his steroid use. Now personally, I believe if a player breaks the rules and gets caught, if they serve their penalty then all is forgiven. This is exactly what has happened to Alex Rodriguez. He was caught, served the longest suspension in MLB history, and now has come back and very quietly put together a solid season.
I’m sure there are a number of you reading this who hate A-Rod but love Tom Brady. Now Brady broke the rules as well and is suspended for four games, but somehow you’ll justify that he didn’t do anything wrong because Brady can do no wrong. I’m just saying to give A-Rod a chance. As for his records and him going to the Hall of Fame, that’s a debate for another day. Personally I would love to see him inducted, but I don’t know if the sports world agrees with me.
Alex Rodriguez is the most controversial player in Major League Baseball history. From his scandal with Madonna to his suspension, he always ends up in the paper or on TV. But he is quietly putting together a very good season, and helping his team however he can. Hopefully he can keep this up not only this year, but for a few more to come. Keep it up A-Rod — believe it or not, there are a lot of fans like myself who still believe in you and root for you.