They rolled in. At a pace that mortals should not be able...
A-Rod’s Failure, Fortune and Fame — the Gifts That Keep Giving
I, like the rest of America at this point in time, am trying to assess the legacy of Alex Rodriguez.
There are easy descriptions regarding the 37- year old veteran, and then there are debatable things the pundits ponder over decades upon decades, before coming to some mixed-form of conclusion.
The man is a megastar and a sex symbol. To go along with his record setting contracts and polarizing personality, A-Rod and all that is his beefy 6’3″ frame has mastered the on-switch of women. From beauties like Cameron Diaz to Madonna and Kate Hudson, A-Rod has been gifted with the right kind of swing if you ask most men.
But he sure as hell can’t hit in the postseason. To think America is up in arms this year is outrageous. A-Rod, minus 2009 and a few MVP awards and 25 million dollar per-year contracts, is an average at best, postseason player. His mental fortitude is in question, as is his legacy as a whole. Not only is the man utterly underwhelming — .263, 13 homeruns, 41 RBI, 75 strikeouts, in 75 career postseason games — in the spotlight of playoff baseball, but arguably, is the greatest regular season trash hitter of all time.
What do I mean by trash-hitter? He can CLEARLY hit 3rd, 4th and 5th starters in a rotation. But after this postseason’s debacle and his career as a whole, he REALLY CAN’T hit 1st, 2nd and arguably the 3rd starters. Considering this, should we include A-Rod in the talk of all-time greats?
If he can’t hit the C.C Sabathia’s, Jered Weaver’s, Felix Hernandez’s and Justin Verlander’s, then he can’t be included in talks with the men who can — Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and the man formerly known as “Mannywood” — though I’m sure fans of A-Rod would scoff at this, considering his career 647 home runs and nearly 2,000 rbi’s over a famed 19-year career.
But those are regular season numbers. Compare his regular season from his postseason averages.
Regular Season Postseason (75-Career Games)
Avg: .300 Avg: .263
Avg HR Per 75 Games: 19.6 HR: 13
Avg RBI Per 75 – Games: 59.09 RBI: 41
Avg Strikeouts Per 75-Games: 61.57 Strikeouts: 75
Clearly A-Rod isn’t the same man he is in the regular season. But I’m not certain it’s lack of ability, more than it is a lack of focus. As nuts as it seems to think a three-time MVP lacks focus, it’s not all that unbelievable.
Juggling some of the most beautifully demanding women in the world with the pop phenomenon that is he is — while having the world at his fingertips with a kingdom of unbridled wealth — A-Rod is certain to have at some level lost his original passion — baseball — and replaced it with glory.
Glory, the singular element with the power to breed beauty and victory, is the same with the ability to turn gold to rust and ruin.
History repeats this. For every heroic story there are ten bad ones that follow. From Doc Gooden’s drug abuse to the over zealous rise and fall of Napolean’s France, glory concedes men often, to the arc of failure. It is the element that ceased poet ‘Emily Dickinson long enough to write this lyrical warning:
Glory is that bright tragic thing,
That for an instant
Warns some poor name
That never felt the sun,
Oblivion is something I’m certain Alex Rodriguez fears. Irrelevance. At 37, his years are waning, and having been the rock star of his generation, he now has to concede his crown to those more deserving in the eyes of his constituents.
I would wager money on younger star players, like Matt Kemp or Ryan Braun, ending their careers higher on the all-time greats list then A-Rod. Yet, that’s not to say A-Rod will ever go unnoticed. His oblivion will manifest itself in the erosion of his character and confidence, and that alone, will sink his name further down the all-time list.
I don’t believe any of us question whether or not A-Rod has done enough to be a hall of famer, and whether or not he is considered one of the greatest SS/3B of all-time. He’s that good. Within all the backlash and critism, the man ranks 5th all-time on the home run list, and no matter how hard the fans are, he is still one of the most consistently potent and feared powerhitters of all-time.
But what-ifs linger more for A-Rod, than they do for teammate Derek Jeter, foe Albert Pujols and in another two or three years, reigning Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera. All three have been consistent in both the regular season and the post season, and have been the best players on their teams while doing so.
A-Rod will always be that guy who couldn’t give it up. Who cheated. Who signed oversized contracts and feasted on his failures with disinterest in it all.
He’ll be the guy who couldn’t hit an 88 to 89-mile per hour fastball in his last solid run at postseason glory. The man who with the entire world at his fingertips and a legacy falling apart at the seams, had the audacity to let a player like Raul Ibanez outshine him.
He’s just that interestingly old. And America and I are clearly over it.