Spare the Rod No More?
By Lisa R. Neilson
A good working relationship requires trust and communication, and liking each other just a little bit usually helps, too. The relationship between the New York Yankees and Alex Rodriguez is lacking all of those. In addition, the daily drama between the parties is over the top lately. It’s becoming like a bad soap opera or reality television show, complete with GM Brian Cashman barking at the rehabbing third baseman to “shut the f— up” just last month.
This ongoing tension, aggravated by speculation of A-rod’s ties to a Florida clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs, is creating incessant chatter in the news about A-rod’s chances of ever wearing pinstripes again. At this point, it’s difficult to predict the future of Rodriguez’s relationship with the Yankees. We may not ever know the details of the conversations held between these parties (although chances are A-rod will definitely tell all one day for a hefty book deal).
One thing we do know, even if you’re not a Yankees fan, is that the superstar’s rap sheet is full of shenanigans the Yankees would rather forget. Here’s a reminder of just a few of those unforgiving incidents that have put A-rod in the headlines:
The Brawl. Rodriguez finds himself in a shoving match on July 24, 2004 with Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. The image of the two rival players has become an iconic one in Red Sox history. The brawl was allegedly incited by the Yankee.
The Slap. Rodriguez resorts to slapping in Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS, smacking the baseball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove as the Red Sox pitcher tries to apply a tag. A-rod was called out for interference.
The Shout. In lieu of getting physical, Rodriguez tries to distract Blue Jays’ third baseman Howie Clark in 2007 by shouting at him on a key popup in the ninth inning. Clark drops the ball and A-rod’s play is labeled “bush league” by more than just the Blue Jays.
The blondes in the bleachers. Red Sox fans get personal in 2007 after tabloids capture photos of a then-married A-rod leaving a Toronto strip club with a buxom blonde. Fenway fans taunted the third baseman with blonde masks during the game. His wife filed for divorce in 2008.
The mound. Rodriguez breaks an unwritten rule of baseball in 2010 – he runs across the pitcher’s mound in his return to first base after a Robinson Cano foul ball in a game against the Oakland A’s. A shouting match with pitcher Dallas Braden erupts and lands A-rod in the news again for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Granted, no one can deny that Alex Rodriguez has racked up some great accomplishments in this game. When healthy, he is an outstanding baseball player. His link to performance-enhancing drugs, though, and his flair for the dramatic may just make him one of the most unlikeable players in Major League Baseball.
Time will tell where his career will lie in the history books. For now, we’ll keep looking for his name in the headlines instead of in the box scores.