Alex Rodriguez: Baseball’s Anti-LeBron

August 4, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

Quick question: Which baseball player do you hate the most?

Whether you are a Red Sox fan, Mets fan, or you hate baseball and only know players who frequently are on TMZ, your answer is likely Alex Rodriguez. Hell, many Yankee fans will agree with you.

It is fascinating how one player can alienate so many sports fans. Even Barry Bonds, at the very least, had the undying support of Giants fans. A-Rod gets no such love.

Yet, here A-Rod is today, having smashed the 600th home run of his career. And he keeps plugging along.

Once upon a time, they said he wasn’t built for New York. Believers in clutch ability claimed he wasn’t clutch. When he’d hit a walk off home run, they’d say it was only April. When he’d get a big hit down the stretch, they’d say it wasn’t against the Red Sox. When he’d get a big hit off Papelbon, they’d say it wasn’t the playoffs. When he had a big ALDS, they’d say it wasn’t the ALCS. And so on and so on.

Rodriguez endured more criticism, both of the warranted and unwarranted variety, than any other baseball player of recent memory. He would have been completely justified to leave New York when he opted out of his contract in 2007. He could have taken the easy way out and reached his home run milestones under far less scrutiny in a much smaller market. And he could have done so without having to pretend to still like Derek Jeter.

Instead, he persevered. He wanted to stay a Yankee because his legacy was at stake if he chose otherwise.

And then he won.

Today, we live in an era where the best basketball player alive cowardly sidestepped any challenges, saying “To hell with my legacy. I’m taking my talents to South Beach”.

I don’t think enough has been made of Rodriguez’s contrast: the best baseball player in the world chose to take on New York and achieve his individual and team goals under the spotlight of the world’s biggest stage. If we are to ostracize Lebron, it’s only right to commend A-Rod.

Rodriguez did not run when the going got tough. And his tough was way worse than Lebron’s. (Though, in fairness, I don’t believe Robinson Cano ever slept with A-Rod’s mother.)

Rodriguez has proved that he is built for New York as much as Lebron has proved (or confirmed to those like me who knew this much already) otherwise.

Congrats to Alex Rodriguez for hitting his 600th home run.

Now here’s to hoping No. 601 never comes.

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