Can A-Rod save his image?
January 16, 2014
January 16, 2014
A-Rod may never have had a good image to save here in Boston, but as he wages a desperate fight for his “career,” the real question is: will he be remembered as one of the greatest to ever play the game or an ego-maniac (ahem, centaur) so obsessed with results that he took extreme cocktails of illegal drugs just to start the 800 club? I believe the latter (and would no matter how successful his lawsuit and anticipated upcoming publicity stunts are). However, the public’s memory is short and they are eager to forgive, so I wonder if his image can recover from this. He could play DH (designated hitter) another season, maybe two, following his suspension next year. Middle-of-the-road teams with money to spend have done crazier things than sign a 40 year-old former boy wonder (I’m looking at you, New York). But does his battle against both Major League Baseball and the Player’s Association make him the villain, rather than the victim?
The public may have a short memory, but baseball does not. It is a sport built on statistics and proud of its history. Stories of those who have tarnished the beloved, sacred game are passed down from fathers to daughters (in my case) with as much frequency as the memories that are celebrated (or perhaps that’s only among Red Sox fans…we had so few to choose from). The debate about Pete Rose’s exclusion from the Hall of Fame rages on and the debate over PED-era players being voted in has only just begun. A-Rod’s legacy will be no exception.
But in an attempt to secure his place among the greats in the memories of baseball fans, he is suing the very institutions that make the game what it is and which fans hold dear. He says he wants to play baseball again, but he’s already made shy of half a billion dollars and is on the hill, if not over it. His real motivation here is to clear his name. But in doing so, he’s created a PR nightmare and broken a sacred baseball rule that even the New York papers can’t ignore.