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A-Rod's Legacy Sealed

A-Rod: Major League Hero is a real book (my copy pictured on the left). It is an "unauthorized" biography by James Fitzgerald. I'm not sure why A-Rod wouldn't have authorized it, because, quite frankly, nobody is going to write a biography quite like this about him anymore.

The book came out in 2004, right as Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees, and before PED drama ensnared him and his reputation. It has only gotten better with age. An unauthorized biography deserves an unauthorized quote (though is it unauthorized since I am giving credit where it is due. From a chapter titled "The World According to A-Rod:"

"Many of Alex's words of wisdom are just for fun; others are inspirational. Enjoy these. Copy them down and put them up as posters or simply remember them." - James Fitzgerald

Imagine that paragraph repeated for 150 pages or so, and you've got a decent picture for what this literary treasure contains. But what does A-Rod have to say about himself - at least according to an unabashed, hero-worshipping read about a man who an arbitrator just decided is suspended for the entire upcoming season?

  • "Always follow your dream. Don't let anyone tell you you can't be something." - Alex Rodriguez. Well A-Rod certainly lives by these words of his own wisdom. Why else would he appeal this decision to a federal court? Not even his own union is willing to fight the decision, though they say they "strongly disagree" with the ruling while also saying the respect the process and include no plans for further action. Even with everyone more or less forcing Rodriguez out of the game, he continues to fight to play in the Majors.
  • "I want to step forward. I don't want to step on anyone's toes. [But] if I do...too bad." - Alex Rodriguez. Again, any doubt A-Rod lives by these words? He made life a circus for the Yankees last season when he returned, and he intends to go to spring training even with the season-long suspension. He knows a thing or two about stepping on toes these days.
  • "There is a difference between image and reputation. Image is nice. Reputation is built over an entire career. Reputation is what I'm searching for." - Alex Rodriguez. According to Tom Verducci, A-Rod has found his lasting reputation. He will forever be A-Fraud.
  • "You'll never hear me say I'm satisfied or say I can't do more. There's a lot more I could do." - Alex Rodriguez. Who knew this quote would be so prophetic? Perhaps A-Rod. He injected more than his fair share of PEDs, and is now fighting his suspension with a fervor that cannot be topped, even though his actions seem destined for failure.
Fitzgerald finishes his string of A-Rod's quotes with the only quote not from A-Rod himself. Instead, Lourdes Rodriguez, A-Rod's mother, gets the last word:
  • "Money and fame are like dust. You aren't worth anything if you don't stay the same person you were before you had them."
Really, it is remarkable how well A-Rod: Major League Hero aged, isn't it? I looked up all these quotes today because I did not write them on posters or commit them to memory, as Fitzgerald prescribed. I should have heeded his advice. This whole saga would have been so much more predictable.

I am genuinely surprised that A-Rod still ended up with such a massive suspension. The basic premise of his defense rested on air-tight logic. The fact remains that this is Rodriguez's first suspension. The Joint Drug Agreement clearly states that a player faces a 50-game suspension for their first PED conviction. Therefore, Major League Baseball blatantly went beyond the agreement's guidelines with their suspension.

We will never know exactly what was shared from either A-Rod or MLB's side inside the arbitration hearing, but something beyond the drug agreement had to be used to justify a suspension beyond 50 games. His suspension, by the rules agreed to, is a clear injustice - yet in the court of public opinion, there is no doubt that justice was served. A-Rod's reputation seemed to make him guilty more than anything else.

Alex Rodriguez seemed destined for an unprecedented career by 2004. I hope that is true now more than ever.