Yankees News: Should Alex Rodriguez have followed CC’s lead?


Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia are both returning to the New York Yankees in 2015.  Rodriguez missed the season due to suspension, while Sabathia only was able to make eight starts then was shut down due to injury.  When last healthy, both players looked like a shell of their former selves.  Both have bodies that have betrayed them in recent years.  They also have set records for contracts, A-Rod overall and CC for a pitcher, then opted out of those contracts for their own financial benefit, which is the reason both are overpaid now.

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There is one difference in the two though, and that is that CC is coming back with the respect and admiration of fans, excited to see if the southpaw’s weight gain will improve his velocity, and thus his pitching.  We all know how the majority of fans feel able A-Rod, as many have advocated the Yankees should take the $61 million loss and cut him (easy to say when it is not your money).

It wasn’t always like this though, as Rodriguez was one of the most respected players in baseball, even after his first admission.  Rodriguez always craved attention, and longed for love and acceptance.  Baseball was his family, and all that he knew, after growing up without a father, forcing his mother to raise him alone.

He debuted a year after being drafted, at the young age of 18, and he never had the chance to mature.  Before first admitting to taking performance enhancing drugs from 2001 until 2003 to live up to the big contract, Rodriguez was the one many fans counted on to take the title of home run king from Barry Bonds.

Rodriguez came clean in 2009, did not make his season debut until May 8 in Baltimore, and homered on the first pitch that he saw.  He continued this success to have a solid season, and a memorable October, playing a key role in his first championship that had eluded him until the age of 34.

His October performance made everyone forget about his admission prior to the season, and Rodriguez was adored again.  It even seemed that he could be the first player to admit PED usage, and still make the Hall of Fame, due to the eight years remaining on his contract.  That is what makes his association with Tony Bosch so shocking.

Rodriguez never was able to feel acceptance, although many of his peers, and fans, adored him.  Someday Rodriguez even could have seen his jersey retired in Monument Park, the same way that Andy Pettitte‘s will be this year, even with a PED admission.  Everyone had moved past his admission, and A-Rod even looked on a pace to pass Bonds, as he finished 2009 with 583 home runs, only 180 away from becoming the sole leader.

Sabathia has had his share of bad times in New York, but he has always been accountable for his own mistakes, and has never put the blame on anyone but himself when he struggles.  He was not sure about joining the Yankees due to issues in the clubhouse, but after six seasons in New York, which have seen plenty turmoil, growth, and change, Sabathia remains one of the most popular and respected athletes.

According to Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York, Sabathia credits this to the fact he has not changed since joining the Yankees:

"Hopefully, it’s because I’ve just been myself since day one.  I haven’t tried to change anything since coming to New York.  I’ve been honest."

This is the one thing Rodriguez has not been able to do, and as he nears 40, and the end of his baseball career draws near, his legacy is forever tarnished.  His mistakes at the age of 25 could be forgotten, since that was the norm in baseball at the time, and he came clean.  His mistakes 12 years later showed that Rodriguez did not learn from his first mistake, and he did not grow.

If Rodriguez had followed CC’s lead, he would be adored in New York to this day, Chase Headley would not be a Yankee, and A-Rod would not be fighting for a spot on the team.  Unfortunately for Alex, the greatness he had accomplished simply wasn’t enough.  The hole created by his father’s absence combined with his own personal greed and desire to be accepted led to the downfall of Alex Rodriguez.

As he enters the final chapter of what has become the most interesting story in baseball history, maybe we will see more Sabathia in Rodriguez.  Unfortunately, it is just too late.

Next: Didi Gregorius is already getting tips from A-Rod

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