Baseball

The Therapy of Alex Rodriguez

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Who would have thought that a documentary about Derek Jeter would have so much emphasis and discussion around Alex Rodriguez? This calls for further discussion as there is something deeper to be discovered.

Before continuing, it is necessary to give an established opinion on both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. In 2003, I was nine years old. Derek Jeter was my favorite player growing up, but Alex Rodriguez (as well as Hideki Matsui) were in my personal holy trifecta of Yankees. When A-Rod was traded to the Yankees, I was ecstatic and changed my Little League jersey number to 13.

While Jeter was the gold standard of a role model, I always felt a different connection to A-Rod because when he was immature and childish, so was I. Likewise, when he grew up and matured, I was doing the same in my life as well. In my adult years, I viewed him as Bud Selig’s sacrificial lamb to cleanse his conscience of the steroid era.

Without doing a complete review of the ESPN documentary ‘The Captain’, I could not help but get the idea that the producers wanted to make a Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez relationship documentary, but hid it under the guise of a Derek Jeter documentary. I understand how a Derek Jeter documentary would be incomplete without Rodriguez, but the way that episodes were edited, it felt like the producers wanted to present the friendship/rivalry as the central hub which all other causes and effects dance around. This is not a critique, just an observation.

Alex Rodriguez’s Villainous Role in ‘The Captain’

Alex Rodriguez jumped out at me more than any other speaker in the series because he is clearly pegged as the villain. I began to wonder: why would he agree to be a part of a headline production made by the (self-proclaimed) ” worldwide leader in sports” which clearly doesn’t paint him in optimal light during a time in his life when he put so much effort into reversing his public image?

Then the answer came to me: because his conscience needs cleansing, and he can only do that by facing facts head-on for the world to see. We have witnessed Alex Rodriguez’s personal reconciliation. It was therapy for him to say and admit things out in the open after hiding them for so long. It takes a brave person to do that. It also takes a brave person like Derek Jeter to share his spotlight and offer that chance.

But why now? Both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have been retired for at least 5 years apiece. Jeter is in the Hall of Fame, A-Rod is a successful TV personality, and both have wonderful families and children. Both men seem to have everything going their way, so why is 2022 the time for this all to happen?

Because it is the only dragon left that they have to slay. And these men are hardwired in such a way that it is impossible for them not to face challenges. Well, it is the only challenge left, and they have all the time in the world to face it.

If you want to explore A-Rod’s personal journey to maturity even further, listen to him do a podcast with Gary V and Big Cat on Barstool Sports in 2018. I will not spoil the contents of the discussion, but if you want to hear profound wisdom about life, take the time to listen.

One More Thing…

I cannot conclude a discussion about A-Rod without sharing an eternal memory that I will carry for the rest of my life. My dad always cheered for A-Rod because he struggled so hard in October for so long. My dad wanted so badly for Alex Rodriguez to break out of his famous October slumps. In 2009, he and his friend took me and his friend’s son to game 2 of the ALDS. We stood on the first level right behind the Yankees dugout as A-Rod cranked his miracle home run.

You have to understand that my dad was a businessman. He was always on his best behavior and posture in public, even when he was not working. You can imagine how jarring it was for me to see him jumping up and down and screaming like a child on Christmas morning. My dad is no longer with us to tell this story himself, so I take the honor of doing it for him. Thank You, Alex Rodriguez, for giving me a memory for a lifetime, that I cannot wait to tell my future kids when they ask what their grandfather was like.

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