Almost exactly one year ago, the Yankees officially released Alex Rodriguez and he began his post-playing career. There were rumblings A-Rod could catch on with another team, though that was never realistic. There's not much demand for a designated hitter who could no hit, even if he was only four home runs short of 700.
Since being released A-Rod has transformed from an embattled baseball player to a lovable television celebrity, and not only because he's been great as an analyst for Fox Sports., and he also served as co-host of "Live with Kelly" a few weeks back. Rodriguez has really branched out.
Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter has a profile of A-Rod on e-newstands now, and while the entire piece is worth a read, perhaps the most interesting part is hearing Rodriguez talk about his 2014 suspension. He was originally suspended 211 games for his ties to Biogenesis, though it was knocked down to 162 games during an appeal.
The appeals process, however, was not pretty. The hearings themselves were reportedly contentious, and even after the ruling was made, A-Rod sued pretty much everyone. The Yankees, MLB, MLPA, you name it. He later dropped all the lawsuits and accepted the suspension. Here's what Rodriguez told Guthrie about his 2014 ban:
"It's probably too soon for me to say this, but maybe in 10 years I'll be able to say that the ' '14 sabbatical' was one of the best things that happened in my life," he says. When I ask if he doesn't believe that already, he adds, "I'll say this: That year off I just had to fucking change and stop being a jerk."
Rodriguez has spent 22 years trying to tell the world who he is. If he has been misinterpreted, maligned (unfairly or not), vilified, perhaps it's because he didn't really know himself. "When I came back [after the suspension], I wanted to be a different person."
Who knows whether A-Rod really means what he said. He hasn't exactly earned the benefit of the doubt given the way his career played out, especially his final few years with all the performance-enhancing drug ties (and lies).
At this point, there's nothing Rodriguez can do to repair his reputation in the eyes of most fans. All he can do is find happiness, be a good family man, and try to entertain people. If it took that embarrassing 2014 suspension to make Rodriguez realize it, then something good came out of it after all.