The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.


A Space Oddyssey

by Jerry Keys

Stardate:  November 23, 2037

Subject:  Alex Rodriguez

Subject of Study Objective: To redefine the sport of base-ball and re-write history.

Subject Analysis: Results conclusive with resounding outcome of objective. Subject surpassed initial objective and was revered as the best ever. Repeated results began to replicate superior outcomes until mutual discovery.

Subject Conclusion: Subject outcomes shrouded in controversy. Initial objective accomplished, yet mission results objectified as complete failure.

Jerry Keys

Recommendations: Reinforcement of detriment "buy now pay later." Post-conscience thoughts described as fleeting glory with elongated agony. Subject extends warning to future study objective is not feasible, nor invigorating.

The June 1993 draft offered the baseball world Alex Rodriguez, later to be known as ARod. The Seattle Mariners were a small market team who had already scored great drafts and trades meriting Ken Griffey, Randy Johnson, Jay Buhner, to mention a few. The following four picks in the '93 draft were Darren Dreifort, Brian Anderson, Wayne Gomes and Jeff Granger. Clearly, Seattle made the logical choice to draft ARod first overall. He saw limited action in 1994 and 1995, but then manager Lou Piniella wanted him to see playoff atmosphere in '95 to have him ready for things to come.

In the years 1996 to 2000, Seattle remained a contender for the playoffs, even with the Griffey and Johnson departures. ARod was to be the face of the franchise. He was one of the top shortstops in the 'decade of the shortstops.' The American League had their version of the then-retired Ozzie Smith in Omar Vizquel, but the new breed could not only field but produce at the plate. ARod was measured with Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra as the new shortstops. Until he left Seattle, ARod was a third wheel to Jeter in the Bronx and Nomar in Boston. I offer the suggestion, did that nerve him, he was a third wheel in the new wave of slugging shortstops?

1994 SP Alex Rodriguez.....future star.

We all recall when ARod went to Texas in 2001 and received the jawdropping contract. Texas Rangers then-owner Tom Hicks must have saw stars before checks and balances, but that is decided by the historians. ARod posted numbers awe-inspiring, but the Rangers remained a cellar-dweller. Hicks may have concluded it was impossible to field an overall competitive team with one player earning almost as much as some small market teams. After the 2003 season, ARod was shipped to the New York Yankees in return for respectable talent, but in addition, a portion of his remaining salary. How many times have you heard of the Yankees crying foul over a larger than desired contract?

It was thought of as the 1961 Mickey Mantle-Roger Maris competition for the best player on the team when ARod was playing side by side with Jeter. They were the two remaining shortstops from the emerging 90's. Nomar's skills had deteriorated and was by this time, regarded as simply a good shortstop. ARod set the world ablaze his first five years as he attempted to step away from Jeter's shadow. In earlier years ARod and Jeter were close friends, but once he arrived in the Bronx it was reported it evaporated. That may be true, but I would rather People magazine keep up with that type of news.

Before the 2009 season it was reported he used PEDs. He admitted to the use only from his three years in Texas. Yet, after the admission, his performance has slacked off tremendously. His batting average for the five years (including 2012 minus the last week of the conclusion) previous, with his last pre-admission of PED use included, has been 302, 286, 270, 276 and 270. The home runs have been 35, 30, 30, 16 and 18. Runs batted in were 103, 100, 125, 62 and 56. As a journalist I am fully aware it is not professional to make assessments based on numerical data. Numerous players have seen their numbers falter after the age of 32. Has ARod's been just coincidence or maybe…possible an after-effect of PED usage? No one knows, but it does make for a spirited debate.

After the 2007, season ARod and his agent, Scott Boras, decided to opt out of the ten year $252 million contract. The contract would have ran from 2001-10. Yankee brass were left behind the eight-ball as ARod was, at the time, the best player in baseball, east of Barry Bonds. The new contract was for ten years and $275 million running from 2008-2017. There were numerous write-ins for home run accomplishments. ARod is within reach of passing Willie Mays' 660 home runs next year. Yet, with his home run totals of the past two years, the question is not when he will pass Bonds' all-time record, but if.

As the group Boston sang, 'The Man I'll Never Be.'

My parents decided to wait to have children right away, maybe they already knew they would have a hellion like me, you would have to ask them, but I was not able to watch Hank Aaron blast baseballs in the stands. Aaron, to me, is still the all-time champion, regardless of what experts say of Bonds. In my eyes, 756 is the number ARod should be aiming for. But with his admittance of use in 2001-03, how much will those enormous home run totals be tainted as he chases Aaron? ARod is currently at #5 all-time in homers with 647, and 7th in runs batted in with 1949. Minus his last two years of faltering numbers it would be logical to assume he would pass each. But we know that is not the case.

The Yankees are strapped with his contract for five more years. There is not any other team who would absorb that high of a number so he is stuck in the Bronx, unless Yankee brass decides to eat countless millions of dollars. ARod is nearing 3000 hits but does anyone really notice? His arch-rival Jeter will end the year with 3300-plus hits. Historic marks are reserved for the worthy; maybe some fans no longer see ARod as viable. Maybe his ascent to Mt. Everest will all be in vain. Maybe a player with enough talent to have the Hall of Famed named in his honor is not characteristic to now enter. Could it be the 'buy now and pay later' analogy?

As Cher sang, 'If I Could Turn Back

We saw Bonds change the landscape and become shrouded in controversy. Everyone, me included, turned to ARod to right the record of baseball. He, too, turned out to be a controversial figure. Several years ago, I spoke of A New Hope, Albert Pujols, in line with the Star Wars theme. He has yet to be conflicted with alleged use of PED. So for the moment, all our hopes lie with Pujols. As long as he does not test for usage, he is not only the New Hope but the only hope. ARod arrived in the Bronx with aspirations of becoming the main attraction. Eight years later most fans consider the Big Apple Jeter Country.