While not as big a deal as Rob Parker moving to The Shadow League…Pos’ first for NBC.
And finally, Step 5 in the fall of A-Rod: He just got old. This happens to every ballplayer who ever played the game, and yet it always comes as a surprise. Through age 32, Alex Rodriguez was a lifetime .306 hitter. He has not hit.290 since then. He has not played 140 games in a season since then. The injuries have piled up. He has not managed 20 homers in either of the last two seasons.
“He got old very fast,” one scout says, but I don’t think that’s true. Rodriguez has been in the big regularly since he was 20 years old. He has more than 11,000 plate appearances – more plate appearances than Ernie Banks or Babe Ruth or Tony Gwynn. He has played more than 10,000 innings at shortstop, stolen more than 300 bases, scored almost 1,900 runs. The body only has so many games.
That’s where we are now. Alex Rodriguez is injured – he had hip surgery in the offseason – and nobody is entirely sure when he might return. MLB is investigating Biogenesis. Rodriguez is being excoriated everywhere and, more to the point, being written off. His baseball achievements put him with the giants of the game, and people talk about him never reaching the Hall of Fame.
Rodriguez himself has stayed out of the public eye, though various reports emerge of him being alternately defiant and enraged and paranoid. No matter what, it’s hard to find the kid who loved baseball. It’s hard to find the talent who was going to change the game. It’s hard to find the joy that once made him unique.
And even going step-by-step, through the fall, it still defies belief that it ended up like this for one of the most extraordinarily talented young baseball players in the history of the game.
Posted: February 22, 2013 at 09:19 AM | 117 comment(s)
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