By Sweeny Murti
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Alex Rodriguez will play in Trenton Friday and Saturday. If you think you want to see him play baseball again, you better be there.
How did we end up here? How did we get to the point where a minor league game in August could be the last chance to see one of the greatest players in baseball history? And make no mistake, that’s exactly what A-Rod was. Not that he will ever be considered that again without a “but…” and a shake of the head.
Six months ago, when we first heard about Biogenesis, I wrote about some divorce scenarios for A-Rod and the Yankees. After dismissing all the scenarios that included voiding the contract and voluntary retirement, I came to the conclusion that A-Rod would serve a suspension (I thought 50 games at the time because we were not aware of all the extra infractions), complete his rehab, and attempt a comeback.
Well things have changed a bit, haven’t they?
It would be hard enough for A-Rod to come back from a season-long absence created by his latest hip surgery and a 50-game ban. But now that we see it will be for much longer than that, his ability to come back and play at a major league level is virtually gone.
A-Rod just turned 38 last week. True that the last time we saw him play he was dealing with a hip issue, but he played in 35 games last year (including postseason) after coming back from a broken finger and hit only .235 (32 for 136) with three home runs and 44 strikeouts. OK, so the hip has been repaired. He still will be forced to essentially miss at least two full seasons and then be at least five years removed from his last good season as a ballplayer. Even he has to know this isn’t going to work. So why go on?
We all know it’s about the money. Every last penny. As long as A-Rod can still earn a paycheck bigger than most of us will ever see without the benefit of Powerball, he will continue to show up. And that is the only reason, no matter what message comes out next.
A-Rod told Sports Illustrated that being a ballplayer is in his DNA. He told the New York Post that he wants to continue playing because of his love for the game. It seems like he is saying whatever he thinks people want to hear, except he’s not very good at making us believe it.
Here is all we need to believe right now — A-Rod’s career could very well end in Trenton this weekend. But as we all know, with all things A-Rod… is it ever really over?
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