COLUMN: A-Rod will go out on his own terms

The story of Alex Rodriguez continues to be amazing. However, A-Rod announcing his retirement after the 2017 season, when his contract with the Yankees expires, isn’t what is remarkable about this story. A-Rod is due to make 42 million dollars in the next two seasons. Why wouldn’t he want to keep playing as long as his two surgically repaired hips let him go out there? What makes A-Rod’s retirement story so remarkable is the fact that he is going to get to go out on his OWN TERMS. This is Alex Rodriguez we are talking about. You know the same guy that fans, the Yankees front office, and ownership didn’t even want on the team last season? 

One year and 33 homers later, A-Rod is embraced by Yankees fans again. It’s said that America believes in second chances but in A-Rod’s case Yankee fans must also believe in third and fourth chances. The way A-Rod handled himself with the media and the fans last season was textbook. Rodriguez was humble and made everything about the team and not himself. 

The Yankees would not have been in the postseason last year if it was not for Rodriguez and now they are going to be relying on the soon to be 41-year old slugger to be a force in the middle of the lineup again in 2016. Did anyone see A-Rod being paid by a television network to commentate the World Series going into last season? The answer to that one is no. A-Rod was tremendous as a broadcaster last year for Fox during their World Series telecasts. A-Rod performed so brilliantly on air that many have speculated that he will be Joe Buck’s right hand man at Fox, calling World Series games for years to come if he wanted to pursue on air work. 

The question now becomes how A-Rod’s time in baseball will be remembered by fans. The answer to that question is still very much up in the air. In two years, A-Rod will have hit more than 700 homers, driven in 2000+ RBIs, won at least three MVPs, and been to at least 14 All-Star games. However, he will never be able to erase the memories of using performance enhancing drugs on his resume or the longest suspension in baseball history. While Rodriguez boasts one of the greatest baseball resumes of all-time, it is unlikely he will ever get a plaque in Cooperstown at the Baseball Hall of Fame. One year later, Rodriguez, has come a long way from a guy that was in baseball exile. Time often changes the public perception of people and while A-Rod will likely never be revered by fans in baseball, his reputation around the game will only improve if he continues to conduct himself like he has the past year.

When Rodriguez leaves baseball, he will have made more than 420 million dollars in on-field earnings – more than any other professional athlete ever. That to some may be what makes A-Rod’s story remarkable. However, the fact that he is going to get to call his shot on when to close the curtains after everything that has occurred in his career is what really continues to make the career of Alex Rodriguez just so remarkable.