The New and Improved Alex Rodriguez.
It took him five years, a divorce, and a steroid scandal, but Alex Rodriguez has finally earned his Pinstripes.
After his arrival in New York in 2004, A-Rod was put under tremendous pressure to perform at a high level day in and day out, regular season and post season.
The regular season was no problem for him, he won the MVP in '05 and again in '07. Unfortunately, his regular season success did not transfer well to October, where most people would say he choked.
His numbers were not actually as terrible as a lot of people say they were, through his first four post seasons with the Yankees, he went a combined 23 for 94. But it was still not, by any means, a good start to his post season career in the Bronx, and he recieved seemingly endless ridicule for it.
Then in 2008 his wife divorced him, amidst the rumors of Alex spending time with other women while on road trips, but it didn't even seem to affect him, and treated it very nonchalantly.
Finally, his admission to steroid use in February of 2009 and following hip surgery that made him miss the start of the season, pushed him out of the baseball spot light and gave him time to reflect.
He made his return on May 8th, against the Baltimore Orioles, and in his first at bat he belted a three-run homerun. This may very well have been the turning point for the Yankees' season, as they had stumbled to a 13-15 record in Rodriguez's absence.
Through the rest of the season A-Rod said all the right things in interviews, giving credit to his teammates for victories instead of himself. The Yankees won the division and A-Rod got another chance at the post season.
He would not disapoint this time around, he came up with clutch hit after clutch hit all through October, belting six homers and driving in 18 runs. The Yankees would go on to win their 27th World Series Title, A-Rod's first.
So Alex has definately changed from a self centered, egotistic player to an all around fun to play with, team player. As well as an October hero for the Bronx Bombers, a performance that Yankees' fans will not soon forget. That's why I say he's, finally, earned his Pinstripes.
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