He has 622 home runs, 1858 runs batted in, 303 stolen bases, three Most Valuable Player awards, a World Series victory and he is not done yet. Throughout his career, Alex Rodriguez has put together quite the Hall of Fame resume. He has hit 600 home runs faster than any player in major league history, and will most likely be the all-time leader in home runs when it is all said and done.
While loved by so many for his incredible accolades, he is loathed by just as many, if not more. Anyone who turns on the television now and again, or picks up a newspaper knows that while Alex Rodriguez might be the most talented player in major league history, he is also the most scrutinized, mainly because he is the highest paid player ever and plays in New York.
While known as a hero and a great player to his fans, he is thought of as overpaid, a cheater, a bush-leaguer and a low-life to his haters. Is it because he is those things, or is it because the media portrays him as those things? One would have to agree that it is a little bit of both.
It is no secret that Alex Rodriguez has at least tried performance-enhancing Drugs (PEDs). A-Rod himself even admitted so. While it is inexcusable, there is no telling just how many players actually have used PEDs. It is undeniable that a large percentage of players have more than likely at least tried PEDs, but none of them have received the criticism that A-Rod has—except for Barry Bonds. Is it because using PEDs is wrong, or is it because people give passes to everyone else because they are not as good as A-Rod?
Of all of the players who have been caught with PEDs, A-Rod is the only one who had to have a sit-down interview, apologizing for what he did. He has been somewhat forgiven since his apology, but A-Rod haters will always be able to say that he "cheated," no matter how long or how much he used PEDs.
A-Rod's fans tend to put his past of PEDs behind them and just like to think of him as a great player with extraordinary talent. While PEDs do provide a "boost," they do not provide athletic ability, something that A-Rod has at an extreme level. Six hundred twenty-two home runs do not hit themselves. There are some who will disagree and say that without the PEDs, he would not have the numbers he does. But David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield are a few players who have been caught abusing PEDs, and are/were great players in their own right, and they do not have the accolades A-Rod does. In fact, the only one who is Hall of Fame worthy is Manny Ramirez.
Cheating with performance-enhancing drugs is not the only reason people dislike Alex Rodriguez. He is considered by some to be a bush-league type player. We all remember the famous incident where he slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove at first base. Funny to some, bush-league to others.
There was also the incident when A-Rod was rounding third base during a pop-up and shouted to distract the players on the Toronto Blue Jays, causing them to miss the easy out and allowing the Yankees to score a run. Again, funny to some, bush-league to others. A-Rod was destroyed by the media for this, as they claimed he broke an "unwritten rule" of baseball and blew the incident completely out of proportion. While he should not have done what he did, it was made a bigger deal than it should have been by the media and his haters.
The most recent "bush-league" stint by A-Rod was when he ran across the mound against the Oakland A's after getting out. A's pitcher Dallas Braden was furious that A-Rod did this to him, and A-Rod was once again made out to be the bad guy for breaking yet another "unwritten rule."
While A-Rod is considered by some to be a cheater on the field, they call him a cheater off of the field as well and think of him as a low-life. Alex Rodriguez recently divorced from his wife, Cynthia. There was multiple reports of him repeatedly cheating on her, probably so, but his personal life is not only nobody's business but his own, but it also has nothing to do with him as a baseball player. Let's face it, Alex Rodriguez is not the only professional athlete who has cheated on his spouse.
So why does Alex receive so much criticism?
It is no secret that the Yankees are the team that people love to hate and hate to love. So who better to constantly attack and criticize than their best player?
Like it or not, A-Rod will more than likely end up hitting the most home runs of all time before he retires. He has put his title of being a player who cannot hit in the big spot behind him by carrying the Yankees to a World Series title. He could retire tomorrow and be a first ballot Hall of Famer, regardless of his personal issues and past usage of PEDs.
So, how will he be remembered?
Can you look past his history of PEDs and personal issues? Can you ignore his "bush-league" attempts to break "unwritten rules" of baseball?
To those who cannot, they will remember Alex Rodriguez as an overpaid cheater who struggled with his personal life as well has his baseball life.
To those who can, they will remember Alex Rodriguez as one of, if not the, greatest player in Major League Baseball history.