Aug 1, 2013, 2:20 PM EDT
Joe Posnanski reminds us that Alex Rodriguez was not always baseball’s biggest villain. There was a time when he was seen as not only the game’s best player, but maybe its savior.
Joe walks us through the timeline of A-Rod’s career, but spends extra time focusing on a day in May 2002 when the sky seemed to be the limit:
On that day in May, just more than a decade ago, Alex Rodriguez was unlimited. He was 26 years old. He was a brilliant defensive shortstop. He could draw “oohs” from the crowd by simply throwing a baseball across the diamond — that’s how strong his arm was. He could run. He was a .300 hitter. He was seemingly invulnerable — playing every day.
And he could hit fly balls that just kept going and going and going. He was as thrilling to watch as anyone. We will never know how much of that genius for baseball was his own talent and hard work and how much of it was in the chemicals he injected into his body. The sad part is that most people don’t care to know. They don’t care enough about him to think about it. They just want him to go away.
This morning Kay Adams and I talked about when, exactly, the story changed on Alex Rodriguez. While he has shot himself in the foot repeatedly for ten years, I really do think that the seeds for all of us hating him — or, at the very least, seeing everything he does in the most negative possible light compared to that which other players do — came just before that day in May 2002 Posnanski speaks of:
- Alex Rodriguez hits 659th career home run, now one shy of tying Willie Mays 0
- Pitchers batting is dumb and the DH should be universal 178
- Max Scherzer doubtful for next start due to thumb injury 3
- Protesters converge on Oriole Park at Camden Yards 138
- It sure sounds like Adam Wainwright suffered a torn Achilles tendon on Saturday night 38
- Settling the Score: Saturday’s results 32
- Suspensions announced for Thursday’s brawl between the White Sox and Royals 78
- Pitchers batting is dumb and the DH should be universal (179)
- The early leaders in MLB’s “Franchise Four” thing have been announced (166)
- The Royals and White Sox had a benches-clearing fracas, five players ejected (155)
- Protesters converge on Oriole Park at Camden Yards (138)
- Kelvin Herrera gets a five-game suspension; Yordano Ventura fined (133)