Yay-Rod Climbed to the Pinnacle in 2009

Everyone loves a parade, especially Alex Rodriguez, who came back from the depths to help lead the Yankees to a World Series win over the Phillies in 2009.

Alex Rodriguez hit rock bottom in the spring of 2009. Outed on steroid use, facing career-threatening hip surgery and considered A-Fraud by many fans, especially Yankee fans, Rodriguez had a permanent seat in the dead-end cafe.

To add insult to injury, Selena Roberts book “A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez” was just hitting the newsstands. Throughout the 246 pages of this tell-all, there are continued references to drug use by Rodriguez  that may have begun as early as high school. A-Rod is called everything from insecure to narcissistic to a phony. His failures, particularly in the post-season, are documented. His family, his divorce, his exploits — it’s was all out there for the world to see

“Alex’s peccadilloes were his own business, until he started flaunting them,” Roberts wrote in A-Rod. ” He was indiscrete  about his many visits to Vegas. bragging to teammates and friends about his wild nights with strippers. But he could afford such indiscretions. ‘You can make a lot of mistakes with $30 million a year,’ Jose Canseco says.”

Six months later, Alex Rodriguez was riding shotgun down Broadway in the Yankees victory parade.  Criticized for choking in the clutch, he was arguably the Yankees MVP  throughout their playoff run, with dramatic late-inning home runs against both the Twins and Angels and the biggest hit of the World Series, a two-out double in the ninth inning of Game Four that gave the Yankees the win and an insurmountable 3-1 lead against the Phillies.

Coming off  a year in which he wound up with 30 homers and 100 RBIs despite missing 38 games, A-Rod was warming up for the post-season, where he hit..365 with six homers and 18 RBIs, just one off the major league record.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out what happened to A-Rod. He had bottomed out.  He had nowhere to go but up. Suddenly he was playing with house money. He rolled the dice.

His press conference in Tampa to confess to his steroid abuse was awkward at best, but A-Roid got the confession of his chest.. And he handled it a lot better than most. (See Clemens, McGwire, Bonds, Palmiero etc.)

A Second Chance
Then, once Rodriguez had the hip surgery and began his rehabilitation, he realized he was going to get a second chance on the ballfield.

A-Rod this year was a changed man. A different man than the one Selena Roberts described. in her book.

“Alex needed to be needed,” is how Roberts described Rodriguez in A-Rod. “He liked to be at the heart of the public’s fascination. He urged paparazzi moments — sunbathing in Central Park, wiping his mouth with a $100 bill at an outdoor cafe….slowing down his car to let the entertainment press catch him — because he enjoyed the pop-culture fishbowl.”

Sure, Alex Rodriguez still needs to be needed. That won’t change. But in 2009, Change-Rod learned to dodge out of the spotlight. He wasn’t the only Yankee superstar. He let his exploits speak for themselves.

He became more of a Yankee teammate, a brother in arms. You could tell by his facial expressions, his body language, that he was finally able to fully enjoy the successes of  his teammates as well as his own. All the way to a World Championship.

Yep, it paid off for Pay-Rod in the end.

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