There were those who vilified the Seattle Mariners after the 2000 season for letting Alex Rodriguez go, and when writers said he’d engineered his departure few believed it.
Then he orchestrated his departure from Texas after the 2003 season – three years after he and agent Scott Boras hoodwinked the Rangers into the largest contract in major league history.
And now, A-Rod has pulled the pin on his days as a New York Yankee, stealing attention from the final game of the World Series in the process.
Believe us now?
As Edgar Martinez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Jay Buhner came to realize, A-Rod would often say exactly the right thing – for precisely the wrong reason.
No one who has ever seen him play questions Rodriguez abilities on a field. No one who has spent time around him in a clubhouse or away from the ball park can remember a spontaneous moment.
It was all about the money when he left Seattle, and Boras had Texas believing there were offers nearly as high for his services – so the Rangers ponied up a 10-year, $252 million deal.
No one else had offered Boras more than $186 million.
And now, Alex wants more. Three times in his career, he has chosen where he will play. Franchise loyalties have meant nothing to him, which probably just makes him the players union poster boy.
The man who was once the pride of the Northwest has bailed on three franchises now. His wife has worn a shirt to Yankee Stadium that said ‘Bleep You!’ without the bleep. And he insists he is mystified why he is booed in Seattle and Texas.
Think Yankee fans will boo him in 2008?
Only if they get the chance.
The list of teams in line to bid for the best player in the game is small – and money is only part of the reason. Rodriguez had no friends in the Seattle, Texas or New York clubhouses when he left.
Sooner or later, all fans are going to come to grips with an uncomfortable truth. Alex Rodriguez has always been a player without a soul, no more than a baseball mercenary on the field, an empty silk suit off.
Someone will sign him to a lucrative contract this winter. And that team will get a great player and absolutely nothing more.