Amelia Parreira is a journalism senior and Mustang News columnist. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News editorial.
“He’s one of the greatest baseball players of all time.”
From the time I was in elementary school to this very day, that’s all I heard/hear from my peers when Alex Rodriguez, aka “A-Rod,” makes his way into the conversation. Over time, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard it. And frankly, it sickens me.
If you’re a hardcore baseball fan, you probably think I’m crazy right about now. But let’s gain some perspective.
Now it is no doubt that Rodriguez is and was a good hitter. At 40 years old, he started this year’s spring season by hitting a home run on his very first swing against the Philadelphia Phillies on March 3. Not to mention he hit over 30 home runs in almost all of his seasons as a Major League player.
But making the right plays is not all it takes to make someone a great baseball player.
Over a period of many years, Rodriguez has been involved in one too many scandals, which no one seems to remember. And yes, I’m all about forgiving people for their past mistakes and moving on to new beginnings, but once someone keeps repeating the same offenses, how can we continue to trust them and regard them as credible?
From 2001 to 2003, Rodriguez took multiple performance-enhancing drugs, which he didn’t admit until much later. In an interview with ESPN, he said that he only took the illegal drugs because he was “young” and “stupid,” and wanted to live up to everyone’s high expectations.
At that point we were thinking, “Well okay, he did something wrong in the past, but he’s changed and won’t do it again, right?”
From 2010 to 2012, Rodriguez used performance-enhancing drugs yet again, obtaining about $12,000 worth each month from Biogenesis of America, according to a Miami Herald article.
This time it was even worse. He didn’t just use the drugs. He also lied about it and denied the whole thing for another two years, leading to his suspension in the 2014 season.
Is this the type of person we want our children looking up to and, even worse, growing up to be like?
Maybe this wouldn’t seem like such a big deal if people didn’t continue to glorify him. You don’t hear too many people nowadays still bragging about what an amazing player home run king Barry Bonds was. No, they always bring it back to the mistakes he made. To this day, there’s still debate on whether Bonds should be in the Hall of Fame. So why doesn’t Rodriguez receive the same feedback and criticism from society?
I’m not justifying the actions of players like Bonds, because no matter how severe, they still did what they did. But if some players are going to be denounced for years and decades to come for cheating and breaking the law, shouldn’t it be the same for the rest who made similar choices?
I know that not everyone thinks Rodriguez is a legend, but for those who do, what makes him the exception? Seriously, I want to know.
Instead of praising players who cheated not once, but multiple times, we should focus on all those athletes who were and are extraordinary. Those who are 100 percent of the time, out of their own natural talent include players like Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Omar Vizquel and Mike Trout.
Let’s face it, players like these are the true legends.