As the 2014 Major League season finished with the San Francisco Giants outlasting the Kansas City Royals in Game Seven of the World Series, an interesting offseason began. Free agent signings, player trades, new managers and young rookies full of potential will be the topic of headlines in the winter months ahead of Spring Training. But no story will loom larger than Alex Rodriguez returning to baseball after serving his suspension for allegedly using performance enhancing drugs.
Among many questions, the main one is: Can A-Rod play clean in 2015? We last highlighted his PED allegations, ties to the Biogenesis scandal, and subsequent lawsuit back in June 2014: http://www.21stcenturyhgh.com/blog/a-rods-last-dropped-lawsuit-begs-the-question-can-he-play-clean-in-2015/.
Personally, A-Rod has always been a polarizing figure despite his phenomenal skills displayed on the baseball field. At age 39, he has three years remaining on his prodigious contract with the New York Yankees. It is unknown if the Yankees, who are still on the hook for $61 million dollars due to A-Rod, are eager for him to return and if he’ll use the media to announce his return this off season or wait until the start of next season. It will be interesting to watch if A-Rod addresses any of the past allegations or instead focuses on the upcoming season. Derek Jeter retiring this past year may enable A-Rod an opportunity to satisfy his arrogant personality and make himself the center of attention and a distraction for the team in the world’s largest media market.
Either way, players and fans will be watching to see how A-Rod performs upon his return in 2015. As he prepares for the last part of his career, his age, being away from major league competition for a season, and past hip and knee injuries will provide challenges. If he does perform at his pre-suspension level of greatness, perhaps it will be a vindication for A-Rod. He never admitted to taking PED’s and playing well as a “clean” player can be his best revenge against MLB and a commissioner that made him the focal point of the league’s PED investigation. It’s not known if he ever tried the best homeopathic hgh. However, if he plays poorly, he risks the perception that his dominance was due largely to an unfair advantage gained by his use of substances that were banned by the league.
What most can agree on is A-Rod’s strong love of the game of baseball and his reputation for training and preparation for an upcoming season. As a veteran on the team, A-Rod can provide mentorship to the younger players, even if he is unable to play on a regular basis and is not known as a great leader in the locker room.
The greatest challenge for A-Rod may not lie in the game of baseball as much as in the court of public opinion. Even if he handles his situation properly and excels again in the Major Leagues his chances of creating a legacy, and Hall of Fame recognition for his accomplishments, that is not overshadowed by his must publicized PED scandal are slim.