Revisiting the Tragic Hero: Do We Still Hate A-Rod?

Exactly one year ago today, I posted the first entry in a threepart series on Alex Rodriguez. My goal was to examine A-Rod as a Shakespearian tragic hero. In the meantime, the Yankees won the World Series, and Rodriguez tore up the postseason, erasing doubts, quieting skeptics, and winning the respect of the Five Boroughs. In Part II of that series, I wrote the following:

Which motivates Alex Rodriguez? His love for baseball, or his desire to be loved? The answer is probably a lot more complicated than either choice. Money fits in there somewhere too, and a whole litany of subtle factors I probably couldn’t understand. But more than greed or competitive lust for victory, it feels to me that Rodriguez has been guided by an unquenchable desire to be loved, praised, adored.

It appears that at some point between then and now, A-Rod was able to let all that go. His smiles seemed less contrived, his interviews seem less scripted, and he moves without the burdensome weight of that perceived (and real) disrespect. He is A-Rod unwound. He is perhaps a tarnished hero, but certainly not a tragic one.

The weight of a million tabloid covers is no longer on his shoulders. I cannot imagine that much of the “weird fetishistic personal hatred” I wrote about in 2009 lingers. After all, the Yankees are champions. We entered this season in a balanced, ordered universe.

As for me, the dreaded A-Rod sympathizer, I’ve found that my position has shifted from defensive to apathetic. With less antagonism directed toward him, I care much less about A-Rod’s 2010 travails. Or maybe that’s just because I don’t live in New York anymore. I don’t get the pleasure of seeing the tabloids every morning.

I guess what I want is answers. What do you guys think? Have attitudes shifted in regards to A-Rod? Has New York accepted him? Is he a better nonkeeper fantasy pick than Hanley Ramirez or Chase Utley? Talk to me.

6 Responses to “Revisiting the Tragic Hero: Do We Still Hate A-Rod?”

  • I’m a bitter Seattle sports fan, admittedly jealous of the championship glory enjoyed by New York and Boston in particular, but really just about every other major city. Of course I hate A-Rod. Before last October, I experienced perverse pleasure knowing that even though he spurned us for Texas and became a giant D-bag, he still hadn’t won it all. Schadenfraude.

    Now that’s gone. And now that I think about it, maybe time has healed old wounds a bit. My hate for him is probably only even with the generic hate I have for all post-Mattingly Yankees. That means for me, he’s slightly less hated than the Rally Monkey and Rod Blagojevich. He’s just no longer worth all that negative energy.

  • Eric, where is the discussion of his new status as outed cheater?

    Surely the boulder was lifted from his shoulders, and he was free after that not only to play well but to have fun at it. Did that free up the tension in his neck that was keeping him from hitting in the postseason? Yes, yes it did.

    The spot was washed from his garments.

  • I’ve hated A-Rod ever since he left Seattle. I’ve never really had a problem with him leaving for money. I’m sure if I had the chance to make a lot of money and let people negotiate to pay me the most, I would do whatever I could to make sure that happens, but what really got me was an alleged story where, after the playoff loss that ended the Ms season (against the Yankees?), A-Rod told Carlos Guillen “This is your team now.” Then he played the free agency game knowing he was never going to stay in Seattle yet allowing the Mariners to raise his price tag. That always bothered me (yes, even though I have no way of proving the story is true). Anyway, now that I live in Boston (I have to admit, I love the sports cultures of different metropolitan areas), my A-Rod anger has evolved into simply hating that he’s on the Yankees. Hey, a Mariners fan can hate the Yanks too, right? Also, it’s always nice to dislike him just to keep the jokes about his name being “a rod” open.

  • I can still remember where I was on the road while listening to A-Rod hit his double in Detroit to complete the Cycle in 1997. It’s absolutely criminal that he finished behind Juan Gon in MVP votes in 1996. That being said, I can’t think of a player in MLB I’ve hated more than A-Fraud over the past decade.

    It started after he left us for Texas, of course. If he would’ve simply stated that he left because of a raise, I would’ve accepted that. The Mariners offered him a large amount of money too. I suppose he wanted 4 diamond-encrusted self-portraits in his mansion instead of 3? He was adament that the reason he left was because he felt he had a better chance to win in Texas. Going from a team that came legitimately close to a World Series to a team that had won 71 games the year before; his response failed the sniff test. I, along with many other fans just felt flat out slapped in the face by a phony.

    Over the years he has decided to add some fuel to the fire: joining the Yankees, lying on national television about his Steroids history, posing for photos where he is smootching himself in a mirror while shirtless, etc…He is just a disgusting, phony human being. This can’t possibly be the same person I grew up loving in elementary/junior high.

    Eric, over the past 5 years you’ve talked with many many Mariners fans. The topic of A-Rod may not have always come up. When it did though, how many of them still had any amount of respect for the guy? You initially came into the A-Rod debate(situation?) relatively neutral and were primarily influenced by the unrealistic expectations the people of New York had for him, correct? I’m not sure that his unfair treatment in New York outweighs the damage he has inflicted to the majority of a fanbase + his other shortcomings that you’ve learned about over the years.

  • I don’t know how people feel about A-Rod around the league but I think he has redeemed himself in New York. They won the championship and he had perhaps his first good post-season. As the saying goes, winning cures all ills.

  • I still think he’s a piece of shit.

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