Exactly one year ago today, I posted the first entry in a three–part 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.