Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez released a handwritten letter on Tuesday, apologizing to the fans for his PED use. While his past apologies have seemed anything but sincere, this one had a different feel to it. For the first time in a long time, Rodriguez’s apology seemed to be genuine.
First off, I was impressed that he hand wrote the letter. Hand written letters always hold more a sentimental value to them, so he got off to a good start. The use of a letter to address the situation also shows Rodriguez turned down a chance to get in front of the media, at Yankee Stadium and have the spotlight on him. Something that the ‘superficial’ Rodriguez may not have done a year ago. Before even reading the letter, Rodriguez has gotten me to look at him in a different light.
The letter started off a bit generic but it was proper. “I take full responsibility for the mistakes that led to my suspension for the 2014 season,” Rodriguez said in his letter. “I regret that my actions made the situation worse than it needed to be. To Major League Baseball, the Yankees, the Steinbrenner family, the Players Association and you, the fans, I can only say I’m sorry.”
Admitting that his other actions outside of taking PED’s caught my eye, “I regret that my actions made the situation worse than it needed to be”. Last year Rodriguez threatened to sue Major League Baseball, an action that won’t fly with many fans and fellow players, and it didn’t. It was his actions after receiving the suspension that ultimately made A-Rod the most hated man in all of baseball, from the fans, to the players, to basically everyone. On top of threatening to sue the MLB, Rodriguez was sued by his own lawyers for unpaid legal fees, he sued the Yankees team doctor Christopher Ahmad, and as always he was apart of some shady activities. He may have just snuck it in there, but kudos to Rodriguez for acknowledging that he did wrong and apologizing for it.
Rodriguez understands that he is not liked by many, and he understands why as he is says in the second paragraph of his apology letter, “I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why and that’s on me.” After years of lies and cover ups, Rodriguez understands his word means nothing to us. As they say, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.
I began to get a little nervous at this point in the letter. He starts to mention how he received the longest suspension in the history of baseball of 211 games, which was reduced to 162 games. I thought, here we go again, he’s going to complain how unfair it was and blame someone else, once again. Plot twist, he didn’t. “I served the longest suspension in the history of the League for PED use,” Rodriguez wrote in the apology. “The Commissioner has said the matter is over. The Players Association has said the same. The Yankees have said the next step is to play baseball. I’m ready to put this chapter behind me and play some ball.”
So he’s still a little upset about his suspension, but for the first time, the third baseman mentioned the suspension without bashing the MLB or saying he is being mistreated. He is simply ready to put his mistakes behind him.
The last part of this apology really won me over. Rodriguez wrote, “this game has been my single biggest passion since I was a teenager. When I go to spring training, I will do everything I can to be the best player and teammate possible, earn a spot on the Yankees and help us win.”
He professes his love for baseball, which is nice, show that the game means more than just your massive contract and that you do love it. Many people are going to overlook the last statement. It seems like the typical, ‘I’m going to do everything I can to help this team’ statement, but it’s not. He mentions being “the best teammate possible,” so the selfish side of A-Rod took a step down. It’s not just about him coming back to form and being the A-Rod of old, it’s about the guys next to him as well, at least thats what it seems like.
“Earn a spot on the Yankees,” that should speak volumes. Rodriguez has won 2 MVP awards with the Yankees, 1 World Series, and has been one of the better players in all of baseball during his time here. On top of those accolades and his numbers, he is owed $21 million, yet he says he first has to earn a spot on the team. The slugger has finally realized that nothing is going to be given to him, and that the Yankees owe him nothing (besides the $61 million). He’s ready to fight for his roster spot and earn back the respect of his team.
The hardest thing to do these days might be to believe anything that Alex Rodriguez says. He has the track record of lying to us all and covering up the truth. We have seen that side of Rodriguez a number of times, but you can’t look at this letter and say this is the same A-Rod we have come to know and hate. For now Rodriguez seems like a changed man.
So what should A-Rod’s next step be? Just as he said, it’s time to play ball. Stay out of the media, limit his interviews, keep his mouth closed and just do what he can to help his team be successful.