Toward the end of his life, Mickey Mantle touched my heart by saying “If I had known I would have lived this long, I’d have taken better care of myself”. He was of course referring to the early age passing of his father and perhaps reflecting on the personal choices (drinking and carousing till dawn) he made over his Hall of Fame career.
His dramatic admission of failure within the framework of a brilliant and successful career brings to mind the “case” of Alex Rodriguez at this stage of his life and career in baseball.
I say case because to date he has been nothing short of psychologist’s dream. If you were writing a book, you couldn’t make this stuff up. Baseball fan or not, you have to be captivated by his story. A brilliant talent (much like “The Mick” ) who put up the numbers we all know and talk about………and yet…….unlike Mantle whose antics were largely ignored (in those days)…….A-Rod can’t seem to catch a break……even as he tries so hard (now) to win us over.
But here’s the main cognizant point that is often overlooked. All of us wish only to be judged and revered by our peers. No one else really matters. And the unblemished reality is that A-Rod captures the admiration of his peers. His teammates and fellow players respect him and treat him accordingly.
With all my doubts, I’d rather err on the side of caution here and trust their judgment. And so with that in mind, let’s enjoy the renaissance and final days of our favorite player to hate……….because (remember Richard Nixon’s famous quote after losing a election)………we won’t have A-Rod to kick around anymore.