Neighbor: Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod. Is there really anything more that we need to say?

Alex Rodriguez is one of those ball players that some love and some hate, and then they reverse their position on a whim. The bottom line with Rodriguez is that the guy can hit a baseball. He is considered one of the best baseball players of all time, and he is the youngest player to ever hit 500 home runs, breaking a record set by Jimmie Foxx in 1939. He also beat out Babe Ruth’s record when he became the youngest baseball player to hit 600 homeruns.

But it’s not just homeruns that make Rodriguez one of the most hated Yankees by Red Sox fans. As a player he has had fourteen 100-RBI seasons in his career, which is better than any baseball player in history. When A-Rod gets up to bat, the chances of a run scoring are pretty darn good. [expand]

A-Rod’s personal life is another matter. There was a time during the summer of 2009 when A-Rod and Madonna had a little thing going on and the press loved it. This newspaper, along with every other newspaper in the modern world, reported on it. Madonna and A-Rod sleeping together in the Hamptons? Does a headline get any better than that? No it doesn’t.

That was a tough year for A-Rod. In February of that year, it became public knowledge that Rodriguez used steroids from 2001 to 2003, after he admitted it to the public. Rodriguez was chastised because he had broken so many records, even though it was common knowledge at the time that the league was turning a blind eye to performance enhancing drugs, which were rampant throughout Major League Baseball at the time.

Obviously, based on his name alone, Rodriguez is an Hispanic American. He was born in New York City and is of Dominican descent. He spent most of his childhood in Miami, Florida, where he played shortstop at Westminster Christina High School. During his junior year, thanks to the help of A-Rod’s bat, the school went on to become high school national champions. Rodriguez was hitting over 500 at this time.

Even in high school, he was making headlines. He became the U.S.A. Baseball Junior Player of the Year and earned a tip of the hat from Gatorade as the Gatorade National Baseball Student Athlete of the Year.

Rodriguez chose not to attend the University of Miami and instead went straight to becoming a Major League Baseball player. He was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 1993, playing Class AAA ball. He became one of the fastest rising stars with the Mariners, and in about a year, was brought up to the Mariners. Almost as if the cosmos had something to do with it, his very first game playing major league ball was against the Boston Red Sox when he was just 18-years old—he got his first hit, a single, against Sergio Valdez on July 9.

Rodriguez’s breakout year was 1996, when he played shortstop for the Mariners and hit 36 homeruns. He led the American League in runs that year, total bases and doubles, and ranked as one of the league’s lead homerun hitters. That year he earned himself “Major League Player of the Year” and nearly won M.V.P., losing in a very controversial selection to Juan Gonzalez.

Rodriguez’s final season with the Mariners was in 2000, then he signed with the Texas Rangers. At the time, the contract he got was the most lucrative contract in sports history, earning him a 10-year deal for $252 million. It was an interesting time, because for some reason the fans just didn’t like Rodriguez with Texas and booed him frequently. Most felt that he was making too much money and was overrated, even though he was leading the American League in homeruns and runs scored while playing for Texas in homeruns and runs scored. In 2003 he was awarded Most Valuable Player for the American League. In 2004 the New York Yankees needed a third basemen, and set their sights on Rodriguez. During that year the Rangers traded Rodriguez to the New York Yankees for Alfonso Soriano, and Rodriguez suddenly became a third baseman and also changed his number from 3 to 13, since the Yankees had retired the number 3 in honor of Babe Ruth.

His time with the Yankees has been tremendous. In 2007 he became the American League’s Most Valuable player.

On November 15, 2007, the New York Yankees and Rodriguez agreed on the “basic framework” of a 10-year, $275 million contract that would have him playing until he is 42.

Sadly (for Yankees’ fans), and happily (for Hamptonites), just after the New York Yankees were eliminated by the Detroit Tigers in Game 5 of the MLB playoffs, Rodriguez had a little time on his hands and it has been rumored that he was here and has purchased a house in the Hamptons.

Rodriguez, in addition to his travels out here with Madonna, has also stayed at the home of Jerry Seinfeld. Love him or hate him, Rodriguez is here to stay, and we can expect him to be hitting homeruns.

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