New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez is hanging up his cleats. In just a few days, Rodriguez will play his final game for the Yankees. After Friday, he’s expected to join the team as a special instructor and advisor.
If this is really it for A-Rod’s playing career, he’ll leave behind one of the strangest legacies in the game. By the numbers, there’s no doubt he was a generational talent who changed the game. But some of his antics on the field, combined with his steroid admission and suspension, make him one of the most hated players of all-time. He’s one of the most polarizing players to ever the play the game.
One thing we can all agree on, though, is that A-Rod is a unique guy. Over his career, he’s been involved in some strange and unusual moments. As a celebration, we here at The Stew decided to document the top-10 oddest moments of A-Rod’s career. Some of these moments weren’t pretty, but they were entertaining.
10. AROD CORP
By all accounts, this was a pretty normal offseason for A-Rod. He wasn’t in the middle of a suspension, and was coming off a nice bounce back year for New York. Turns out, things were quiet because Rodriguez was focusing on ARod Corp. We had some questions about ARod Corp. at the time, and those still stand. What does ARod Corp. do? Why is Rodriguez hanging out in his office so late? Who took this picture? Perhaps all those questions will finally be answered after A-Rod plays his final game. Maybe he’s retiring to manage ARod Corp. full-time. Now is a good time to check in and make sure he received that resume we sent a few months ago. (Chris Cwik)
— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) January 13, 2016
9. THE HANDWRITTEN APOLOGY LETTER
In order to move past his steroid suspension, A-Rod was going to have to issue some sort of statement on the whole fiasco. Instead of going the usual route and sending out a press release, Rodriguez opted for a handwritten note. It was certainly unusual, though it did give Rodriguez’s apology a personal feel. He actually wrote out the words, which is worth more than some assistant typing out a statement. Still, it was odd and unique, which makes it the perfect A-Rod move. (Cwik)
8. FRESHLY DRESSED AT 1 A.M.
This one isn’t as well known, but still gives you a look into A-Rod’s psyche. When the Boston Red Sox were trying to acquire Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers, club officials held face-to-face meetings with him late into the night. Apparently, A-Rod was fully suited up for these, despite the fact that it was 1 a.m. From Sports Illustrated:
In December 2003, when the Red Sox were frantically trying to acquire Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers, several Boston executives called on Rodriguez in his New York hotel suite after 1 a.m. Rodriguez answered the door in a perfectly pressed suit, tie knotted tight to his stiff collar. The Red Sox officials found such polished attire at such a late hour odd, even unsettling.
Now, we understand you want to make a good impression on your future employer (which is how we will handle any possible ARod Corp. interview), but it’s also a little strange to be so professional and put together at such a late hour. On one hand, we get it. On the other, we just want to tell A-Rod to relax a little. (Cwik)
7. THE JETER BOOTY GRAB
It was said, most famously in Joe Torre’s book about his years with the Yankees, that A-Rod was obsessed with Derek Jeter. Torre’s book specifically called it a “Single White Female” type of obsession. While that was weird enough, it made this scene even weirder during the 2009 ALCS when A-Rod ran up behind Jeter during a Yankees celebration and grabbed his ass something fierce. (Mike Oz)
6. ARE YOU DRYING YOUR BAT RIGHT NOW … OR ARE YOU HAPPY TO SEE ME?
It’s been months since A-Rod showed us his intimate bat-drying method and we’re still in shock. There are plenty of ways for baseball players to wipe condensation off their bats, why did A-Rod have to choose the most sexual and awkward way to do it? As far as we know, this is the only time A-Rod has ever done this. He didn’t break out the move before this moment, and we haven’t seen it since. Maybe it was a subtle way to let the opposing Red Sox fans know what he really thinks about them? (Cwik)
A-Rod drying his bat in the best way to ensure he ends up in a vine https://t.co/Y5rjPl2dLX
— The Cauldron (ICYMI) (@CauldronICYMI) May 2, 2016
As we would come to find out over the years, A-Rod loved the company of ladies. Even the ones who dance on poles at clubs and have a lot of dollar bills. The tabloids loved A-Rod just as much, so they made it a point to dig up this dirt on A-Rod. The most famous case of this came in 2007 when the New York Post ran a “Stray Rod” cover of Rodriguez entering a Toronto strip club with a blonde acquaintance. When he was in Boston shortly thereafter, Red Sox fans greeted him in blonde masks. (Oz)
4. POPCORN ON DEMAND
It was Super Bowl Sunday in 2011. A-Rod was dating Cameron Diaz at the time. Being a sports mega star has its privileges — like box seats to the Super Bowl and, apparently, an A-list actress who will literally feed you. So became the legendary tale of A-Rod getting fed popcorn by Cameron live during the biggest sporting event of the year. That’s one he’ll never live down. (Oz)
3. THE DETAILS PHOTOSHOOT
A-Rod is not the first athlete to be involved in a regrettable photoshoot. Everyone remembers Tom Brady and the goat, or Kobe Bryant and the weird white hat and headband combo. With that said, A-Rod’s Details photoshoot belongs in the pantheon of weird athlete photoshoots. By now, you already know what we’re talking about. Remember that picture of A-Rod face-to-face with his reflection? The one where it looks like he’s kissing himself? Yeah, that was from the Details shoot.
There were other angst-y, embarrassing pictures from that shoot, but the mirror one stands out above the rest. Rodriguez actually acknowledged his regret for that particular picture, telling Jimmy Fallon in 2015 that he if he could go back in time, he would tell his younger self “don’t kiss any mirrors” during a photoshoot. (Cwik)
2. THE CENTAUR (THAT MAY OR MAY NOT EXIST)
What does it say about A-Rod’s general weirdness that the No. 2 item on our list came from the gossip pages and is completely absurd on its face, but everyone pretty much believes it because it’s about A-Rod. In 2009, U.S. Weekly reported that A-Rod had pictures of himself painted as a centaur (you know, half man, half horse) hanging over his bed. The tidbit came from an ex lover and, again, sounds completely wacko. But when it’s connected to A-Rod … well, you know. (Oz)
(For the BLS history book, it should be noted that MTV showed one ex-A-Rod girlfriend, Kate Hudson, the BLS photoshop of A-Rod as a centaur in an effort to verify its existence.)
1. THE SLAP
After all the gossip on this list, it’s at least somewhat fitting to A-Rod’s legacy as baseball player that the No. 1 item happened on a baseball field. It was still ridiculous, but at least it happened during a gam. It was Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS between the Yankees and Red Sox. A-Rod was up with Derek Jeter on base and the Yankees facing a two-run deficit. A homer would have been big-time heroics. What happened instead will live on in infamy even longer.
A-Rod hit a weak grounder down the first baseline that was fielded by Bronson Arroyo. As the Red Sox tried to get the out at first base, A-Rod tried to slap away the ball. It worked, momentarily. The ball went rolling into the outfield and Jeter came around the score. But alas, it was ruled interference and A-Rod became the guy willing to meagerly swat away a baseball in a big moment rather than getting the clutch hit. (Oz)
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