MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Lost in the story about the looming suspensions of Alex Rodriguez for his use of performance enhancing drugs allegedly acquired from the Coral Gables-based Biogenesis clinic is A-Rod’s local legacy in South Florida.
It’s a precipitous fall that actually mirrors another famous South Florida baseball star, Jose Canseco.
Rodriguez started his legacy at Westminster Christian in Miami starting back in 1991 for legendary baseball coach Rich Hofman. Much like Michael Jordan, A-Rod was cut from his varsity team at one point, only to come storming back from his sophomore through senior years.
Rodriguez quickly began to fill out his 6’3” frame and by his junior season, he was hitting .477 and stole 42 bases in just 35 games en route to a 1992 Florida championship. Rodriguez committed to the University of Miami, but wound up going pro.
His professional career was the stuff of legend until steroid and other performance enhancing drug allegations began to surface. The allegations began to taint A-Rod’s once pristine image and had fans asking questions about the slugger.
A-Rod would not admit to using steroids until 2009, but said he had only used them during a short period of time earlier in the 2000’s. It was also in 2009 when Rodriguez and the University of Miami joined together to rename UM’s baseball field in his honor.
Rodriguez made a $3.9 million donation to UM’s baseball team, the largest ever at the time to the program. The school named its stadium, “Mark Light Field at Alex Rodriguez Park” in honor of A-Rod’s donation.
Since the Biogenesis/performance enhancing drug scandal broke UM has remained quiet on whether or not it will keep A-Rod’s name on the stadium after the suspension is imposed. At the time of the stadium being named, A-Rod said this just days after admitting to using PED’s.
“I have been so fortunate to have received so much from a game I love so much,” Rodriguez said, according to ESPN.com. “That doesn’t mean I haven’t made mistakes, and unless you’ve been in a cave under the ocean this last week, you know that I’ve made some. What it does mean is that I understand only in America can you dream big, work hard, and be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.”
The bigger problem for A-Rod is that his name may have become so toxic that he may not be able to do much in the game of baseball even after he serves his suspension. It’s hard to imagine owners being willing to let A-Rod in as a part of a group trying to buy a major league team like the Marlins.
It’s quite a fall for a player who at one time was considered to be right on track to be arguably the greatest baseball player of all-time.
Canseco has essentially been ex-communicated from the game of baseball and the public eye in South Florida and the nation. Only time will tell if the same fate will fall on A-Rod.