By Jim Berry


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CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – Just because Alex Rodriguez retired from baseball doesn’t mean he’s no longer a busy guy.

If anything, his life after baseball might just even be more active, thanks in part to a new high-profile romance and a new business venture.

A very candid A-Rod talked to a group of University of Miami students on Thursday at a luncheon.

“I think just being a big jerk, you know?” Rodriguez said to the students. “I was just a really big jerk.”

The controversial ex-slugger talked about the business of sports and did not shy away from the topics that made him the star some folks loved to hate.

The skills that made him the game’s highest paid player and the scandal that tainted his legacy.

“I made mistakes and then I doubled down and became a bigger jerk and then went on sports radio and made an ass of myself,” he said.

That’s when Rodriguez, in the face of damning evidence, denied and then admitted steroid use.

A-Rod returned from a yearlong suspension to redeem himself before retiring last year.

Now, he’s on to the next act.

“You can’t be cavalier about your investments,” he said. “You can’t think that somebody…nobody is going to do for you what you will do for yourself.”

Rodriguez has now leaped full time into his businesses.

The latest venture is a UFC gym in Kendall.

Telling his story, he says it’s a liberating and cautionary tale.

“I’ve had some big hiccups along the way and I think that’s created a big platform for me to come back into the community,” he said. “Hopefully I can share stories of mistakes that I’ve made that hopefully the next generation doesn’t make.”

Rodriguez admits it’s a challenge to live down some of his baseball shame while building a business brand built on integrity.

As for the burning baseball question of how much it would hurt not to be invited into the Baseball Hall of Fame:

“Oh yea, of course,” he answered. “I think any kid would love and relish the opportunity to be in Cooperstown but I don’t have a vote. With the things that have happened, I think for me I want to make sure that I’m a hall of fame father and a hall of fame businessman.”

There is just one question that A-Rod was not eager to tackle, and that was on his budding romance with Jennifer Lopez.

“Let’s just get back to baseball,” Rodriguez said with a laugh.

Rodriguez says his businesses now have 800 employees. He expects that number to balloon to more than 1,800 in the not too distant future.

Jim Berry

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