And by “loved and appreciated,” we mean “loathed and despised.” But if you were ever among the baseball fans who booed Rodriguez when he stepped into the box or struck out with the bases loaded, he wants you to know how much he appreciates you.
Alex Rodriguez took pride in hearing opposing fans boo him
Alex Rodriguez is a rich man, and he may very well be a sadist, too.
In a 2018 interview with Cigar Aficionado, Rodriguez explained why he treasured hearing fans booing him. People across the country — and don’t forget about those Toronto Blue Jays fans in Canada — made it clear throughout the baseball season how much they disliked the three-time AL MVP.
So why did Rodriguez enjoy the boos and the yelling?
“There’s no greater compliment than having 50,000 people on the road booing you. It was a form of respect. With that said, there’s nothing worse than getting booed by 56,000 people at home. And those who say they don’t hear it, they’re b———g you. They hear it, and it doesn’t feel good.”Alex Rodriguez
At least Rodriguez mentioned hearing the boos at home, because he of all people certainly can speak from experience.
The Yankee Stadium crowd wasn’t kind to Rodriguez, either
New York Yankees fans were once a passionate group, especially in the old stadium. If they saw something they didn’t like, even if it involved their best players, they made their displeasure clear.
From the time he joined the Yankees in 2004 through his final at-bat in August 2016, Rodriguez heard the boos at Yankee Stadium. Yankees fans expected the All-Star third baseman who hit 696 career home runs to either always hit the ball out of the park or at least drive the runner in.
Needless to say, those fans weren’t pleased when he’d strike out in the ninth inning of a close game or pop up with the bases loaded. Rodriguez received mixed feedback from the home crowd later in his career as he got older and served a 162-game suspension for admitted steroid use.
But when Rodriguez retired midway through the 2016 season, he did so with the Yankee Stadium crowd cheering him on. All is well that ends well, right?
Rodriguez has remained a divisive figure even in retirement
Rodriguez is happily retired, and he recently reached an agreement to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx basketball teams.
However, the three-time AL MVP remains a controversial and divisive figure. Baseball fans have criticized ESPN and Fox for allowing Rodriguez, an admitted steroid user, to work as a color commentator and studio analyst on baseball games.
Later in 2021, Rodriguez will appear on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the first time. It will be interesting to see how many voters are willing to include him on their ballot and how many decide to pass on him, given his steroid use.
And if Rodriguez does ever earn enshrinement to the Hall of Fame, he should probably expect some boos from the crowd. Everything will come full circle if one of the booing fans is, in fact, wearing a Yankees hat.