Alex Rodriguez should follow Richard Nixon’s example.
Resign — or in this case — retire. Just as with Watergate, the evidence against Rodriguez appears to be overwhelming. When Nixon recognized the case against him was staggering and that he was faced with impeachment, he saved the country and himself a “long national nightmare” of trial and further embarrassment.
Alex Rodriguez should retire now, forego the millions remaining on his contract, and begin the restoration process. The fact of the matter is, the Yankees would pay him not to play. They owe him $90 million in 2015-2017, plus whatever remains on his $29 million 2013 salary. The third baseman was overpaid from the beginning, but you know the Yankees would negotiate a settlement and allow him to “save” some of that $90 million if he’d just take his ball and go home.
If he plays hardball and tries to fight the inevitable suspension, he may end up with nothing except a load of attorney bills, and the number of fans who are left in his corner will likely begin to diminish before September call ups.
Look, it’s clear that Rodriguez has probably played his last game in the major leagues. He and a handful of others are the only ones who believe he has any meaningful time remaining as a player. So, that means it’s all about the money, although the 37-year-old has earned more than $353 million in his playing career thus far.
Nixon resigned, then went into seclusion for a while. Agree or not with the Ford pardon, it helped to move the nation forward and Nixon began to focus on reinventing his image. By 1980, less than a decade after his resignation, Nixon had begun to resurface as a voice in foreign policy, which was his forte.
I was — and still am — a huge Nixon fan. Not a political statement, but his prowess with foreign leaders and his uncanny ability to break barriers in China, with Russia and other foreign powers at the time, was unprecedented at the time. Despite his Watergate mess, he and Henry Kissinger laid the groundwork for much of our foreign policy even today.
But like Nixon with world politics and foreign affairs, Rodriguez has done much for the game. And, also like Nixon, he has hurt America’s past time tremendously, casting a pall over the game perhaps as much as any other single player in major league baseball history.
At the age of 37, he can begin to rebuild his life and image, then perhaps years from now return in some way to impact the game, its players and its tradition.
Alex should take a close look at the wall. When he does, he’ll see the same handwriting that Nixon saw over 40 years ago. If he doesn’t heed the writing, the wall may fall on him.