Alex Rodriguez should follow Nixon’s example: Retire and reinvent

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.


17 comments on “Alex Rodriguez should follow Nixon’s example: Retire and reinvent

  1. I agree with every thing you said. Have to wonder, is he hanging on because he still wants to play or because his agent insists. I can’t see how anyone could squander over 3 mil so it can’t be for the money. Could it?


  2. I’m not optimistic MLB comes away clean on this one. I wonder if there exists a scenario where MLB attempts to suspend / ban Alex Rodriguez and he manages to produce evidence showing MLB either lied or was complicit in the drug usage of the last two decades? This is likely a major stretch as he does not seem to have the wits about him to pull something like that off. However, $90 million is a pretty big motivator.


  3. Chip –
    Fascinating comparison. I think ARod is a lot like Barry Bonds – tremendously talented, but with a big head (even before steroids). Barry’s situation was different in that at the most embarrassing time – he did not have a contract in place – so the teams could just let him go unsigned – kind of like a pocket veto.
    The common thread between all 3 (Nixon, ARod and Bonds) is that they did not need to do it. Nixon was going to get re-elected easily, ARod and Bonds were going to make the Hall of Fame and all of them ended up as candidates to the Hall of Shame.
    From what I’ve seen, ARod has too big an ego to swallow hard and do the right thing. Kind of like the Astro’s rebuilding – it will get uglier before it gets better. I hope it does not go that way – but I do not see a good ending here.


    • Wasn’t the fact that the teams conspired not to sign Bonds a bit…um…wrong? Putting my personal feelings for steroid users in sports aside…that’s is awfully reminiscent of the collusion between the owners in the 1980s that ended up being a bit of a controversy.


    • Dan, I don’t think Trot Nixon is going to make the HOF.

      Ok, being serious here, the big problem I have with suspending Alex Rodriguez or banning him from the game is that it’s the equivalent of a get out of jail free card for the Yankees.


      • Good point, but these are somewhat separate issues. Indeed, Cashman got himself into the mess of well overpaying. He gave into Rodriguez’ bluff and didn’t need to. He would have done well to have taken a page out of the Cardinals’ playbook a la Albert Pujols, but didn’t. But, the issue is much bigger now than the Yankees, so Alex needs to do the right thing here (but guessing he won’t).


      • As someone who cheered when the Yankees were called the “Evil Empire,” this is the one part of banning A-Rod I don’t like. That said, Rodriguez needs to go. He used. He used again. And he used again. Then, when it looked like the gig was about to be up, he tried to cover it up (a la Nixon … Dick, not Trot). In Nixon’s case, it wasn’t the crime so much as the coverup. In A-Rod’s case, it’s both.

        Bye-bye A-Rod. Don’t wait for the Hall to call.


  4. Billy C – I think you have a point about collusion from a purely legal standpoint. But you would have to prove that the owners / GMs had either met or communicated the stonewall on hiring Bonds. If there was a smoking gun like a memo from Uncle Bud stating that he was hands off – it never has appeared. It could well be that while teams had to know Bonds could help them (after all he had a .480 OBP in his last season due to 132 walks an OPS over 1 – a home run every 12 ABs at the age of 42) – maybe none of them wanted the distraction of having him on the team – especially with his me-first, me-only attitude.
    It would be an interesting law suit…


  5. Bud was scratched from tonights game……….Goodbye Bud, you are a classy guy.
    I hope you go to a contending team. Sad to see him go. Becky


  6. Becky – that is usually a sure sign. I’ve heard that both the Pirates and the Orioles are interested. So he could start back against us this series if they had a spot for him and the trade happened.
    Now mkae my day and tell me that Pena was scratched (oh he was not going to be in the lineup…)


      • Yes, Billy. Pena was DFA’d on July 21. The 10 days will be up tomorrow and I’m guessing Luhnow is “holding” onto him hoping to make some sort — any sort — of deal. If he’s able to trade him, the Astros won’t be responsible for the rest of the contract. If he’s released, the Astros are on the hook for the remainder of the $2.9 million of his 2013 salary.


    • Yeah – the Pena thing was a bit of tongue in cheek – just hoping that they could trade him for a crate of balls – but probably not going to happen. Who wants to pay the rest of the year for him – probably not Crane….


      • LOL…he’s not even worth two balls, much less a crate. 🙂

        One thing I like about Luhnow…he doesn’t hold onto his FA signings if they don’t pan out, even if they are ex-Cards (see Ankiel, Rick and Cedeno, Ronny).


  7. Chip, we could argue for months about our difference of opinions on Nixon, but lets talk baseball. ARod was a good player (yes he was using) but everyone oohed and aaahed over him. He parlayed that into mega millions. That being said, the D. Yankees owe him the money. They should have to pay him, or do something like the Brewers and gave that amount back to the fans. They do not deserve a get out of jail free card. ARod should settle, and vanish quietly. And as a retirement gift, take Bud Light with him.


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