Alex Rodriguez's baseball career has been fraught with controversy. Take a look back at some of his more questionable actions.
Breaking the bank in Texas
After spending seven relatively low-profile seasons with the Seattle Mariners, A-Rod signed as a free agent with Texas in December 2000. Rangers owner Tom Hicks gave him the largest contract in sports — $252 million over 10 years. Hicks was criticized by several other owners for exploding the salary market. The Yankees' George Steinbrenner said Hicks 'did baseball a relative disservice.' Seven years later, The Boss signed A-Rod to his next deal — 10 years, $275 million. Relative, indeed.
Deal or no deal
By 2004 the Rangers longed to be rid of A-Rod's crippling contract. Texas and the Red Sox worked out a trade that would have sent A-Rod to Boston and Manny Ramirez to the Rangers. A-Rod even agreed to take less money than his contract called for, but the players' union wouldn't let him, and the deal was squelched. Shortly thereafter he was shipped to the Yankees, who could afford him.
During the 2004 ALCS against Boston, A-Rod tried to beat out a slow roller to Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo when he slapped the ball out of Arroyo's glove, which allowed Derek Jeter to score from first base. The Red Sox protested and the umpires agreed, ruling interference and negating Jeter's run.
Right fielder Trot Nixon of the Red Sox made a diving catch on a ball hit by A-Rod in the third inning of Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS. The hard feelings of the 2004 ALCS lingered into 2005 spring training when Nixon called A-Rod a 'clown' and not a 'Yankee type.'
With friends like this ...
A-Rod's relationship with Derek Jeter is complicated. Years before he joined the Yankees A-Rod told Esquire magazine that Jeter 'never had to lead,' and that when other teams went into New York, they never said 'Don't let Derek beat you.' Finally, as 2007 spring training opened, A-Rod said he and Jeter used to be 'like blood brothers,' but now it was more a case of 'You go from sleeping over at somebody's house five days a week and now you don't sleep over.'
Tattled on in Toronto
A-Rod's off-field activities became public fodder in May 2007 when the New York Post published this picture of the married Yankee star with a 'mystery blonde' outside a Toronto strip club. She was later identified as Joslyn Noel Morse, a stripper.
Cynthia Speaks (sort of)
A couple of months after the strip-club incident, the Post had another juicy A-Rod picture. This one showed Cynthia Rodriguez wearing a tank top with F*** You in old-English script on the back. Yankee management acknowledged it violated stadium policy, but they weren't about to toss their superstar's wife out of the park.
Running between second and third on a pop-up during a May 2007 game in Toronto, A-Rod distracted Blue Jays third baseman Howie Clark by shouting something. Clark later said he heard A-Rod call 'Mine.' A-Rod denied calling for the ball, saying 'I just said, 'Hah!' The ball dropped between Clark and shortstop John McDonald for an RBI single. While praising the Yankes for having 'a lot of pride and a lot of class,' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said 'That's not Yankee pride right there. That's not the way they play. I thought it was bush league.'
Agent Scott Boras didn't need an association with A-Rod to become unpopular, but it didn't hurt. Even A-Rod felt Boras went over the line when the agent announced that A-Rod was opting out of his Yankees contract. The problem wasn't the announcement itself, but the timing: during Game 4 of the 2007 World Series. A-Rod subsequently bypassed Boras and contacted the Yankees himself, letting them know he'd be amenable to signing with them again. Which he did.
Katie, I need some advice
Katie Couric revealed that she was speaking to A-Rod 'frequently' when he opted out of his contract in 2007. What's the big deal? Don't all ballplayers call national news anchors for career advice? Of course, that was before he lied to her about his steroid abuse. Nonetheless, getting career advice from Katie Couric is pretty strange.
Canseco swings & misses
In his 2008 book 'Vindicated,' Jose Canseco claims he once introduced A-Rod to a steroids dealer. But Canseco, who admitted a severe dislike for A-Rod, later said he had no knowledge of any drug use by Rodriguez.
Married to A-Rod since 2002, Cynthia Rodriguez filed for divorce in July 2008, telling friends that Madonna seduced and 'brainwashed' her husband with the Jewish mysticism kabbalah. Cynthia Rodriguez was subsequently linked to musician Lenny Kravitz. The divorce was finalized in September 2008.
Faces in the crowd
Boston fans poked fun at A-Rod's reported involvement with Madonna, flashing likenesses of the Material Girl during a July 2008 Yankees-Red Sox game at Fenway Park.
Didn't really mean it
Upon watching Jose Reyes do his thing for the Dominican Republic's World Baseball Classic team, A-Rod remarked that he wished Reyes was leading off for the Yankees. What's Derek Jeter, chopped liver? A-Rod backtracked by saying he wasn't trying to slight Jeter ... but still.
Say it ain't so, Joe
Joe Torre's book, 'The Yankee Years,' caused a sensation when it was released in January 2009. Among the former Yankee manager's contentions: That teammates called Rodriguez 'A-Fraud.' Not exactly shocking news, but it's enough to stir up another Yankee frenzy.
Rodriguez told ESPN's Peter Gammons in a February 2009 interview that he did take performance-enhancing drugs while playing for the Texas Rangers during a three-year period beginning in 2001. The Yankees third baseman admitted to taking a substance known as 'boli' acquired with his cousin in the Dominican Republic in 2001. He later read a statement at a Yankee news conference, saying 'I did take a banned substance. And for that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful.'
While actress Kate Hudson was dating A-Rod she was a fixture, along with her father Kurt Russell, at 2009 postseason games. She must have been a good-luck charm since A-Rod finally won a World Series ring that year. A pal told US magazine that Kate and A-Rod 'love sex' so much that they end up talking about it the whole day, adding that 'Kate gets graphic talking about his body, even to her parents.' A Miami Herald source seemed to agree, calling the couple's behavior at a NY eatery like 'something out of Animal Planet.' Alas, the pair broke up shortly after the World Series.
Hey, no shortcuts!
A-Rod got into a beef with A's pitcher Dallas Braden during an April 2010 game in Oakland. Trying to go from first to third on what proved to be a foul ball, A-Rod takes a shortcut back to first — across the pitcher's mound. 'The long and short of it is it's pretty much baseball etiquette,' Braden said. '... I was just dumbfounded that he would let that slip his mind.' 'He just told me to get off his mound,' Rodriguez responded. 'I was a little surprised. I've never quite heard that, especially from a guy that has a handful of wins in his career.' The next month, Braden tossed a perfect game and his grandma had a few words for A-Rod.
In early 2010, A-Rod began dating another blond actress, Cameron Diaz, reportedly angering Hudson. The couple caused quite a stir when TV cameras caught Diaz hand-feeding popcorn to the baseball star at the Super Bowl in 2011. Although they've reportedly been on-again, off-again, Diaz gushed about her beau to Jay Leno as recently as June 2011.
House of cards
Just when things seemed A-OK for A-Rod, MLB confirmed they were investigating claims that he played in illegal poker games hosted at Hollywood hotels and private residences. Star magazine and Radar Online first reported in July 2011 that A-Rod took part in the games. On Aug. 3, the publications reported that 'cocaine was openly used' and a fight nearly broke out one time when the host refused to make good on his own half-million-dollar loss. Radar reported that A-Rod played in games run by now-jailed Ponzi schemer Brad Ruderman. At the time, Rodriguez — who was warned in 2005 by MLB to stay away from underground poker clubs — denied playing in the games.
The Yankees acknowledged how far A-Rod's star has fallen by making him into a part-time player in the 2012 postseason. Manager Joe Girardi pulled A-Rod for a pinch-hitter in Games 3 and 4 of the ALDS vs. Baltimore and benched him outright in favor of Eric Chavez for the decisive Game 5. When Rodriguez again left for a pinch-hitter in Game 1 of the ALCS vs. Detroit, he reportedly flirted from the dugout with two female fans and sent them a baseball requesting their phone numbers.
As A-Rod was recovering from hip surgery, an explosive report in the Miami New Times on Jan. 29, 2013, put him — again — at the center of a steroid controversy, suggesting that his PED days were not behind him, as he had claimed. The report indicated that Rodriguez also used from ’09 — the year the Yankees last won the World Series — through the 2012 season. Rodriguez denied being treated by Anthony Bosch, the owner of Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic in South Florida implicated in the report, and denied that Bosch supplied him with PEDs.
There's no F in Twitter
On June 24, 2013, Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters that Rodriguez had not been given the OK by the team’s doctors and there was no firm date for the third baseman to begin playing rehab games while recovering from his offseason hip surgery. Well the next day, A-Rod tweeted ‘Visit from Dr. Kelly over the weekend, who gave me the best news – the green light to play games again!’ When Brian Cashman was told this by a reporter, the GM responded with, ‘You know what, when the Yankees want to announce something, (we will). Alex should shut the f*** up. That’s it. I’m going to call Alex now.’
Getty ImagesGregory Shamus
A-Rod began a minor league rehab assignment on July 2, 2013, playing 17 games for four of New York’s minor league teams. But it was a postgame news conference in Trenton, NJ on Aug. 2 where A-Rod took a swing at the Yankees … or was it at commissioner Bud Selig? When asked about a possible upcoming suspension, A-Rod replied, ‘There is more than one party that benefits from me not ever stepping back on the field. That’s not my teammates and that’s not the Yankee fans.’ When asked who the parties were, he answered, ‘I can’t tell you that right now and I hope I never have to.’
While MLB handed out 65-game bans to several players for the Biogenesis case for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and the Basic Agreement, Rodriguez was dealt a 211-game ban on Aug. 5. A-Rod appealed and began playing with the big-league club that night. The other players started serving their suspensions.
Reduced, but the saga continues
On Jan. 11, 2014, arbitrator Fredric Horowitz reduced Alex Rodriguez’s suspension to 162 games – including playoffs -- from the 211 games. After sitting out 2014, A-Rod is planning on returning in 2015.