Retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez got engaged to Jennifer Lopez over the weekend in an event that was greeted with huge excitement by fans of the couple, as well as their awe over the size of the ring, per The Inquisitr.
One thing that’s notable about the engagement is that not too long ago, Rodriguez was something of a reviled figure, a man implicated in two different performance-enhancing drug scandals, with a reputation as both an overpaid player and a subpar postseason performer. But time, as well as what appears to be work on his own part, has greatly improved Rodriguez’s reputation over time.
“Alex Rodriguez marrying J-Lo quite possibly completes the greatest personal brand comeback story we’ve ever seen,” sports business analyst and former ESPN reporter Darren Rovell tweeted in reaction, to some consternation.
“From labeled cheat to a skyrocketing real estate company, TruFusion gyms and broadcasting contracts with both Fox and ESPN, ABC, CNBC, Barstool and Shark Tank.”
Rodriguez, for the first few years of his baseball career, was clearly one of the game’s best players. A shortstop, Rodriguez came up with the Seattle Mariners and played for them from 1994 through 2000. After that season, Rodriguez signed what was then the largest contract in baseball history, for ten years and $252 million, with the Texas Rangers.
After three seasons, the Rangers decided to dump Rodriguez, and after a flirtation with the Boston Red Sox, Rodriguez was traded to the New York Yankees in 2004, which meant a move to third base. The Yankees blew a 3-0 lead in the playoffs to the Red Sox, who went on to win the World Series that year.
A series of events caused Rodriguez to become a reviled figure among Yankees fans. The team failed to reach the World Series in his first five years with the team. In 2007, Rodriguez announced during a Boston-St. Louis World Series game that he was opting out of his contract with the Yankees, and then re-signed with the Yankees, this time for 10 years and $275 million.
But in 2009, it was reported that Rodriguez had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, and he admitted in an interview with Peter Gammons on ESPN that he had, in fact, used the drugs when he played for Texas and that he had lied about the subject in previous interviews. This led to the frequent savaging of the player in the New York tabloids, when they weren’t romantically linking him to the likes of Madonna and Cameron Diaz, or spreading stories about a supposed certain painting (per Deadspin) of Rodriguez as a centaur.
While the Yankees won the World Series in 2009, for the only championship of Rodriguez’s career, things soon got ugly between the player and team, especially when Rodriguez was implicated in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal in 2013. This led to a year-long suspension, which Rodriguez fought both with appeals and in the courts until he ultimately served the suspension in 2014. Rodriguez returned to the Yankees in 2015 but announced that he would stop playing in August of 2016, accepting a job in the team’s front office.
Rodriguez was relatively disgraced at the time of his retirement, with the drug accusations likely to keep him out of the Baseball Hall of Fame. But before long, his reputation soon began to recover. He began working as a studio analyst on Fox’s baseball broadcasts and showed natural talent as a broadcaster that was nearly universally appreciated by baseball fans. Rodriguez also became a successful businessman and gave frequent interviews (such as on The View) in which he gushed about his daughters and the successful co-parenting relationship he had with his former wife, Cynthia.
By the time Rodriguez started dating Lopez in early 2017, his reputation had been strongly rehabilitated, to the point where his appearance in headlines is more often about his storybook romance and choice of rings than about his drug scandals or centaur paintings. And he did it, in part, by getting together with one of the most famous natives of The Bronx, the Yankees’ home borough.