Alex Rodriguez‘s baseball career will come to an end this week. The New York Yankees held a press conference on Sunday to announce that one of the greatest baseball players of all-time will play his final game on Friday, and once it ends, he will transition into a different role within the organization.
Rodriguez is known for his love of the game, and he wore his emotions on his sleeve as he announced his impending retirement. He talked about his love of baseball, and how he’s excited to mentor “the next generation of Yankees.”
Alex Rodriguez announces his retirement from baseball.https://t.co/TNBVlHfpaC
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) August 7, 2016
This news is a surprise for a few reasons, namely that Rodriguez always seemed like he was eager to keep playing, plus the fact that he’s only four home runs away from hitting 700 for his illustrious career. But as anyone who has watched the Yankees this year will tell you, A-Rod has looked cooked: the 40-year-old third baseman/designated hitter has hit nine home runs in 234 plate appearances this season with a .204 batting average, a .252 on-base percentage, and a .356 slugging percentage.
But Rodriguez – who has also played for the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers during his career – should transition well into the new role. At the very least, he’ll have plenty of time to get comfortable with life after baseball.
And like always when news like this hits, the internet reacted with shock. Sure, people started speculating once news dropped on Saturday night about this press conference, but no one knew for sure that what the future held for the three-time MVP. Still, for how polarizing Rodriguez was during his career, everyone acknowledged that he is one of the best to ever play the game.
A number of people also pointed out that Rodriguez is on the verge of history, and he only has a few days to get there. The Yankees slugger has to hit four home runs to join the 700 home run club, and while his power has faded this year, it would be a storybook ending for him to reach that mark by season’s end.
With his career ending, Rodriguez joins a few other sports legends who decided that 2016 would be their final years. Seriously, we’ve seen guys like Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, and Tim Duncan ride off into the sunset this year, among other legends of their respective games. When you add A-Rod to that list, that may make this year the most memorable one for athlete retirements.
And some, predicting that Rodriguez’s history as a user of performance enhancing drugs will keep him out of the Hall of Fame, decided to get in front of that by proclaiming that he deserves to be enshrined in Cooperstown.
Rodriguez is going to go down as one of the most polarizing baseball players ever for a number of reasons. But there’s one thing that we can all agree on: when his career comes to an end on Friday, baseball will lose one of the best to ever take the field.