Alex Rodriguez has undergone quite a transformation over the last decade.
The former Yankees slugger was once a pariah who fought Major League Baseball when he was given the sport’s longest suspension for performance-enhancing drugs in 2014, but is now beloved by fans and his celebrity has never been bigger.
In a recent profile in Sports Illustrated, Rodriguez opened up on a number of topics, including his PED suspension and if he would ever run for president.
“I fell from the Empire State Building,” he said regarding his 2014 season-long suspension. “Nobody pushed me. I f‑‑‑ing jumped. No parachute. I have no one to blame for myself. But what’s changed is, I got my a-- humbled. I paid a deep penalty. I’ve learned lessons. And I’m different.”
Part of what is different is that Rodriguez is able to be more himself and show off more of his personality, which he credits fiance Jennifer Lopez with helping him accomplish.
Dating Lopez has only heightened his celebrity, too. Rodriguez cannot walk five blocks in Manhattan without attracting a crowd, and he loves it. Rodriguez embraces his fans and seems to have a connection with the people — the type of connection that may make him an ideal fit to run for office one day.
“Never,” Rodriguez said. “Never, never. I don’t think there’s anything I would rather do less. I’m trying to be president of my own home, and I’m having a hard time with that.”
Of course, nothing can be totally ruled out when it comes to A-Rod.
“It’s funny you say that,” he added. “That’s a good question.”
Rodriguez has not just won over baseball fans, but also MLB itself. He remains one of the faces of the sport as a postseason studio analyst with FOX and an announcer for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
He was even invited back into the commissioner’s office this winter — the same place he stormed out in a fit of rage just five years ago when he was told he would be suspended for the entire 2014 season.
This time he was meeting with commissioner Rob Manfred, who was MLB's chief operating officer five years earlier, on how Rodriguez can help reach the sport to younger fans and act as an ambassador to promote baseball's first major league game in London, where the Yankees and Red Sox will play this weekend.
“It was surreal,” Rodriguez says. “Same building, same revolving doors, same security guards, but a completely different situation.”
By John Healy