Alex Rodriguez Has Been a Lightning Rod for Controversy as a New York Yankee

Some Criticism of Slugger Has Been Unfair, but Other Has Been Right on the Mark

Yahoo Contributor Network

Alex Rodriguez is no stranger to controversy in his career, but his nine seasons with the New York Yankees have taken controversy to new heights.

Rodriguez has been a controversial figure ever since he agreed to a 10-year, $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers in December 2000. Since coming to the Yankees in February 2004, there have been controversies about Rodriguez's dating, his postseason performance, his use of performance-enhancing drugs, his on-field etiquette, his off-field antics, how he interacts with teammates, and many other topics large and small.

Here are the worst 10 moments of Alex Rodriguez's career as a New York Yankee:

10. The Cooler

Rodriguez has been called by the derisive nickname "The Cooler" in baseball circles for some time now. The name stems from the Seattle Mariners and then the Texas Rangers improving after Rodriguez left them to join another club. The Mariners were a playoff team in 2000 with Rodriguez at shortstop. Then they tied the major-league record 116 games the year after Rodriguez went to Texas. The Rangers similarly improved in the win column in 2004 after Rodriguez was dealt to New York. The public seized on this as Rodriguez' postseason woes piled up.

9. The Super Bowl (February 2011)

During Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas, FOX Sports camera crews cut away from game action to show the scene in the luxury boxes. After seeing former President George W. Bush, actor Michael Douglas, and Dallas Cowboy legend Emmitt Smith, the camera cut to an odd scene: Rodriguez being fed popcorn by actress Cameron Diaz (click here for video). It seemed to get a lot more play than a two-second shot of a couple at a game ought to have received.

8. The shout heard 'round Canada (May 2007)

Rodriguez created a ruckus during a 10-5 win against the Toronto Blue Jays. With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Rodriguez was running slowly from second to third on a popup by Jorge Posada. Blue Jays third baseman Howie Clark settled under it then flinched away as Rodriguez yelled "Ha." The ball fell in for a run-scoring single and Toronto shortstop John McDonald had to be restrained from going after Rodriguez (click here for video of post-game interview with Rodriguez). Rodriguez was widely mocked and criticized for what was mostly thought of as a bush-league maneuver.

7. The slap (October 2004)

During Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox in 2004, Rodriguez hit a slow roller up the first-base line. Boston pitcher Bronson Arroyo fielded the ball and tried to tag Rodriguez, who slapped the ball out of Arroyo's glove and wound up on second base. He was ruled out for interference and Derek Jeter, who had scored, was sent back to second base. Rodriguez was the subject of much public scorn for the play.

6. A-Fraud (January 2009)

When former Yankee manager Joe Torre released his book, "The Yankee Years," in January 2009, his criticism of Rodriguez was glaring. Torre claimed the clubhouse atmosphere became strained after Rodriguez came to the Yankees in 2004 because "Alex monopolized all the attention." Torre also wrote that teammates and clubhouse attendants referred to Rodriguez as "A-Fraud." Torre claimed his teammates seemed particularly put off by Rodriguez' demands of the attendants. The nickname still resonates with many baseball fans.

5. The flirtation (October 2012)

Rodriguez became embroiled in controversy in Game 1 of the 2012 American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, Oct. 13. After being pulled from the game for a pinch-hitter, Rodriguez reportedly sent a note on a baseball to bikini model and designer Kyna Treacy and her friend Kate Quinn asking for their phone numbers. The timing, during one of his many postseason slumps, could not have been worse in terms of public reaction.

4. The call girls (March 2009)

The New York Daily News published a story linking Kristin Davis, the madam at the center of the controversy that brought down former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, to Rodriguez. According to the story, Rodriguez dated Davis while also hiring hookers from her. The timing of this story, while Rodriguez was in the middle of divorce negotiations, was damning but the public reaction was mostly chuckles and jokes.

3. Links to disgraced Canadian doctor (February 2010)

Rodriguez found himself linked to controversial Canadian doctor Anthony Galea, who later pleaded guilty to charges of bringing mis-branded performance-enhancing drugs to the United States. Considering this came after Rodriguez had already admitted using PEDs, public reaction was mostly muted other than to express no surprise at the news.

2. The opt-out (October 2007)

Rodriguez decided to opt out of his 10-year, $252 million contract after the 2007 season, a decision that his agent announced during the World Series. Rodriguez was accused in many quarters of grandstanding with the announcement, trying to take attention away from the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies. Rodriguez later criticized agent Scott Boras for the timing of the announcement but the damage had already been done.

1. The steroids (February 2009)

After years of denying allegations first made by former player Jose Canseco, Rodriguez reversed his field in 2009, admitting he had used performance-enhancing drugs while a member of the Texas Rangers from 2001-03. Rodriguez made the admission after it was reported he had tested positive for PEDs in 2003. There are many fans who will never forgive Rodriguez and consider all of his accomplishments in baseball to be tainted by cheating.

Phil Watson was a writer and editor for several daily newspapers for more than 20 years and is a longtime New York Yankee fan.

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