Alex Rodriguez gets intense describing life during MLB suspension to Danica Patrick

Yahoo Sports

Danica Patrick kicked off her “Pretty Intense” podcast series by diving into Alex Rodriguez’s season-long MLB suspension for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy.

Patrick and Rodriguez spent most of the 50-minute interview talking about entrepreneurship and his business. At around the 30-minute mark, Rodriguez mentioned his 2014 suspension while with the New York Yankees and what winning means to him “after being knocked on my ass by my wrongdoings and stupidity.”

Patrick lived up to the podcast name and asked him, flat out, “what happened?”

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A-Rod ‘100 percent’ thought it was over

A-Rod told Patrick one day he might talk about things in more detail, but shared that the big picture was he doubled down on his initial mistake.

“I made mistakes, I doubled down and as a result of that, I served the longest suspension in Major League Baseball history for PED use. And while I was hoping that it was a 50-game suspension like the 17 or so other guys, it was 211 for the same penalty. That just literally took me to my knees in tears and said, ‘Oh my god, I just completely f—ed up my entire life.'”

Patrick asked if he thought his career was over when he got the news.

“100 percent. I mean, knew baseball was done. It was the darkest place of my entire life.”

Rodriguez described the call from MLBPA leader Tony Clark, who shared the news of the 162-game suspension, down from 211. He was out of the game for the entire 2014 season.

He said he didn’t leave his house for three weeks and didn’t see his daughters.

“I was sick to my stomach. I would wake up in the middle of the night, in tears, going ‘I’m the only jackass that has pocket aces who finds a way to lose his f—ing hand.’ ”

The year allowed him to make a plan and come back, he said. Rodriguez played the 2015 and 2016 seasons before retiring. In all he played 22 seasons and is now an analyst on “Sunday Night Baseball” for ESPN.

Suspension led A-Rod to accept flaws

Rodriguez said the denial of his role in taking PEDs was part of the problem. He was making excuses for himself and blaming others.

“I think what the 162 allowed me to do, it allowed me to press the pause button and turn the lens inward and start to dig in at some of the questions you just asked. And I wanted to know, what the hell happened between age 5 and 12 that made me to do all these stupid things and self destruct.

Once he put the lens on himself, he was able to say “yes, all of it, it was my fault” and was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, he said.

Alex Rodriguez detailed how he came back from the 'darkest place' of his life after he was suspended for a year for PED use. (REUTERS/Iain Axon)
Alex Rodriguez detailed how he came back from the 'darkest place' of his life after he was suspended for a year for PED use. (REUTERS/Iain Axon)

A-Rod: I became a spoiled brat

Rodriguez and Patrick discussed the benefits of therapy, which Rodriguez said “in may ways saved my life.” His year-long absence from baseball allowed him to take a deep dive in therapy that he said a 50-game suspension wouldn’t have allowed him to do.

“I became a millionaire at the age of 18 and what you realize is, you become a spoiled brat. And that’s what I became. I’m not saying I was all bad — I was a nice guy — but there was entitlement and there were issues. And as you become a bigger star and you make more money, what I realized is your blind spot becomes bigger and bigger. And if you don’t have the right people around to hep you manage that, it just keeps getting bigger and out of control.

“What I realized coming out of the suspension is self-awareness is the biggest attribute we can have.”

Rodriguez said he now wakes up being grateful and diminishing the ego. He said he surrounds himself with different people and relies on a moral compass to cover the blind spots.

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