This was a few years ago during yet another all-too-frequent Alex Rodriguez tempest. He was taking batting practice, that bemused/perma-smile look on his face, a now-familiar shield against the redundant attacks on his behavior, decision making and temperament.

A Yankees official watched and, without provocation, summed up the most most-polarizing player in the sport in one word:


Eight letters, two syllables, one man.

This has been Rodriguez too frequently in deeds, words and, particularly, associations. And since his acquisition in 2004, Rodriguez's reckless bent has not only damaged him, but the Yankees as well in terms of reputation, clubhouse tension and a general halo of negativity. Until now, that is.