Cigar Lover and Baseball Heavy Hitter: Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez was consistently one of the best shortstops and third basemen throughout his 22-year career in baseball. Today, though, A-Rod is known as more of a businessman than an athlete. He has been one of the most controversial figures in baseball. Part of that was from his involvement in a performance-enhancing drug scandal. Yet, some of it was due to him having some of the highest recorded salary numbers in baseball history. When he’s not striking deals or appearing as a regular on any number of T.V. shows nowadays, A-Rod enjoys cigars. According to him, he became a cigar lover who enjoys a good smoke after playing a round of golf with Michael Jordan.
A Kid From Miami Hits the Big Time
He intended to go to college and play football, a quarterback of all things. Yet, by the time he was 17, young Rodriguez was already being shopped around by some top teams in the business. A last-minute offer by the Seattle Mariners made him change his mind about going to the University of Miami to play football. Instead, Rodriguez headed off to Washington.
As the number one overall pick in the 1993 draft, the Mariners and critics had high hopes for Rodriguez. He would spend his first two years outperforming most of his peers in the minor leagues. Then he would take over as the Mariner’s full-time shortstop in ’96.
Rodriguez’s first year out he went on to set or tie multiple records including becoming the youngest shortstop to play in an All-Star game.
It would be the start of his rise as one of the youngest stars in the game.
A Cigar Lover is Born
By the 2000 season, Rodriguez was the face of the franchise for Seattle. He later led them to the American League Championship Series, where they ultimately lost to the New York Yankees. Yet, by this point, Rodriguez’s stock was already on the rise.
During this time, he recalled falling in love with cigars thanks to a Hoyo de Monterrey Double Carona given to him by Michael Jordan. Rodriguez even remarked about the trouble finding more of them later.
From then, Rodriguez enjoyed a smoke any time he could. The newly found cigar lover would even smoke while lounging by the pool when everyone else was asleep.
He spent the next few seasons with the Texas Rangers. There, he signed one of the most lucrative contracts in baseball history at $252 million. This led Rodriguez into a dose of major criticism. Critics considered the amount of money spent on him as too much when other areas of the team, namely pitching, were suffering.
Rodriguez spent only 3 years with the Rangers. Then, he was optioned off to the Yankees in 2004 in a last-minute trade arrangement.
Becoming a Yankee with Controversy
A-Rod would spend the bulk of his career with the Yankees. He also switched from playing shortstop to playing third base. This was mostly due to the presence of baseball great Derek Jeter already holding that position.
During his first season as a Yankee, Rodriguez was already drawing attention. During the 2004 American League Championship Series, he purposely swatted away the glove of an opposing player. This resulted in an interference call and a nullified run from Derek Jeter. It also led the team to lose and get knocked out of the series.
His next round of controversy came in 2007. He opted out of renewing his contract with the Yankees on the advice of his manager. That was after he already stated he would stay with the team for the rest of his career.
Rodriguez went on to win the World Series in 2009 with the Yankees, though. But, that was before being caught up in yet another scandal. This time, it was with performance-enhancing drugs and Rodriguez tested positive for use. After his subsequent suspension and return, Rodriguez’s career looked much different than in prior years. This led to his 2016 retirement.
Modern Entrepreneur and Cigar Lover
Outside of baseball, Rodriguez has become an outspoken businessman and baseball analyst known for his direct, but down-to-earth style.
He is the owner and founder of A-Rod Corp, a holding company that now owns investments in dozens of products and Rodriguez’s own investments in endeavors. One of these personal endeavors included Rodriguez’s attempt to buy the New York Mets in 2019.
When he’s not running multiple businesses or doing charity work, you’ll find Rodriguez behind the commentator’s desk for networks like Fox Sports and ESPN. He often lights up a cigar in the commentator’s booth before or after a game as a means to relax.
Besides his career as a sports analyst, Rodriguez also appears on shows like Shark Tank and Good Morning America as a special contributor.
When he’s not busy, Rodriguez enjoys playing golf and smoking great cigars, a trait he shares with his fiance and business partner Jennifer Lopez. One thing is certain, whether you think he’s one of the greatest to play the game, or simply overpaid and overrated, you’ll likely see more of A-Rod in the future.
Photo credit: @arod/Instagram