The Washington Times - February 9, 2009, 12:46PM

Money has not brought happiness to Alex Rodriguez.

Ever since he signed that 10-year, $250 million contract with the Texas Rangers, his reputation has never been the same. He was seen as a money-grubbing loser, willing to sell out to the highest bidder, even if it was a loser like the Rangers. Then he became the focus of a battle between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees in trade talks that turned into a union controversy. And when he became a Yankee, he wound up being the symbol of the failures of a franchise that has spent $1.5 billion on players since the last time they won a World Series championship.

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He is not respected within the game, and has become tabloid fodder with his fling with Madonna and other escapades. A-Rod made the decision to link up with an agent like Scott Boras, who had no agenda for his player other than to line both of their pockets and become the top dog among agents in the business. The focus was never on the bigger picture — what would be the legacy of a great player.

A-Rod should be the toast of baseball. He is one of the greatest players of his generation — perhaps the greatest — but now he is held in disdain, particularly with the latest revelation that he tested positive for steroids six years ago.

He would have been better off staying with the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners had just won 91 games in the 2000 season, coming off two straight losing seasons, and were on the verge of winning 116 games the following year. But A-Rod took the Rangers money and ran. If he had found a way to stay with the Mariners, he might have had a couple of World Series championships by now and the respect that comes with being a winner, instead of the ridicule he now suffers.

When A-Rod had a press conference in spring training with the Rangers about his new contract, he told the story about how, growing up in Miami, how money was so tight when he was growing up and how his mother and himself would count the change she would bring home every night in tips from her job. He was probably happier then than he is now.

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