The Padres were dealt a serious blow when All-Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. announced he’d tested positive for PEDs, resulting in an 80-game suspension that will sideline him for the remainder of 2022. His explanation—Tatis insists he was using Clostebol to treat a skin infection—apparently didn’t pass the smell test with teammates Mike Clevinger and Manny Machado both alluding to his immaturity. GM A.J. Preller was similarly critical of Tatis, giving this scathing response when asked of the 23-year-old's suspension.
Once considered among the most entertaining players in baseball, only time will tell if Tatis has done irreparable damage to his legacy or if his recklessness of late (he was still recovering from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident when news of his suspension broke) will haunt him for the remainder of his career. Alex Rodriguez knows a thing or two about controversy, comparing Tatis’ predicament to his own steroid scandal, a misstep the disgraced slugger acknowledges will likely keep him out of the Hall of Fame.
“I have no regrets, no excuses for my behavior. It’s on me,” said an emotional Rodriguez during Sunday night’s “KayRod” simulcast of Red Sox/Yankees on ESPN2. “I wish that a lot of these young players that I admire so much learn from my stupidity and my debacle. It almost brings me to tears to see a kid like Tatis that’s 23 years old, that for the rest of his career, he’s just going to play it out.”
The former Yankee said he doesn’t plan to reach out to Tatis, but is always available to mentor him or any other big-leaguers seeking to avoid the pitfalls that made Rodriguez such a polarizing figure throughout his MLB career.
“There’s probably no Hall of Fame. I’m not going to go to the Hall of Fame, probably, because of my own mistake. And that’s heartbreaking for me,” said A-Rod, who was suspended the entire 2014 season for his ties to Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic in Florida that supplied him and other players with Human Growth Hormone (HGH). “It’s heartbreaking to explain that to my daughters. But that’s on me. So I get to be now, hopefully a better friend, a better businessperson and, more importantly, a better father.”
This past January, Rodriguez fell well short of the required 75 percent of votes needed for Hall of Fame induction, appearing on just 34.3 percent of ballots. Neither Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens were elected in their 10 years of HOF eligibility (Mark McGwire was also denied entry) and Rodriguez anticipates suffering the same inevitable fate, forever labeled a cheater unworthy of Cooperstown.
“I was heartbroken [for Tatis], because to make a mistake at 22 or 23 years old that’s going to affect you for the rest of your life, maybe 60 years. [When] I made that mistake in my late 30s, it was out of desperation to get back on the field and play,” Rodriguez expressed to Michael Kay. “What’s interesting about Tatis is that he hasn’t played in a year. And he’s not going to play, probably, for another year.”
Though Rodriguez will always have his fair share of critics (and rightfully so), the 47-year-old should be commended for the vulnerability he showed Sunday night, taking accountability for his mistakes, both on and off the field.