Why Are Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez Buying the Mets But Not the Yankees?
Recently, there has been a trend of high-profile celebrities and former athletes getting money together and buying stakes in professional teams. From small, symbolic stakes in teams like Jay-Z had with the Brooklyn Nets to Derek Jeter’s ownership group in Miami, the movement has taken over sports.
For many years, Alex Rodriguez was one of the faces of New York baseball with the New York Yankees. If he follows through on recent plans, however, Rodriguez could be the owner of the team’s cross-town rivals.
Alex Rodriguez’s star rises
There was a time in the nineties where Rodriguez, playing alongside baseball legend Ken Griffey Jr. with the Seattle Mariners, was one of the next big things in baseball. He came into the league at 18 years of age, and after two years spent in and out of the minor leagues, but by 1996, he was a full-time professional.
What made Rodriguez so unique was his powerful at-bats. Outside of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa, there was no bat like his in baseball. Furthermore, his work in the field was good enough to net him two gold gloves throughout his career. He was a complete player unlike few the world had seen.
Rodriguez was immediately a star after making his permanent move to the Majors, and for five years he was one of the biggest names in baseball. Then, in 2001, he signed a record-breaking $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers.
For the next three years, he was the face of the franchise and his batting remained some of the best in the game. Rodriguez hit a career-best 57 home runs during the 2002 season and was looking to be worth his massive deal.
The Yankees years and ensuing downfall
When the Rangers decided to move on, however, the Yankees came calling. Rodriguez was now the highest-paid player on the most famous team in American sports. Despite being second fiddle to Derek Jeter, Rodriguez had the power and the star power to help the team.
In 2009, he finally got the one thing that eluded him after three MVPs and countless other rewards — a World Series ring. Rodriguez was a shell of his former self, however, and his production went down. Long-standing rumors of steroid use began to replace headlines of his exploits on and off the field.
It later came out that he had, in fact, tested positive for steroids in 2003, and he admitted to that use but claimed that he had not done so in years. He was implicated again in 2014, receiving a year-long suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
Rodriguez had lost the goodwill of the league and was already a shell of his former self. In 2016, after 22 years in the league and 12 in New York, he retired from the game for good.
The next chapter?
Thanks to all of his scandals, Rodriguez was never the beloved figure in New York that Jeter was. Despite his superstar numbers, many saw him as a cheater and a tagalong to the winningest franchise in sports.
Now years into retirement, Rodriguez is looking to get back to New York in a different way. He and girlfriend Jennifer Lopez are reportedly looking for a deep-pocketed investment group to purchase the New York Mets.
This is more than idle speculation, according to TMZ. The current owners, the Wilpon family, are looking to sell and Rodriguez has the connections to make it happen. Still, for a former Yankees star, disgraced or not, to be looking across town is a big deal.
Why not the Yankees?
Rodriguez has several hurdles facing him that would prevent him from buying the Yankees. His tumultuous final years with the organization don’t help matters, but the reasoning behind it is much simpler.
The Steinbrenners aren’t selling. Sure, the family just lost heir to the throne Hank Steinbrenner, but the Yankees are still the family business.
While many teams are little more than side businesses to their owners, the Yankees exist in a sphere only the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Lakers exist in where they are lucrative to be the family business. The team is reportedly worth over $5 billion. Because of this, the Yankees would be both too expensive to buy if the family was interested and a tough sell for a likely bidding war.
Rodriguez might rehabilitate his image, but he isn’t going to do so with the Yankees. If his deal for the Nets follows through, however, his name could be forever changed on the streets of New York as he looks to find success off the field.