Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009

Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod started 2009 a disgraced man. In February, Sports Illustrated reported that the Yankee superstar had tested positive for steroids in 2003. The act seemed unforgivable — Rodriguez, on track to shatter Barry Bonds' career home-run record, was, like Bonds, forever tainted. But a funny thing happened on the way to the superstar scrap heap. Rodriguez immediately came clean and admitted he screwed up. An injury forced him to the sidelines to start the season; when he came back in May, the Yankees went on a roll. Though Rodriguez failed to string together one of his more statistically impressive campaigns, he dodged controversy, by all accounts became a better teammate and finally shed his reputation as a postseason choker by hitting .365 and slugging six playoff home runs as the Yanks won the World Series. Steroids? What steroids? Lesson for all athletes, especially a certain golfer in a bit of a peccadillo: a little candor, and lots of winning, goes a long way.

— Sean Gregory