Oh man, you should have seen this kid. Or maybe you did.
I watched Alex Rodriguez play shortstop for the Seattle Mariners at 20 years old and have never seen anything like it before or since. And I saw Hall of Fame shortstop Robin Yount in the big leagues at 20. But A-Rod was better. Way better. Amazing, really.
So smooth, so natural and so big, strong, fast and talented. And at the same time, he played HARD. He ran out routine ground balls. He hustled everywhere. And he played with such joy. And then, along the way, it all came unraveled and he's become one of the most despised athletes in sports. So much so that I'm not sure a lot of people remember those early days.
In his debut column for NBC Sports, the great Joe Posnanski today profiles the rise and fall of A-Rod, a lengthy but most interesting read that I happily recommend. And bookmark that page. Poznanski is one of the best in the business.