They’ll take this hero with a grain of salt.
Some patrons and workers at the A-Rod Grocery on Myrtle Avenue, named for Alex Rodriguez, the heavy-hitting Yankees third basemen who is coming off a year-long suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, say the slugger’s recent apology is worth accepting — for now, anyway.
“Everyone deserves a second chance,” said Elvis Flores, a regular customer at the shop between Washington and Waverly avenues.
Flores has been rooting for the team since he moved to New York from Mexico in the mid-1990s.
“We’re all human,” he said of Rodriguez’s foibles.
When Major League Baseball slapped Rodriguez with the longest suspension in the game’s history back in 2013, people at the bodega, like Yankees fans everywhere, felt let down. Rodriguez underwent a hip surgery prior to his suspension, and now that he is making his comeback and has released a handwritten apology to the fans, bodega denizens are cautiously optimistic.
“If he stays healthy, you know, he can make a real difference,” Geraldo Dominguez said from behind the counter, between making sandwiches and printing out lottery tickets.
Hearing the conversation, another customer jumped in, saying he has been a Yankees fan since the days of Reggie Jackson and Don Mattingly.
“Those are players you look at and idolize,” said Efrain Arroyo. “A-Rod brought shame to the team. I don’t like him.”
Arroyo pointed to accusations that Rodriguez juiced in 2007 and 2009, which Rodriguez ultimately copped to. The ballplayer also denied using steroids when the league first announced his suspension in 2013 as part of the Biogenesis scandal, Arroyo noted.
“We trusted him the first, second, and third times,” he said. “It’s sad to see, but he got what he deserved.”
As for the apology, in which Rodriguez avoided specifying that he used steroids, Arroyo is not buying it.
“He’s lucky he’s back at all,” he said.
A-Rod Grocery owner Ricardo Rodriguez named the store after the heavy hitter back in 2000, when he was playing for the Seattle Mariners, and considered changing the moniker when the scandal broke in 2013, according to a New York Daily News report.
Flores believes the doubters will come around on A-Rod, as long as the team does well.
“If the Yankees win the World Series, we’ll all forget about it,” he said. He pointed to a large poster in the store of another famous player of Dominican descent, Pedro Martinez. There is no such poster of A-Rod on the wall.
“Pedro is the god of the Dominican, anyway,” Flores said.