No superstar of this era has a more complicated relationship with the fans and the media than Alex Rodriguez. Barry Bonds was perhaps a more controversial figure, but he clearly relished his ability to antagonize the media and whether you loved him or hated him, he was comfortable with who he was in the eyes of the establishment. A-Rod, on the other hand, has never seemed very comfortable in the limelight, frequently coming off as awkwardly ill-at-ease in his role as one of baseball's biggest stars.
Rodriguez long ago entered his decline phase and after his fifth consecutive year in which he had a worse slugging percentage and OPS than the year before, it's almost certain that not only have we already seen A-Rod's best, but it's also looking very small in the rearview mirror. Generally speaking, the idea that players get worse when they get old is about as uncontroversial as an admonition to not put your hand on a hot stove, but the fact that A-Rod is worse at age 36 than he was at 31 has practically been a scandal this season.