In those murky years before 2009, seasons that blended together and always ended the same way for him, Alex Rodriguez became almost too accustomed to the prevailing storylines surrounding him: Great player. Talent beyond belief. Will fill up the back of a baseball card with crazy numbers.

Might even crawl to the edge of smashing with his bat whatever obstacles obscured the way the world perceived him and the way he wanted the world to perceive him.

And then Paul Byrd, or whoever, would strike him out. And the song would remain the same.