Dear A-Rod,

Thank You!

As I hear the news of your retirement from Major League Baseball, I find myself with mixed emotions.  Emotions of sadness, anger, joy and admiration.

I know from following your career since day one, how important the game truly is to you. The passion you have shown for the game you love is something that we should all admire and I know your sadness is greater than many of us could imagine as you bid farewell to a game that has brought you so much.

The anger forms from the fact that we don't live in a day and age where legalized HGH can be used by athletes under a doctor's supervision in order to extend careers and get players back onto the field of play.  All I'm sure were your intentions when using what you used that has cast an unfair cloud in some peoples mind over your first ballot Hall of Fame career.

The admiration comes from the way you have evolved as a person over the years as well.  I know people see an attractive, wealthy, successful athlete and think problems aren't a part of the equation even though I know being "Arod" was probably a curse sometimes more so than a gift.  But you eventually found a way to be comfortable in your own skin and it has made for a great teaching tool for us all.

The joy becomes overwhelming though when I think back to all the great moments you have provided me as a fan.

If I were writing this back in 1994 as a 9 year old when you first broke into the league with the Mariners, I would have described how awesome I thought it was that you were playing alongside Ken Griffey Jr. and how if I could be any player when I grew up that it would be you.

If I were writing this in 2001 as you joined the Texas Rangers and signed that HUGE contract, I would have described how awesome I thought it was that you just got a contract for $252 million and that someday I sure hoped to have the fame and wealth that came along with being the greatest at your craft.

If I were writing this in 2004 when you were traded to the New York Yankees, I would have described how awesome I thought it was that you were a part of the greatest franchise in MLB history and that now your dream of winning a World Series title would come true.

But now I write you this thank you letter on August 7th, 2016 and I just want to say how awesome I think you are as one of my favorite athletes of all time.

Thank you for the 329 stolen bases.  Thank you for the 2084 RBI's.  Thank you for the 3,114 hits.  Thank you for the 2,781 games.  Thank you for the World Series title.  Thank you for the 3 AL MVP's.  Thank you for 14 All Star appearances.  Thank you for 2 Gold Gloves.  Thank you for 10 Silver Slugger Awards.  Thank you for the 5 AL Home Run titles.  Thank you for the batting title.  Thank you for the 2,021 runs.  And thank you for the 696 "A-BOMBS"!!!

Again, my sports memories as a kid, adolescent, young man and now adult all include Arod and as you bid farewell to the game of baseball, just remember that you will be missed.

Thank you A-Rod for all the great memories!

Jeff Thurn