A-Rod (aka Alex Rodriguez) () is a 3x MVP, 14-time All-Star, and World Series champion. As of 2016, he was the highest-paid player in major league baseball history. After 23 years in the game, he’s an investor and business mentor preaching the gospel of financial literacy for all.
What We Discuss with A-Rod:
- The concept of VCP: vision, capital, and people.
- What Alex has learned about business from mentors like Warren Buffett and Magic Johnson, and what he hopes to pass on to his own mentees.
- How growing up as a poor kid in Miami informs the way Alex treats people today.
- The need for financial literacy to become part of the American education system’s core curriculum.
- The “Breakfast Club” that keeps Alex’s relationship with his daughters real.
- And much more…
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Even when you’re the highest-paid player in major league baseball history with accolades galore, there’s no guarantee your post-game life will proceed with comparable success. In fact, 78% of former NFL players, 60% of former NBA players, and a similarly high percentage of MLB players go broke within just a few years of retiring. But after 23 years of playing professional baseball, A-Rod (aka Alex Rodriguez) wasn’t about to let his story end at chapter 11.
On this episode, Alex joins us to discuss how mentors like Magic Johnson and Warren Buffett have kept him on the right path, what helping his single mother hide money in a mattress when he was a kid taught him about the importance of financial literacy (and why it should be part of our basic educational curriculum), how a “Breakfast Club” keeps Alex’s relationship with his daughters real, what he’s taken away from years of therapy, and much more. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Resources from This Episode:
- A-Rod Corp.
- A-Rod | Twitter
- A-Rod | Instagram
- A-Rod | Facebook
- Alex Rodriguez Stats | Baseball Reference
- Alex Rodriguez Invests in MMA Fight Promoter PFL, Joins Its Board of Directors | Bloomberg
- Alex Rodriguez, Marc Lore Officially Join Ownership Group of Minnesota Timberwolves | NBA
- Alex Rodriguez and Miami-Based Investors Group Buy the Luxurious Washington DC Hotel from Trump Organization for a Whopping $375 Million | Sportskeeda
- How (And Why) Athletes Go Broke | Sports Illustrated
- Warren Buffett | Wikiquote
- Ted Williams, Baseball’s Last .400 Hitter, Is Dead at 83 | The New York Times
- Magic Johnson Stats | Basketball Reference
- Cameron! Kate! Madonna! Alex Rodriguez’s Dating History | People
- Kabbalah and Mysticism 101 | My Jewish Learning
- Alex Rodriguez Says PED Suspension Cost Him His Reputation, More Than $40M | Bleacher Report
- A-Rod Opens Up on the Highs & Lows of his Career to Becoming a Business Mogul | The Pivot Podcast
- How Baseball’s A-Rod Became Alex Rodriguez the Investor | Bloomberg Quicktake
- Alex Rodriguez Says He’s Focusing on the Positive Following the Past Year (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight
- A-Rod: Ped Usage Shouldn’t Ban Players from Hall of Fame | First Take
- Alex Rodriguez (aka “A-Rod”): Life and Business Lessons | Greenwich Economic Forum
- Alex Rodriguez on Investing Opportunities | Bloomberg Live
688: A-Rod | Still Having a Ball After All
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to the new Starbucks Baya Energy drink for sponsoring the show. With caffeine naturally found in coffee fruit, it's energy that's good.
[00:00:07] Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:03] A-Rod: You know, I think growing up and watching Michael Jordan and Greg Norman and Magic and Bird, they usually have one thing in common and they had this incredible zen approach that you just could not get inside their brain, you couldn't get in their skin. That's something that I've always wanted to do. Like no matter what came around me, no matter how crazy things got, I always wanted to be levelheaded and very calm, kind of the calm before the storm.
[00:00:35] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills are the world's most fascinating people we have in-depth conversations with scientists, entrepreneurs, spies, and psychologists, even the occasional Emmy-nominated comedian, Fortune 500 CEO, money-laundering experts, or economic hitman. Each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better thinker.
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[00:01:29] Today, we're talking with three-time MVP, 14-time all-star and world series champion, Alex Rodriguez aka A-Rod. As of 2016, he was the highest-paid player in Major League Baseball history. The average career in baseball is about five years. He played for 23 years, set to make several hundred million before age 42, not bad. Today, we're talking about everything, but baseball. You all know I'm an indoor kid. We touch on growing up fatherless. Alex turned towards mentors to keep him on the right track. Sometimes, he went a bit outside of that track. We'll talk about that today as well. We also discuss fame, family, business, and how to decide what your priorities are or what they should be.
[00:02:10] To be honest, I enjoyed this conversation. It went in some surprising directions and I think you'll enjoy it as well. Now, here we go with Alex Rodriguez.
[00:02:22] Look, a lot of athletes go broke after they retire. That didn't seem to happen to you. In fact, you're known for shrewd investments and business savvy. Where did you learn all of that?
[00:02:33] A-Rod: Yeah, not knock on wood, right?
[00:02:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:02:35] A-Rod: I think from very early on, for me, I've always had a passion for two things, right? Early on, I've always enjoyed the two B's, baseball and business. My father was very much into business spirit. He was an entrepreneur. He was great with numbers. He was a banker, mezz lender, kind of a serial entrepreneur. Then when I was born in New York City, 1975, we owned our own shoe store in our apartment in Washington Heights. And he was very much known for being like the human calculator. Obviously, back then, we didn't have calculators everywhere and we didn't have an iPhone. And he would do all the numbers in his head very quickly.
[00:03:15] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:03:15] A-Rod: Everywhere I traveled, somewhere along the way, they would say, "I used to shoes from your father and I remember you when you were two-year-old or three-year-old."
[00:03:22] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:03:22] A-Rod: So I've always enjoyed it. I think part of anything that you do that you're successful usually you have a passion and respect for it. And I think that's been a big key for me.
[00:03:31] Jordan Harbinger: Why do you think other players don't learn this stuff? But yeah, their dads aren't entrepreneurs, but is that the only reason.
[00:03:38] A-Rod: No. I think, look, you have to have passion and understanding. I do think that athletes have the potential to be really, really great business people, both men and women. I think that it's a little bit of rewiring of the mind in business. I talk to the business community—
[00:03:59] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:04:00] A-Rod: —almost daily. I sit at my desk and I answer the phone I'm available and we share ideas, sharing best practices, sharing the good, the bad and the ugly of what's happening in the market and being connected. All the things that you do when you're connected as a Yankee or as an NBA player or an NFL player. What's interesting about the way athletes go about their business is different than the way they go about their sports. In sports, they're usually really, really good at saying, well, if I want to play basketball, I want Michael Jordan or LeBron on my team. If I want to play football, I want Tom Brady.
[00:04:34] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:35] A-Rod: If I want to play baseball, I want Mariano Rivera or Andy Pettitte. But when it comes to business, they don't try to go out and find the Michael Jordan or the Tom Brady, and if you really want to simplify it and take a step back, one of the things that have worked really well for me is the concept of VCP — vision, capital, people. And the idea is if an athlete sits back and says, "What is my vision? What do I want to do when I grow up? What I will do when I retire?" That's my vision. "How much capital do I want to deploy or can I deploy and then can I go find the best people in the world to go invest my capital if I want to be a passive investor?"
[00:05:16] And if you do that and you hand your money over to Starwood or to Blackstone or to KKR or to Carlyle, and not think very much. These are the smartest people in the world. You should do fine over time. Or like Warren Buffett says, "Put your money in an S&P account, pay very little fees, and just take a nap for 20 years." So I think there's a little bit of over-complication sometimes that happens. And I think as athletes, all we need to do is really understand what is our competitive advantage and then oversimplify things a little bit.
[00:05:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think that — what's the statistic? Do you happen to know? It's like 87 percent of athletes are broke or bankrupt shortly after leaving the league. That sounds high, but it sounds possible as well.
[00:05:53] A-Rod: It's a crazy high number. I'm not sure exactly what it is. When I entered the league, we were an industry in sports that was making around a billion dollars collectively and that includes every sport. Today, we're well over five billion and rising quickly as salaries keep getting higher and franchise values keep increasing in enterprise, but yet that number that you mentioned keeps going higher and higher. So it's obviously not an issue of how much athletes are making. It's an issue of the process and how they protect it.
[00:06:23] Jordan Harbinger: Were you thinking about this at all when you were sort of earning the mega Major League Baseball box? Like, were you thinking about this out of ambitious planning for the future? Or was it more like fear of going broke and maybe how early did you start thinking about this?
[00:06:38] A-Rod: I think a combination of both a fear of going broke for sure.
[00:06:41] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:06:41] A-Rod: I remember Sports Illustrated came out with that famous broke and then story of Sports Illustrated. And there was another one, I think, ESPN did and 30 for 30 and it talked a lot about that as well. That was a concern. But then there was also a passion to want to be able to protect and grow your capital over time and do it in a matter that has a 20, 30, 40-year vision, not the quick hit.
[00:07:07] Jordan Harbinger: During the 2008 recession when real estate developers, they got crushed. I know you had some, I guess, W2 income really from baseball and a fair amount of it, if the news is correct. So is that one of the ways in which you grew a ton and bought a bunch of properties? Because it seems like if you — what's that Warren Buffett quote, like when other people are scared you can be greedy. And when other people are greedy, you should be reserved. It seems like that had to be pretty good timing.
[00:07:32] A-Rod: That was, and again, it was a scary time for anybody who had real estate holdings. It's a scary time for all Americans, right? Because the market was dry, debt markets were dry. There was not a lot of capital. There's very little liquidity. People were getting squeezed. You know, thank goodness that some of my loans were very, very tight. Thank goodness I had the liquidity to pay some down, get some big write downs, and then to be able to go and strike while, you know, there was blood in the streets. And we're kind of entering a little bit of that time now, where if you do have liquidity and you're strong when others are weak, that's when you can do some real damage.
[00:08:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's Warren Buffett says something like when you — you know, you probably know this better. Didn't he give you some advice? Like once you find your pitch — and I don't know if that's a baseball metaphor or really, he meant literally like a pitch. What was his advice? Because, I mean, he's done pretty well. You could probably trust something that comes out of his mouth when it comes to investing.
[00:08:29] A-Rod: Jordan, I like you because you butcher these things almost as bad as me.
[00:08:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:08:34] A-Rod: But I know everything you're saying. I understand it because that's the language that I speak. No, but I mean, what he basically talked about is to be super disciplined. He talked about Ted Williams being one of the most disciplined hitters in the game. That was his favorite hitter, but Ted Williams never swung outside of the strike zone. And he really stayed in his sweet spot. And what he said was when you get that pitch, you don't have to swing at everything like baseball. But when you get that pitch, don't try to get a hit or a double, go for a home run.
[00:09:00] Jordan Harbinger: It seems like this home run is an understatement. I mean, don't you — you have like 15,000 units now, and that might even be outdated information. Is that correct?
[00:09:09] A-Rod: We've gone up to about 15,000.
[00:09:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:12] A-Rod: We're probably trading it half of that. The market has been one that buyers are paying incredible prices for these assets. There's over three trillion dollars sitting on the sidelines, waiting to buy assets. And that's the difference I believe from 2022 and where we are today versus 2008. I think people today are in much better for this environment. They've made a gazillion dollars over the 11 years.
[00:09:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:41] A-Rod: It's been one of the greatest runs over the last, you know, many, many decades. So while the market is a little dry today, people are sitting with a lot of cash.
[00:09:49] Jordan Harbinger: That seems like it's probably a good thing at least in terms of not having another meltdown. But alas, this is not a macro economy podcast.
[00:09:58] I've heard you kind of have Warren Buffett on speed dial. Is that accurate or is that press hype?
[00:10:02] A-Rod: A little bit of press hype. No, I wouldn't say speed dial, but Warren has been a great friend and mentor of mine for, you know, over two decades. I've spent a lot of time in Omaha with him and he's been very generous. And he's always been someone that I can lean on and has given me tremendous advice over the years.
[00:10:19] Jordan Harbinger: You have other mentors, yeah? I was doing my research and a friend of mine was saying, "Oh, you know, in fact, it's one of Magic Johnson's people," and he's like, "Oh, you should. You know, Magic talks to him all the time." And I'd love to hear about that relationship, because it seems like it's a pretty important one, especially in your business.
[00:10:34] A-Rod: Yeah, Earvin — I call him Earvin, right?
[00:10:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, of course.
[00:10:37] A-Rod: You know, he's an incredible human being. He was my favorite player of all time in basketball. He was an ultimate winner. Came out of Michigan State. He was a champion there, champion in high school, and five championships with the Lakers and then he was able to leverage that incredible Hall of Fame career to have in a hall of fame in the boardroom. And about 25 years ago, we went out for little coffee for supposedly 30 minutes and three hours later and 11 pages of notes later, I was thrilled and humbled that he shared his playbook with me. And what he shared with me that night, 25 years ago, over a three-hour dinner, it's a lot of the staples that I run a record today and its ability to be able to invest with great people, great partners and to be able to do well and good in the community at the same time, especially my community of African Americans and Latinos.
[00:11:33] Jordan Harbinger: So like a lot of players, you didn't exactly grow up with a silver spoon in your mouth, did you?
[00:11:38] A-Rod: No, I didn't. I was born in New York, raised in Miami. You know, even though modest beginnings, my mother worked two jobs. She was a secretary in the morning and served table at night older. And I have my older brother, Joe, and my older sister, Susie. And the triangle of them did an incredible job raising me. My sister was kind of the secretary of education. And my brother was kind of secretary of sports and my mom was kind of just trying to make it rain every single day for us. I had the opportunity to be at the Boys & Girls Clubs. My father left when I was 10. That was one of the really dark moments in my life. But because of the Boys & Girls Clubs and a great support cast at home, I was able to turn on cable every night when I got home and turn on the Mets game on WOR and Braves on TBS. And while we were kind of poor, I never felt poor. I felt that I was rich with vision. And I had rich dreams and big thoughts and big ideas and, you know, thank goodness I've been able to manifest some of those.
[00:12:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, no kidding. Back in the day, like you mentioned this actually in another interview, I wish I could remember which one, but you mentioned that you kind of felt, or at least your mother felt at the mercy of the landlord and now owning, let's just say thousands of apartment units, because it does fluctuate in, I think, over 14 states, did growing up that way inform how you treat your tenants now? Or are you kind of pretty far removed from that part of the business?
[00:13:04] A-Rod: No, for sure. I mean, look, I remember as a kid praying for a few things, one, that the landlord would stop raising the rents.
[00:13:12] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:12] A-Rod: Because we had to move every 18 months because of that. And two, that I wish God can slow down time because these 30 days, it felt like it was coming every three or four days. And I saw this stress building on my mom and she had to get a lot of tip money and salary to pay the rent ever month. And I remember as a child getting down on one knee or two knees and praying to God and saying if I ever have an opportunity to trade places with the landlord I'm going to do that. And sure enough, about a decade later, in my early 20s, I had an opportunity to buy a duplex here in Miami, not too far from Miami Arena where the Miami Heat play and that was my first duplex and that led to a fourplex and eightplex and you know, the rest became history.
[00:13:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Wow. You mentioned growing up and your mom getting tips. I heard that you would get picked up from school by your mom's friend as a kid, dropped at whatever restaurant she happened to be working at, and then go home at midnight with her, which now all the things we know about sleep science, which I'm sure you're familiar with being an athlete like that's so bad for you as a kid to do that in so many ways.
[00:14:20] A-Rod: You know, when you're growing up in Miami and you're playing at the Boys & Girls Clubs and you go to a school that you like and you have cable TV and you're able to watch baseball games and you're excited to see your mom at Latin American at 10 p.m. and wait until midnight to get home, there was nothing about that I felt that I was poor. Or you know, sometimes you go to your friend's house and they have really nice houses and they got a lot of food and cereal. I'm like, "Oh man, that's a lot of cereal. I wish we had that much cereal."
[00:14:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:14:46] A-Rod: Those things that stick out but I never felt like I had anything missing. And I think that's the beauty about sports. I never color. I never saw anything but teamwork and you know, get what you get out it. In order to win, you got to produce. You got to be a good teammate. You got to collabo. And sport was a great teacher to me.
[00:15:05] Jordan Harbinger: I heard you used to count her tips and put them under the mattress, which is it's what a change now. I assume you don't keep your nine-figure real-estate fortune under a mattress. That'd be a hell of a mattress. It's got to be a nice change. Actual bankers that hold your money for you and no worries if it's all there when you get back home.
[00:15:22] A-Rod: Well, Jordan, I used to ask my mom, "Mom, why are you helping me raise the mattress so you can put this $700 that you've been raising for the last 25 days under the mattress?" I said, "There's banks everywhere, we drive by them all the time." And she says, "Son, you're going to learn, I don't trust banks. I do trust my mattress." And that was kind of the first thought of why I thought financial literacy was so important. And we've heard this all the time and it sounds like vanilla, you know, knowledge is power.
[00:15:57] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:15:57] A-Rod: But it truly is. I mean, the way that capital markets work, the way that the investing, the way that equity works, debt works, the difference between employer and employee, all these things are kind of a language inside the world of finance. And it's something that I believe we should work really, really hard in the future to make this part of academic public school system—
[00:16:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:16:22] A-Rod: —where you should be learning financial literacy in school. And that's a shame that it's not.
[00:16:26] Jordan Harbinger: I agree, a hundred percent. I think the closest we came was counting fake plastic coins and fake plastic bills that we did, like once every three months or something like that. And I just thought this seems more important than we're giving it credit for. Meanwhile, I'm putting things in alphabetical order and we spend three months doing that. I could tell you which skill I use more often.
[00:16:43] You went from poor to, I guess, just not to sugar coat it, you went from poor to poor-ish, you know, to rich over and almost overnight. I mean, you got 1.35 million, I think, at age 17. That was like the first. That's enough money to buy your mom a house and still have enough probably/possibly to mess up the rest of your entire life if you wanted to.
[00:17:00] A-Rod: Well, it was a lot of money and my main drive while I wanted to go to college really badly and play quarterback and shortstop at the University of Miami, that was school that I signed in. I've been on that board almost 20 years now. The motivation for signing was specifically around my and my goals for her.
[00:17:21] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:21] A-Rod: I wanted to retire her and when I signed that contract, I made her a promise, I said, "Mom, if I sign a contract you'll never work again." The first thing that I did with my contract was I bought her a house and I bought her a nice car.
[00:17:33] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:17:34] A-Rod: I bought myself a black Cherokee and then I went to go play baseball. I was really proud that it's been, I guess, over 30 years, I think, and she's never, never worked a day again.
[00:17:47] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Alex Rodriguez. We'll be right back.
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[00:19:52] Don't forget to check out the Six-Minute Networking course, the course is free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. This course is about improving your networking and connection skills, but also inspiring others to develop personal and professional relationships with you. It will make you a better networker, a better connector, and a better thinker. And it's all free. I don't want your credit card. I don't care about that. jordanharbinger.com/course, and most of the guests you hear on the show subscribe and contribute to that course. So come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[00:20:22] Now back to Alex Rodriguez.
[00:20:26] Did they offer you something lower that you were tempted to accept? And I don't know much about the world of sports, agents, or anything, but it seems like they don't come in with the highest just negotiation. You don't come in with the highest offer. It would be for example, very tempting to take like $700,000 when you're paycheck to paycheck and shoving money under the mattress. It's like, I would imagine there's a part of you that just wants to reach out and grab the first thing that flies your way because it might not be there tomorrow.
[00:20:51] A-Rod: A hundred percent. And that was my instinct. I mean—
[00:20:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:20:54] A-Rod: —if you offer me 500, that's 500,000 more than I today.
[00:20:57] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:20:58] A-Rod: But my mom, it tells you a lot about her and her self-esteem and what she believes that we were worth as a family and the first offer was a million dollars and she had a hard no. And she said, "If I want 1.5 for my son, and that's the number," and here we're negotiating against the big Seattle Mariners and it's just her against my mom and my sister and my brother. I'm sitting here thinking like, I never really questioned my mom but, "Mom, like, are you sure?"
[00:21:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Don't mess this one up.
[00:21:27] A-Rod: Under my breath, we don't want to upset them.
[00:21:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:21:30] A-Rod: You know, sure enough, a day or two, right before I had to go to the University of Miami, we negotiated a deal right here in this building at our headquarters at A-Rod Corp. This was another hotel since it got demolished and they have condominiums and we're here in the office. So talk about the world coming full circle—
[00:21:50] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:21:51] A-Rod: We ended up meeting at the halfway point. At 1.35, we wanted 1.5, they offered one. And we, you know, how you started this interview as 1.35.
[00:22:00] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, you got a little more than halfway. You still got the jump on them.
[00:22:03] A-Rod: Yeah.
[00:22:04] Jordan Harbinger: That must have felt incredible. But also I can imagine you being like, "Mom, I hope you know what you're doing right now. I really hope you know what you're doing.
[00:22:11] A-Rod: So Jordan, this was now like at two o'clock in the morning and I'm sitting there with the president of the Seattle Mariners, is my mom and my sister. Because at that time you couldn't have an agent. You had to be represented by family because if not, you lose your eligibility for college.
[00:22:29] Jordan Harbinger: Oh.
[00:22:29] A-Rod: My agent/advisor was my sister and my mom. And we're about to sign the contract, they have pen and paper, about to sign. And you know, this is a moment.
[00:22:38] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:22:39] A-Rod: Everyone leans in. We've been doing this for three months and I stop and I say, "And two more things—" and everybody goes, "Oh my gosh, what, what, what?" And I said, "Well, Seattle's very far from here. I'm supposed to be a freshman in college. I need my mom to be flown out three times a year, first class, to come and see me for the first three years." And they're like, "Done—"
[00:23:01] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:23:01] A-Rod: "—what else?" And they're like, "What else? And I said, I'd love to get 12 bats in lieu of a slugger, Major League wood bats," which is a big deal, "while I'm in the minor leagues." And they're like, "That's it? Are you sure?" I said, "That's it." They said, "Okay. Sign it," and I signed the contract.
[00:23:17] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Yeah, I can imagine they were like, what he's going to ask for some kind of signing bonus. That's going to be impossible for us to get right now. Yeah, yikes. Actually to force you to be represented by family seems like — it's one of those rules that sounds like they're trying to be fair, but actually just puts you at a massive disadvantage against a major organization with a ton of resources at a young age where you have no idea what's going on.
[00:23:39] A-Rod: Yeah. And look, you have to learn by just the reps. I mean, there's really no classes going to teach you on how to be a professional at 17. And I had a great fortune that I had a great manager, Lou Piniella.
[00:23:53] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:23:53] A-Rod: I had a great supporting cast with the likes of Ken Griffey Jr. that was also a number one pick before me, about six or seven years before me. We had Jay Buhner, Randy Johnson, Joey Cora, Felix — I mean, we had a lot of great kind of mentors that helped my development out tremendously.
[00:24:08] Jordan Harbinger: You mentioned that your dad, I guess, left for lack of a better word when you were young. And I read that you were angry when your father called to congratulate you on the day that you got drafted into major league baseball. I want to hear a little bit more about that because it seems like I understand that it seems like that's your day, right? And he almost left when you needed him. And now he's like, "Hey, I want to celebrate with you." Is that was that kind of the mindset on that?
[00:24:31] A-Rod: Kind of, I mean, the truth is once he left at 10, we really didn't reconnect for real until like my 23rd birthday.
[00:24:55] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, wow.
[00:24:55] A-Rod: It was a trip that Cynthia, the mother of my kids, my ex-wife who's a dear friend, set it up and give her credit because I didn't have the courage to kind of do that in the middle of season. We chose Minnesota because it was a little bit out of the way. We stayed in a separate hotel. We scheduled a four-day trip in which he saw me play for four days. And Cynthia sat with him. Here we are. I mean, I almost played 25 years professionally and the only four games in my entire career that he watched me play was in Minnesota with Cynthia at the old Metrodome. And Jordan, it was probably the four best I played in my entire career.
[00:25:22] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:25:22] A-Rod: And I think part of it was I was really excited that he was there. And the other part of me was a little bit sad and angry that he was there.
[00:25:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:25:31] A-Rod: And I wanted to show him — all right, here's what you missed.
[00:25:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:25:36] A-Rod: So chew on that.
[00:25:37] Jordan Harbinger: Chew on that. Yeah, exactly. This might be a dumb question, but whatever — do you think it harmed the image you had of yourself at that age? I mean, you were young when he left. It's a pretty vulnerable time in a kid's life. There's guilt. There's anger. There's resentment.
[00:25:48] A-Rod: I think when you were 10, it's hard to understand why your father would leave you.
[00:25:52] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:25:52] A-Rod: Right? I mean, it's something that wouldn't even go through my mindset with my two beautiful daughters. By far the single most important thing in my life is being a present father. So I didn't understand that at 10. And I think it was probably into my mid-30s where I started diving really deep into therapy.
[00:26:12] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:13] A-Rod: That I had to unpack some of those issues and finally forgave myself and understand that. Look, this wasn't your fault why he left? He left because he chose to leave.
[00:26:22] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:23] A-Rod: And it wasn't to just maybe a few years ago that I really got comfortable with that. I think the consequence of those thoughts that you asked the right question is the recourse of feeling like that is you feel like you're not enough.
[00:26:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:26:37] A-Rod: And I think over the last, call it, handful of years, I understand it that I am.
[00:26:43] Jordan Harbinger: It leaves that void. That's almost like if you want to be loved, right? you have to do some big thing, which you did. And then it's almost like, "Well, damn," you know, and then you realize, "Okay, that wasn't. It had nothing to do with me. And my mom was there, my family was there, and this is his loss," but yeah, I mean, it took you 20-plus years to sort of come to terms with that. And you've talked about how other kids had parents at baseball games. You didn't because your mom's working full time. Double full-time, who knows? And your dad wasn't there. For a lot of people, that would make it hard to stay motivated. You know, there's no one there to clap for you when you get a hit. I assume then you must have even early on had a strong internal sense of drive.
[00:27:24] A-Rod: Certainly. And that's the only way to you. But you know, Jordan, I never looked at it as a victim. I never said, "Oh, boy, my parents are not here and my friends' parents are."
[00:27:33] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:27:33] A-Rod: In a weird way, I've always been able to try to turn a negative situation into a positive.
[00:27:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:27:40] A-Rod: And what that taught me early on, I saw a lot of parents that were overbearing. That sometimes they cared so much, it became—
[00:27:49] Jordan Harbinger: Toxic?
[00:27:50] A-Rod: Toxic, and basically a noose around these kids' neck and I felt the pressure on them because they were trying to perform for their parents and you know, the gift and curse is, yes, I didn't have them but I didn't have that burden. I can actually go out and self-motivate and self-start every single day. And if I didn't want to do it, nobody was going to be there to push me. And I thought that was an asset. Yeah. So that's kind of how I looked at it.
[00:28:13] Jordan Harbinger: That makes sense that it's an asset, but also a lot of people would go, "Well, no one's here to push me." So look, my parents, they came to some of my soccer games. Some they didn't, I didn't really care, but I pulled my shirt up over my head as a defender, because I was bored and the balls fall on the other end of the field. I didn't have a career in soccer for very long. I think, second or third grade is my last season because I wasn't really motivated. There might have been different reasons for that, but I think when you're talking about people performing for their parents, you're right. The pressure can be ridiculous.
[00:28:39] I assume you took a lot of lessons from your own childhood and are now applying them to being the father of two girls. I mean, was there a time when you went, "All right, I got two girls. I'm not going to screw this up. Like maybe my dad did."
[00:28:53] A-Rod: Oh, I mean, look, I definitely came to that conclusion probably within a year or two of him leaving me and leaving our family. Right? The one thing I said, I basically self-talk myself, I said, "Dear Lord if you ever give me an opportunity to be lucky enough to be a father, I'm going to be the best father I can be, and be present and raise the kids with high self-esteem. So that was something that was you talking about baseball business and looking forward one day to being a father. For sure, that was a motivator.
[00:29:27] The other thing that I discovered early on was I was a scholarship kid and what that meant was I needed and dependent on friends, parents, and mentors to help through my day, meaning the only way get to practice is Pepe's father or JD's father, who were lifelong friends of mine, had to take me to practice and take me back home or the Boys & Girls Clubs or Latin America to go see my mom. Therefore, I needed to have good grades — I needed three things. I needed good grades, right?
[00:30:02] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:30:03] A-Rod: To be the scholarship kid because I couldn't afford school. Number two, I needed to have, be a good kid with good attitude, and be a good model around other kids.
[00:30:12] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:30:13] A-Rod: And three, I needed to play enough good baseball, so they wanted me on the team. So early on from 10, 11, 12, 13 14 years old, I had major responsibilities and consequences if I didn't behave a certain way. And if I didn't, you know, pull my weight.
[00:30:27] Jordan Harbinger: I assume you're applying those as well to your teenage girls to break those patterns, maybe that you or negative patterns that you would've had inherited, I guess, from being raised by a single mom, or I should say not by a single mom, without a dad. There's a difference, right? Single moms are kind of superheroes. I'm trying not to throw shade on any single mom by accident. You know how that is. You wouldn't want to do it. I couldn't get away with that, especially not in the show.
[00:30:47] A-Rod: This thing will be canceled in 30 seconds.
[00:30:50] Jordan Harbinger: No, exactly. And rightfully so, I want to be very clear — I have two kids. I've got help. I've got my wife as well. And we are like, "How do people do this without resources?"
[00:31:01] A-Rod: Right.
[00:31:01] Jordan Harbinger: And if you're a single parent, I'm like there's no way— it's impossible.
[00:31:05] A-Rod: Yeah.
[00:31:05] Jordan Harbinger: It's next to impossible. Like you are doing a superhuman feat if you are a single parent raising even one child, let alone multiple kids.
[00:31:13] By the way, now that you're the father of two teenage girls, do they get embarrassed when you get recognized and you're out with them? I feel like if I had a famous dad, I would not want anybody to be like, "Oh, your dad — hey, your dad is A-Rod." That would be so annoying.
[00:31:26] A-Rod: My girls want nothing to do with me. I have to trick them into these appointments. She wants to redo her bedroom. I said, "Great. How's Thursday at 2:30. We're going to have a meeting for an hour." And she's like, "Dad, we can do it in 15 minutes." I said, "I have an hour book, then we're going to get the construction team in here. We're going to—" She's like, "It's just a bed and desk." But anyways, it's great. You know, the other part is that a lot of times as kids we're bullsh*tted, right?
[00:31:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:31:50] A-Rod: And my therapist called it up a bunch of perpetrators all around the hoop. And nobody shoots straight with you. And one of the things that I've wanted to do from very, very early on with my daughters is shoot with them very straight. And obviously, it's appropriate for their age. They're 17 and 14 now. And we started what is called a breakfast club and on Sundays, we have no phones, no electronics. The three of us, we sit down for 90 minutes and just have old school conversation like you and I are having. And Jordan, at the beginning, they hated it.
[00:32:22] Jordan Harbinger: Of course.
[00:32:22] A-Rod: They hated it with a passion. And now they love it because it really — I think it's just a great tool to be able to sit down in today's world away from your phone, away from social media, and to be a good listener and to be a respectful listener and to articulate stories and storytell. You know, happens early on, they would say, "Well, let me get my iPad so I can show you." I said, "No, no, no, no."
[00:32:46] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:32:47] A-Rod: "Tell me the story. I want to hear it. I want to hear a beginning, a middle, and an end." And I said, "Take your time. Say it again." And when they say something that sounds slippery or perpetrating, I say, "Wait, Ella, wait, Natasha, that sounded like bullsh*tting me. Start again."
[00:33:04] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:33:04] A-Rod: We have to teach our kids at home what BS sounds like. When they see dad going sideways, I said, "Hey, I want you to call me on it."
[00:33:17] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:33:17] A-Rod: Or call me on my BS because that's the greatest way to connect is when you can communicate in the most honest, best way.
[00:33:24] Jordan Harbinger: That's a great idea. I like the breakfast club thing. My kids are five months old and two and a half. So it might be, it might be—
[00:33:30] A-Rod: Early.
[00:33:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, a little early for them to even, they don't care about electronics. They want to throw sand in the pool. Like that's my son.
[00:33:37] In early photographs it looks like you're trying out a bat that you colored black with some kind of paint. And then there's another one where you're batting left-handed instead of right-handed. I'm probably reading too much into this. Are you imitating other players for the heck of it? Or were you experimenting to see if you could get an edge in the game?
[00:33:54] A-Rod: That's really good. I've never been asked that question and you're dead on. So—
[00:33:58] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:33:58] A-Rod: The two teams that I watched a lot growing up were the 84, 85, 86 Mets and the big rival was the St. Louis Cardinals with White Herzog, Ozzie Smith, Tommy Herr, Jack Clark. So the left-handed batting stance is imitating Willie McGee.
[00:34:17] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:34:17] A-Rod: What was interesting about both the Mets and the Cardinal, they both let off with a couple of switch hitters. The Cardinals have Vince Coleman and Willie McGee and Tommy Herr. And the Mets would have Dykstra, they would have Mookie, Wally Backman, Hernandez, Carter, Straw so I was fascinated by contact and speed and fundamentals, which is far away from what the game is today. It's power and strikeouts.
[00:34:45] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:34:45] A-Rod: Which makes it a much more dilutive, not as exciting game, in my opinion. So in that picture, you're talking about, I was imitating Willie McGee.
[00:34:54] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. Yeah. I wondered about that because I thought that's not — when you hold a bat, your whole life, you don't switch hands because it's more, you do that for a reason, right? It's not a prop—
[00:35:03] A-Rod: Right.
[00:35:03] Jordan Harbinger: —for you in a photo. It's something, basically, that bats a part of your body at that point in your life. So no accident there.
[00:35:10] A-Rod: Growing up, there was no Instagram, there's no snap. So we had to be creative and actually imitate. And some of my funny friends would be great imitators and comedians. And then when you're a jock and you love baseball, you imitate your favorite baseball player. Everyone can imitate stance. And Dan Marino was our guy. We had Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. I mean—
[00:35:30] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:35:30] A-Rod: —those were the days, right? And we had to kind of improvise and I enjoyed those days.
[00:35:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah. Funny those are Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan. Man, those got to be some interesting guys. I assume you've seen them out in real life now that you're in those circles. I know Hulk's got a bad back, but that's got to be surreal because we all grow up on that stuff. No matter what your sport is now like we all grew up on some wrestling, man.
[00:35:52] A-Rod: Yeah. And those guys had swag before swag was in style.
[00:35:57] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Alex Rodriguez. We'll be right back.
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[00:38:18] Now for the rest of my conversation with Alex Rodriguez.
[00:38:23] There have been times where you're on the field and thousands of people, maybe even tens of thousands. They're yelling at you. Maybe they're booing there. There was an incident where they were throwing fake money down. I'm thinking that time in Seattle after you'd signed for Dallas, I think, it was. How do you block that stuff out and perform? Or do you not bother blocking it out and you do something else? Are you using it somehow?
[00:38:43] A-Rod: You know, I think growing up and watching thousands of baseball games ever since I can remember. And just being a fanatic about sports. And you look at Michael Jordan and Greg Norman and Magic and Bird, Pat Riley, Tiger Woods, all the great ones, they usually have one thing in common and they had this incredible zen approach that you just could not get inside their brain. You couldn't get in their skin. They wouldn't overreact. No matter how crazy things were, they were always very calm and present. So that's something that I took very early on. I had a coach in high school by the name of Rich Hoffman, very much like John Wooden. You know, I spent over 35 years at Westminster with over 20 players in the major league and he was the same way. And that's something I always wanted to do. Like no matter what came around me, no matter how crazy things got, I always wanted to be levelheaded and very calm.
[00:39:45] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:39:45] A-Rod: Kind of the calm before the storm.
[00:39:49] Jordan Harbinger: That seems really important, especially because I was reading the past media in prep for this and it was like, the press was so hot and cold as with a lot of celebrities and athletes. You know, one day you're loved and the papers are fawning over you. And then the next day, it's like a fraud, right? Or two weeks, a week later, because of the news cycle. And it seems like a lot of pressure, that could lead to really bad choices, bad behavior. I would have a very hard time dealing with that sort of scrutiny and super high expectations because you actually can't win. They don't want you to win. They want you to—
[00:40:19] A-Rod: Mm-hmm.
[00:40:19] Jordan Harbinger: —hit the front page of the tabloids. I'm wondering if you're surprised that things didn't go off the rails maybe worse than they did, because you've taken a lot of flack in public, but it seems like things could have been much worse.
[00:40:31] A-Rod: Yeah. Look, I think you said it best. Like you've seen a little bit of my history and we've talked about it here in the past hour, dad left when I was 10, I was drafted you know, number one at 17. I have the largest contract in the history of the game at 24.
[00:40:46] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:40:46] A-Rod: We did that again at 32. And along the way, there was a lot of ups, a lot of downs, a lot of uglies. What I got myself, I think cut up in, you know, I started as Alex Rodriguez and somewhere along the way, I lost my way and became A-Rod. Sometime after my suspension, I'm back to being Alex again. And I think that's something that we have to watch, right? When you have a young teenager that becomes, you know, you give him a million and then someone earns a quarter of billion dollars, I just don't know what I would be able tell myself at 21 to prepare for that. Even what I know now, I think there's some embedded learning lessons that you have. And quite honestly, I wish I had a dad that would call me on my bullsh*t and, you know, slap me around a little bit and put me in shape, right? Like sometimes, you need a little good kick in the butt from my dad, if he was there.
[00:41:41] Jordan Harbinger: The only one that you'll listen to. Yeah.
[00:41:43] A-Rod: Probably, right, and I think that was interesting. It is important that I took myself a little bit, I would say, a lot too seriously. At the end of the day, Jordan, you realize that you're just playing a game and you're one of the luckiest people in the world. And finally, when I serve my suspension, towards the later, later days of my career, I had that whole year and I dove it to therapy. I came clean as a result. I got a lot of help turning the lens inward with Dr. David who in ways saved my life. And when I came out that on the other side — and I didn't know if I would come out in the other side — I understood that it wasn't that serious. I introduced levity into my life.
[00:42:31] And pre-suspension, I thought about winning as big contracts and home runs and world championships and post-suspension, it look differently. It look, you know, being a good teammate, being a good father, being able to have a balanced life, and having others around me win in a big way, just as much as me. So when I look back at my suspension, in my darkest hour, I think that while it was the toughest thing I went through in my life and dad leaving at 10, I think that's going to be one of the greatest assets of my back out of my life because it allows me to connect with people at a much higher, deeper level. And the lessons learned through my incredible mistakes, I'm able to share with the next generation, starting with my daughters. And hopefully, if one or two people in the world can avoid the mistakes that I made by me talking to them, leading with my mistakes, then it was a process that was worth it.
[00:43:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I want to talk about the therapy in a second here, but I do wonder, I mean, having gone through all that therapy and building that self-awareness, that only therapy can bring, do you think now that some of your patterns say with women come from your father or your experience or with your dad leaving and things like that? Because I know, look, everyone knows you had this thing with like Madonna back in the day. And I wonder at the time were you like, "Oh man, I'm doing the same thing to my kids that my dad did to me, except in the spotlight."
[00:44:01] A-Rod: No, I think it's completely differently. I mean, I've never, ever for one minute, not been there for my kids, for my daughters. You know, my best in the world is Cynthia Rodriguez while she's married to a great guy, Angel, and they have a new baby girl that's four years old, Cami. We all travel together. They come over to my house a couple of times a month to have dinner with the seven of us.
[00:44:24] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, that's a crew.
[00:44:26] A-Rod: Yeah. That's a crew, right, and I love it. And we traveled together on the plane. We've been to Michigan twice to visit colleges for Natasha.
[00:44:33] Jordan Harbinger: Which is she going to U of M, going to go to Ann Arbor?
[00:44:35] A-Rod: That's one of her choices. That's one of her choices. She's looking at that and Princeton, Yale, NYU.
[00:44:40] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, okay.
[00:44:40] A-Rod: I mean, she has an econ kind of mind, but she also wants to do Broadway and drama, so—
[00:44:47] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, wow.
[00:44:47] A-Rod: Michigan and Yale have good programs there. Jordan, just to really clarify that. The one thing is I've never buckled once when it comes to being a father, my responsibility has always been on point. So nothing like my father. Now, once I got divorced from Cynthia, I was a single guy, right?
[00:45:01] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:45:01] A-Rod: I'm able to do things and that's kosher.
[00:45:04] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's funny, you should use the word kosher because Madonna had that Kabbalah thing and I was like, is Alex Rodriguez Jewish now? You know, like, I don't know, how does that work?
[00:45:14] A-Rod: I love all my friends.
[00:45:15] Jordan Harbinger: Look from personal experience here, being Jewish, not a bad move in the business you're in, sports, showbiz, real estate.
[00:45:21] A-Rod: Listen, some of my most incredible friends are Jewish. They're the best people in the world. And you know what, one of the reasons why I bond so well with the Jewish community is I see that familia first, right? And Latinos were the same way. One of the things that I've learned from a lot of, I call them, my rabbis, right? My mentors—
[00:45:38] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:45:38] A-Rod: —is how wonderful they are with their families. How great husbands they are, fathers — they can be a really tough business but man, are they the greatest family people. And that's something that I've always admired.
[00:45:49] Jordan Harbinger: Kabbalah has this thing where you wear like a piece of white wool dyed red, right? You know about this? Because I know you used to have one. People say that's supposed to keep negative outside influence away from you. I assume you were worried about negative outside influence working its way inside your head at that point in your life.
[00:46:05] A-Rod: Yeah. Look, again, I took things too seriously at one point. I really believe if you do the right things and you say what you do and do what you say, whether there's the red string or you want to take a bath in the ocean. I believe in kind of the third eye, protection of energy, protecting your family, wishing others well, and not being judgmental. I mean, what's great about Kabbalah is not really a religion. It's really a philosophy. I grew up Christian and Catholic, very conservative background here in Miami and I don't judge. I try to learn from everybody and move on.
[00:46:37] Jordan Harbinger: Speaking of moving on, right? Unfortunately, there's this like PED use that sort of lurks in every story that you look up about Alex Rodriguez. Is it the longest suspension, I think, in the MLB history? At least at the time, a full season. And so forgive the simplistic question. You get caught using, I guess, for people who don't know what PEDs are, performance-enhancing drugs, right? Steroids, to keep it simple, dumb question, of course, and simplistic but how did that hit? You know, how do you begin to recover after you've let down fans, friends, family, your mother, your kids? Like where do you begin in that process?
[00:47:12] A-Rod: Well, just to make it clear, a PED doesn't have to be a steroid, right?
[00:47:16] Jordan Harbinger: It can be — there's a larger category of things.
[00:47:18] A-Rod: But there's a huge, huge window from A to Z, right? That's kind of a whole science class.
[00:47:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:47:26] A-Rod: So, you know, again, somewhere along the way, I lost my way. One of the things that I found is that if you can't get out of bed and play, then stay in bed, right?
[00:47:37] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:47:37] A-Rod: There's no need to push. Ultimately, I learned a great deal from my mistakes and I've really learned the hard way that you're an average of the five people you surround yourself with. And part of being enough is that you don't have to overreach. And one of the most proud things of my career to the good, the bad, and the ugly is that I had the best two years of my career, of a 23-year major league career. My first year where I won a batting title at 19, 20 in 1996 and I was a few points away from winning the MVP from Juan Gonzales and my last year, as a broken down 40, 41-year-old where I led the team at home runs and helped the team get back into playoffs. So whatever you want to say in the middle, the fact that as a skinny 19, 20-year-old, I was really, really good. Closing my career as a washed-up 40, 41-year-old—
[00:48:35] Jordan Harbinger: That cuts deep, man. I'm 42, easy buddy.
[00:48:38] A-Rod: There you go. There you go. But I think those anchors, Jordan, at the end—
[00:48:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:48:43] A-Rod: —are really, really important regardless of what happens in my career and where I end up, for me personally, that thing about being enough, you know, to be able to hit 33 home runs and lead the team back into the postseason as a 40, 41-year-old is something that I'm really proud. And then to retire in front of the greatest fans in the world in New York, on August 12th, 2016 in front of my mom, my daughters, and probably a hundred friends and family from around the world that came to see. And to walk off Yankee Stadium with all my highs and lows, I left as a world champion. I left with my head up. And I left with my daughters in my arms.
[00:49:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That's a healthy way to look at this. And it seems like Dr. David has helped you get there, right? Because going from people chasing you to give you what 300 million or whatever, and then there's this scandal that you're like, you know, damn you said in another interview, "People wouldn't even return my emails. And it was heartbreaking because I did it to myself." This may be ridiculous, but do you look back on that with any sort of gratitude? Like, did it bring you down to earth at all? And it shows you who you are and you get a chance to put the train back on the tracks.
[00:49:50] A-Rod: I wish it brought me back down to earth. It took me like 7500 feet under I was in the Mariana Trench somewhere, but it was dark, but you know what? I never forget the early days when we barely had enough money to pay the rent. I don't ever forget being suspended in my darkest hour, not getting emails returned. And you know, today doing things when you wake up and doing the right things and not worrying what is going to be portrayed to the media, but really focusing on surrounding yourself with the best people and making good decisions and staying in the middle of the field and everything that you do — you know, as you get older, you don't see the sidelines very well. So it's better to stay right down the middle of the field.
[00:50:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:50:34] A-Rod: And it's just a great way for me to live. And I never forget every day. I think about how it was in 14 in my dark hour when I couldn't get those emails returned. And it keeps me humble and it keeps me grounded. And I'm more grateful today than ever. And I'm having more fun today with my team here at A-Rod Corp and growing the company like we are. And it's an exciting time. I feel grateful. And also to create opportunities for young people that are going to create great wealth in our company. And through that, we're going to give back as we have in the community where we've put over 40 kids through college at the University of Miami first-generation immigrants. And we've done a lot also with the Boys & Girls Clubs and we continue to do so.
[00:51:16] Jordan Harbinger: I know you did intensive 10-hour-a-day therapy. That sounds extremely difficult. Making through an hour of therapy is a thing. 10 hours a day is — I don't know what's harder than that.
[00:51:27] A-Rod: Me neither.
[00:51:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Okay.
[00:51:29] A-Rod: And it wasn't 10 hours. We would show up around — we would start tea time in the couch in Evergreen, Colorado in a beautiful town in the middle of nowhere. We would tee off the therapy at nine o'clock in the morning and go to 5:00 p.m.
[00:51:47] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Nearly eight hours then.
[00:51:50] A-Rod: With no lunch break, with no lunch break. And then my homework was to go walk in the snow by myself for two hours and think, and then write in journal. You know, this went on for a very, very long time. And again, going back to the suspension, if they gave me a slap on the wrist, and I was hoping that I got, you know, 50 or 60 games and I didn't, I got the entire 162 as you said, the longest suspension of major league baseball history. And that became, the length of it became my greatest asset. Because I was able to go back and really kind of rebuild a house from ground zero.
[00:52:27] Jordan Harbinger: I heard you say, "I was my own worst enemy," but it has to be — and I don't want to excuse anything, of course, and I know you wouldn't either, but it's got to be tough to find blind spots when you're that successful, especially that early in your life because nobody wants to tell you anything that you don't want to hear.
[00:52:43] A-Rod: You're hundred percent right. The first time that Coach Hoffman told me that I was going to be the number one pick in another three years was as a 14-year-old when I was at Westminster Christian for the first day. And I looked behind me and I said, "Are you talking to me?" I was pretty average my freshman year and I was just transferring to Westminster. But how you address those blind spots is by surrounding yourself with people that are going to be real with you.
[00:53:13] And it goes back to breakfast club with my girls when Natasha and Ella say something that sounds a little slippery, we stop right there. And we say, that just sounds like you're full of — you know what.
[00:53:20] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:21] A-Rod: Tell me again. And then they'll try, maybe three or four times. And we will not leave until it sounds solid. And then by the end, they'll say, "Okay, daddy, you know, I really, I just screwed up." And I said, "Now put a period there. Now that's what solid sounds like."
[00:53:36] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:37] A-Rod: "Not the three-minute explanation that you gave me that everybody's this and that. And the reason why I know that is because that was me, but I didn't have anybody to sit with me and say, 'You sound like you're full of sh*t.'" And early on, I didn't understand why people would say, well, he sounds like he's disingenuous.
[00:53:52] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:53] A-Rod: He's full of sh*t. It's because I was trying to say something that was appealing to everybody. And if you ask me the same question now, I say, "Jordan, I just f*cked up."
[00:54:07] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:54:07] A-Rod: And I put a period and end of story. And you become more believable and more genuine and you're not trying to please people you're trying to please yourself and be yourself.
[00:54:16] Jordan Harbinger: Alex, thank you so much, man. I know this was not the easiest interview you've ever done. I'm not famous for coaches' pitch questions to beat up a baseball metaphor. And look, I appreciate your time and your candor here because you could have BS your way through this, speaking of BS, but you chose not to. And I think that's pretty admirable, man.
[00:54:32] A-Rod: Thank you very much. Good questions. Good preparation.
[00:54:36] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you.
[00:54:38] I've got some thoughts on this episode, but before I get into that, here's a trailer from my interview with Laila Ali, daughter of legendary boxer, Muhammad Ali. She's got a great story about how she ended up the only other boxer in her family and how she carries her father's legacy. Whether you're into sports or not, I think you're really going to dig it.
[00:54:58] Laila Ali: You have to have it in you to want to be a fighter. It's not something that you just go, "Oh, I think I'll just try boxing," you know? Because you're going to get your ass beaten. If you don't have it in you, when you get that opportunity, it was a brawl. I mean, it was bloody. It was like crazy. And I was like, "I want to do that."
[00:55:12] You would think anyone punching you would hurt, right?
[00:55:14] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Sure.
[00:55:14] Laila Ali: But as fighters, it's like, "Oh, that person can punch. That person can't." You tap in, you tap, tap, tap. And then every once in a while that bam. That hard one. Oh, okay, I felt that. If you're listening to your camp saying, she's nothing, is she this or she that, and then you have to get your ass in there and then you feel that punch like, "No, she can punch. No, she's not just a pretty face." You see me across that ring, looking at you, like, "Yeah. Remember all that stuff you talk. Now it's about to happen. It's just me and you. Nobody else can get in there with you," you know? And it's like, "I'm going to remind you of all the things you said." They didn't know that street side of me. Not everyone has that. You don't have to.
[00:55:41] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:55:41] Laila Ali: But I do. Now, you get to meet someone, just to see how they walk, see how they hold this stuff and see if there's any fear in their eyes.
[00:55:47] Jordan Harbinger: What was your father's reaction to you wanting to box?
[00:55:49] Laila Ali: He didn't like it.
[00:55:50] Jordan Harbinger: No?
[00:55:51] Laila Ali: No.
[00:55:51] Jordan Harbinger: You guys were sparring before you even put the gloves on.
[00:55:53] Laila Ali: Oh yeah. He supported me, though. He came to a lot of my fights. He couldn't be at all of them. I could always see that glare in his eyes of him being proud and just to come into that arena and having everyone chanting, "Ali, Ali," and you just see him light up to see me in that ring and him just remembering himself. Our boxing styles were similar. The way I'm shaped, my body shape, so just seeing all of that had to be a super crazy experience for him.
[00:56:16] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Leila Ali, check out episode number 309 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:56:23] Hey, as I said in the show open, this conversation and Alex himself surprised me in a few ways. He is or was known for being good at misdirection, especially in press communications during the Yankee days. Frankly, I expected him to do a bit more of that and he was really candid in a way I didn't expect in at least most of this interview. I think it's probably a relief to finally be able to be yourself after so many years of putting on a front. And also to know that being yourself isn't going to lead you or your family down the wrong path.
[00:56:54] Big thanks once again to Alex Rodriguez. Links to all things we discussed will be in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com. Please use our website links if you buy books from any guests on the show, it does help support the show. Transcripts are in the show notes, videos up on YouTube. Advertisers, deals, discount codes, they're all in one place, all in one searchable place at jordanharbinger.com/deals. Again, please consider supporting those who support this show. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn.
[00:57:23] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people using software, systems, and tiny habits, the same stuff I use every day. That's all free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig that well before you get thirsty folks. Most of the guests that you hear on the show, they subscribe to the course. They contribute to that course. So come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[00:57:43] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends and he finds something useful or interesting. If you know a huge sports fan or somebody who's interested in conversations, just like this, share this episode with them. The greatest compliment you can give us is to share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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