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Alex Rodriguez walks away from Yankees after win over Rays

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For a night, he was a conquering hero walking away in glory.

For his career, he was a controversial figure who played in scandal.

It is up to the historians now. Alex Rodriguez has walked away from the game, and the Yankees, and the headlines that plagued him throughout his career. Was he a great Yankee, as the numbers suggest? Was he a cheater, as his history suggests? Either way, we will have eternity to debate it.

Rodriguez, 40, played his final game Friday night, adding an RBI double in the New York Yankees 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. His final batting average was .200, and the decision to part ways was that of the Yankees. But one by one A-Rod’s teammates embraced him, and at the end, they chanted his name. They piped in “New York, New York.” They sent him out to third base in the ninth.

For a moment, no one mentioned steroids or suspensions.

“It was so awesome,” Rodriguez said on Fox TV. “I want to thank Joe (Girardi, the Yankees manager). That was quite a moment. It was pretty overwhelming.”

Rodriguez, still four home runs short of 700, would not discuss playing for another team.

In his last game as a Yankee, however, the team scored the game’s last three runs to beat the Rays and Chris Archer (6-16). Archer lasted six innings but gave up five runs, including a tiebreaking home run to Starling Castro.

For the Rays, Evan Longoria had two of the team’s four hits, including a home run and a run-scoring single.

A-Rod leaves the game as the all-time home run leader against the Rays with 56. Forty of those came as a Yankee. His 233 hits are tied for second with David Ortiz behind Derek Jeter (317).

The Rays are 46-67 on the season. Today, Matt Andriese pitches against Masahiro Tanaka.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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