Seton Hall’s Center for Sports Media hit a home run with its first official event on Monday, as Alex Rodriguez spent the day at the university’s South Orange campus.
The former Yankees, Rangers and Mariners slugger joined Seton Hall alumni Bob Ley and Bardia Shah-Rais for a wide-ranging conversation that covered Rodriguez’s baseball career and his more recent business and media ventures, among other topics. Ley recently retired after working at ESPN for decades, while Shah-Rais is the vice president of production at Fox Sports. Rodriguez has worked for both companies as a broadcaster since retiring from Major League Baseball in 2016.
Rodriguez, wearing a navy pinstriped suit that resembled his most recent playing attire, was introduced to a crowd of a few hundred people following a student-produced hype video.
“That video was awesome,” Rodriguez said upon taking the stage. He proceeded to shout out the three students who made the clip. “I want to use that video when I travel the globe giving speeches. There must be a royalty that must come your way. Don’t let Bob and Bardi take 10 percent.”
Join the livestream NOW of the Center for Sports Media's presentation of Alex Rodriguez: Beyond Baseball, a wide-ranging conversation with 14-time MLB All-Star Alex Rodriguez with Bob Ley '76 and Bardia Shah-Rais '95. https://t.co/6BjUhyntVB
— Seton Hall (@SetonHall) April 4, 2022
Rodriquez entertained the large group from 1 pm-2:30 pm. Much of the conversation centered on his diamond exploits and general issues facing baseball, but the 46-year-old also delved into his post-retirement life. Rodriguez now devotes a great deal of time to A-Rod Corp, a broad-based investment firm that he founded in 1995, among other businesses and broadcasting. In 2021, he also joined the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx ownership group.
With those experiences under his belt, Rodriguez was sure to share business advice with those listening.
“The only way you get better is you gotta get at-bats,” the 2009 World Series winner and three-time MVP said, using an apt analogy. “You can’t read about it. You gotta play, you gotta get at-bats.”
For all of Rodriguez’s obligations these days, his focus was Seton Hall on Monday. He took questions from the crowd during the main event, spent around five total hours on campus and met with three small groups of students, a set-up he requested.
“He’s not a guy that’s going to do anything he doesn’t want to do,” Shah-Rais, whose close relationship with Rodriguez helped spur the event, told New Jersey Monthly. “He has a real affinity for speaking with students.”
Ley, meanwhile, pointed out that Rodriguez’s visit didn’t cost Seton Hall a penny. The long-time Outside the Lines host also noted that Rodriguez came prepared, asking prep questions about The Hall.
“Alex is all in. He did his homework ahead of time on the university. You [could] hear a pin drop here for an hour when he’s speaking to 300, 400 people,” Ley told us. “He’s an unmitigated success in business and the baseball issues and stories speak for themselves. We alluded to some of them today; we didn’t have a chance to get to everything.”
Rodriguez’s seminar only briefly acknowledged some of the controversies he created during a playing career that nearly saw him hit 700 home runs. A lightning rod throughout his 22 big league seasons, Rodriguez most notably stained what was statistically a sure-fire Hall of Fame career with multiple ties to performance-enhancing drugs. While Rodriguez declined to chat with media in attendance, Ley said that he talked openly about his life before and after his record-setting PED suspension during his first small group session with students.
“He feels that he’s been able to start from ground zero and build a new foundation as a father, as a businessman,” Ley added. “All I can judge are my interactions, and I say this is a guy that has given a lot to a lot of people today.”
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