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PEOPLE HATE HIM. Boy, wow, do they hate him. At first they loved him, and then they were confused by him, and then they were irritated by him, and now they straight-up loathe.

More often than not, the mention of Alex Rodriguez in polite company triggers one of a spectrum of deeply conditioned responses. Pained ugh. Guttural groan. Exaggerated eye roll. Hundreds of baseball players have been caught using steroids, including some of the game’s best-known and most beloved names, but somehow Alex Rodriguez has become the steroid era’s Lord Voldemort. Ryan Braun? Won an MVP, got busted for steroids, twice, called the tester an anti-Semite, lied his testes off, made chumps of his best friends, including Aaron Rodgers, and still doesn’t inspire a scintilla of the ill will that follows Rodriguez around like a nuclear cloud.

from The Education of Alex Rodriquez by J.R. Moehringer

If you don’t know the name or writing of J.R. Moehringer, you’re in for a treat. He won a Pulitzer Prize for feature newspaper writing in 2000 and at least two of his books over the past few years have been among my favorite reads of the year(s): The Tender Bar, a wonderful memoir of Moehringer’s own growing up and Open, the most honest and most informative sports memoir (about Andre Agassi) I’ve ever read. (Agassi’s name is on the cover of the book, but Moehringer wrote it). He also wrote what I think was the best tribute to Derek Jeter in his ESPN article The Final Walk Off.

If you do know of him, then know that he has once again produced an article that goes beyond what all other writers have produced about a current story in the news – A-Rod’s return to baseball after his 162 game suspension.

I know. I know.

If you’re a Yankee fan, you just want A-Rod to go away (unless, of course, he can regain what he once had).

If you’re a Sox fan, you want him to come back, mess up the Yankees, and end his career in (further) disgrace (despite the fact that your beloved Sox wanted him on their team and almost had him) .

For the rest of you, you probably don’t care what happens to him and just want to focus on your favorite team and the 2015 MLB season.

But if you appreciate superb reporting and wonderful writing, take the time to read the lengthy piece Moehringer just authored in ESPN The Magazine, entitled The Education of Alex Rodriquez.

It’s different from anything else you’ve read about A-Rod, particularly as to what has happened to him over the last year.

It’s worth your time and attention.