Sophomore Alex Rodgriguez zooms through the MSD baseball season

Sophia Golberg, Section editor

Athletic ability varies from athlete to athlete. Through their level of dedication and natural strengths, athletes learn to distinguish themselves from each other. The most successful athletes work hard enough to stand out from their peers. This is exactly what Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sophomore Alex Rodriguez has come to achieve.

Alex Rodriguez, outfielder for the MSD varsity baseball team and dedicated student, has gained recognition from baseball team coach Todd Fitz-Gerald and his peers for being the fastest player on the team. His exceptional speed has made him an essential asset to the incredibly successful team.

Rodriguez began playing baseball at just five years old. Playing alongside other kids in the Pompano Beach Pony League, he was eager to get on the field from day one.

He then went on to play football for Deerfield Middle School, as well as running for the school’s track and cross country teams. At the time, the school did not have a baseball team. Although this seemed like a major setback for Rodriguez at the time, it allowed him to learn a series of running strategies that he now uses to excel in baseball. Some of these tips are not taught as in detail as they are in sports dedicated to strictly running. This eventually gave Rodriguez an advantage when he began baseball again at MSD.

“I think running in middle school really helped me advance as a runner and learn things that I wouldn’t have learned if I had only played baseball,” Rodriguez said.

With a mile time of 5 minutes and 50 seconds, Rodriguez has worked hard to become not only a great baseball player, but a great runner as well.

Rodriguez’s importance to the team evidently comes from his speed, a skill that many successful players have mastered. In the outfield, faster players can cover more area during a given time. This allows faster players to make more plays, resulting in fewer hits for the opposition. In the infield, faster players may also be able to make more plays than slower players, improving a team’s defensive scores. In simpler terms, speed can make an individual player better and therefore improve a team’s overall performance on the field.

“I call him the fastest man on the planet,” Fitz-Gerald said. “He’s like Superman.”

In order to continue to maintain and develop his skills as an athlete, Rodriguez lifts weights two to three times a week, often with his teammates. He also practices with the team twice a week and additionally attends games against other schools twice a week.

“I always make sure to stay active throughout the week even when not playing baseball,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez also credits his teammates for his performance during games. The team makes sure to keep each other focused and calm before playing.

“We all keep each other focused on the game,” Rodriguez said. “We don’t talk about anything else until the game is completely over.”

Christian Rodriguez, his teammate and cousin, acknowledges his skills and dedication to the team.

“It’s huge having someone we can trust to track down every ball and steal a bag when we need it,” C. Rodriguez said.

Furthermore, Rodriguez would consider baseball his family’s sport. With so many of his immediate relatives involved, his family bonds over the activity and motivates each other to participate.

“My dad, brother, and three of my cousins play baseball,” Rodriguez said. “It sounds cliche, but I really feel like I was born to play.”

Rodriguez has always made school and athletics his top priority. He hopes that his dedication will someday bring him to play baseball professionally.

“There’s no secret,” Rodriguez said. “If you dedicate your time and energy, you can be successful at anything.”

The baseball season is set to restart in the spring of 2022. Rodriguez as well as the rest of the team looks forward to competing against other schools in the months to come.