‘A-Rod’ Bodega Suffers Ridicule by Association

Ricardo "Ricky" Rodriguez owns A-Rod Grocery, now the target of jokes and ridicule. (Photo via El Diario-La Prensa)

Ricardo (Ricky) Rodríguez owns A-Rod Grocery, now the target of jokes and ridicule. (Photo via El Diario-La Prensa)

In the area around Waverly and Washington Avenues in Brooklyn, a peculiar bodega stands out for its name, once powerful and celebrated. But in recent days, longtime customers have suggested to the owner a new identity.

Ricardo (Ricky) Rodríguez, the owner of A-Rod Grocery, has had to endure an avalanche of complaints and jokes from patrons and friends.

The Clinton Hill bodega was named in honor of Alex Rodríguez, the star third baseman of the New York Yankees who was the youngest player to hit 500 home runs, breaking the 1939 record of the celebrated Jimmie Foxx, and the youngest to arrive at 600, surpassing baseball legend Babe Ruth.

The batter’s brilliant career has been tarnished after he was suspended from playing in 211 major league games following an investigation into the Biogenesis clinic, which was accused of distributing banned substances and of which the player was a client.

“We’re thinking of changing the name because we can’t take so much outcry from the neighbors,” said Rodríguez (no relation to the player). “It’s been 12 years since the bodega is called A-Rod. Back then, the batter was a source of pride for Dominican fans, nobody would have imagined the downfall of the star.”

Before its current name, the bodega which has been four decades in the neighborhood, was called Peña Grocery.

“We still don’t know what to call the bodega, but it’s a fact that some customers are steaming about it, although they continue to buy here because of our history in Clinton Hill,” said Rodríguez, who was also a faithful follower of Dominican pitcher Pedro Martínez.

Rodríguez admitted he was disappointed by A-Rod’s behavior, but acknowledged his natural-born talent.

Employee Gerardo Domínguez said the former Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers player is a bad example for young people aspiring to make headway in the sport.

“Everyone who works in this store loves baseball, and we used to believe in the ethics of A-Rod. Without respect for the sport, talent is secondary,” he said.

The back part of the shop has a small photo gallery of Dominican baseball stars, and the basement has a TV room where the businessman and his employees enjoy games during breaks.

Customers give their two cents

Francisco Abreu, a customer, supported the idea of changing the bodega’s name due to the “stain” to the history of prominent baseball players of Dominican heritage.

“People shop here because the community is very fond of the store, but they no longer like the name so much,” Abreu said with a smile. “Fans walk by here, read A-Rod in those big blue letters and ask themselves what is this, who would think to do that?”

Residents said the name of the bodega isn’t important because Rodríguez and his employees are characterized by their friendliness and cheerful nature.

“Here in this neighborhood, we have what A-Rod can’t buy with his millions: a strong sense of respect and honesty,” said Lourdes Gana, a baseball fan.

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