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He's a proven liar, a repeated liar, and thus, as he prepares to emerge from the longest steroid-related suspension in the history of baseball, as he readies himself physically and mentally for his 21st spring training, there's tremendous interest in his story, but there's just no point in quoting him. Take a sentence from Rodriguez, set it between two quotation marks and watch what happens; it curdles like year-old milk.

The words become unstable, unusable, weirdly ironic.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the two dozen students turn and stare, their mouths hanging open. He keeps talking, and the students keep staring, and none of them can process what's happening, or what he's saying, because though he's sincerely trying to explain, to give a brief accounting of himself, he's totally failing to answer the only question running through their minds. Add to that windfall another 0 million worth of handsome, and people were just waiting.

What the hell is A-Rod doing in my marketing class? Like everything else in his life, it's complicated. Fans will root for a megarich athlete who's also ridiculously handsome (body by Rodin, skin like melted butterscotch, eyes of weaponized hazelness), but the minute he stumbles, just ask Tom Brady, they'll stand in line to kick him in his spongy balls. A-Rod brutally kidnapped and replaced the virginal, bilingual, biracial boy wonder, the chubby-cheeked phenom with nothing but upside. Dating Madonna -- of all his liaisons, the most dangereuse.

When asked how it all sounds to her ears, however, his friend frowns. He loves lists, makes them all the time, usually in one of his special yellow notebooks, and on this list he writes the names of people he must phone right away. He goes down the list, one by one, dialing his Black Berry with an unsteady hand.

He tells each person on his list that he's deeply sorry for all the drama he's caused, that he's determined to regain their trust and he hopes they'll give him that chance.

Editor's note: This story contains explicit language.

As part of the stories of the year collection, this piece is being resurfaced along with others in the coming days as ESPN Digital and Print Media closes out the year.

How many pills, creams or needles he used, how much those pills, creams or needles might have enhanced his already towering gifts, and to what lengths he went to conceal it -- these and other questions will be debated forever, and will never fully be resolved, but there's no longer any debate about Rodriguez's credibility.In fact, if the classroom were a diamond, he notices, by pure chance his seat would be the hot corner. The student beside him is finished speaking and the classroom is churchly quiet and he's up. 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. 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. Rodriguez was born with an embarrassment of physical riches -- power, vision, energy, size, speed -- and seemed designed specifically for immortality, as if assembled in some celestial workshop by baseball angels and the artists at Marvel Comics.At least by now everyone is so bored that no one bothers to turn around. 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. He then had the annoyingly immense good fortune to come of age at the exact moment baseball contracts were primed to explode.The professor points to a young woman down front, and she doesn't hesitate, she instantly shifts into filibuster mode, telling the class that she works at UPS, and that she hopes to one day earn her MBA, and that she wants to become a blah blah.There are two dozen students in the classroom, and one by one they follow her lead, serving up their micro memoirs, then tossing it to the next student, and the next.