Alex Rodriguez is currently serving a 162-game suspension from Major League Baseball for violating drug policy, but even though he’s 39 years old, he has every intention of making his way back to Yankee Stadium in 2015, if only to collect his more than $20 million per season salary. But though he’s won two Most Valuable Players as a Yankee and helped them win the 2009 World Series, Rodriguez’s infamy will likely prevent him from ever being considered an all-time Yankee.
Just look at the new animated movie Henry & Me, which tells the story of a cancer-stricken 11-year-old Yankees fan who magically finds himself in a field of dreams that features pinstriped legends from the past and present. (See the trailer below.) Richard Gere voices the title role of Henry, and Chazz Palminteri gives life to Babe Ruth. Initially, Rodriguez was slated to play a heroic role in the film and the All-Star provided his voice. But in light of his suspension, the filmmakers made some last-minute changes and replaced him with former Yankees slugger Hideki Matsui. (Rodriguez’s likeness remains in a few quick scenes.)
“The film Henry & Me has been a passion project for all involved since 2009,” producer Joe Avallone said in a statement. “Its message of hope in the face of insurmountable odds—as told through the fantastical story of a young boy who goes on a magical journey with the New York Yankees—features, among A-list Hollywood talent, a collection of real-life Yankees, past and present, lending their voices and their spirits to this heartwarming tale. In 2009, Alex Rodriguez accepted an offer to participate in the film, in part, as a way to rehabilitate his image after his first bout with controversy surrounding performance enhancing drugs. When it became clear in summer 2013 that Rodriguez’s commitment to that rehabilitation was not entirely genuine, the film’s producers made the costly and time-consuming, but absolutely essential, decision to remove his voice performance from the final cut in an effort to preserve all of the goodwill that went into making this film—including the work of our charity partners. Henry & Me is family entertainment first and foremost, and we look forward to children, their parents, and sports fans across the country and around the world discovering the film when it premieres on DVD and digital download this fall.”
Henry & Me, which also features the voices of Cyndi Lauper, Lucie Arnaz, and Paul Simon, as well as famous Yankees Mariano Rivera, Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra, Jorge Posada, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Joe Girardi, and co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner, will have its world premiere in New York on Aug. 18. It will debut on DVD and digital on Sept. 9.