From the Boston Globe:
The Streak is now more than a decade old, but few know about it, and Alex Rodriguez isn’t talking about it.
For the last 1,560 or so games, the Yankees star has received help from a mental performance coach before every game.
”I don’t talk about Jim, so, if you have any other questions?” says A-Rod earlier this month about Jim Fannin, who calls himself America’s ZoneCoach.
But the reigning American League MVP has written glowingly about him.
In 2005, Fannin authored a book, ”S.C.O.R.E. for Life,” which proclaims to be ”The Secret Formula for Thinking Like a Champion.” The acronym stands for self-discipline, concentration, optimism, relaxation, and enjoyment. Rodriguez penned the foreword.
”Jim has either left me a phone message or spoken to me in person or on the phone for every game of my career [since April 1996],” writes Rodriguez. ”Every game.”
Just about this time, last year, we learned about A-Rod’s therapy sessions. And, now we hear about these daily calls to 1-800-PEP-TALK.
Now, I’m not knocking Alex for seeking help. It’s good when someone knows that they need help – and then goes out to get it. It’s better than good – it’s great.
But, hearing all this, over the last year, I do have to wonder: Is New York the best place for Alex to play, given his (now obvious) need for continuous therapeutic intervention (and such)?
Yes, we learned last season that Rodriguez can succeed in New York. But, at what price? Maybe he would be happier to play for a team like the Rangers or the Braves? Maybe he will not be able to always produce like he did in 2005 because of the constant need to battle through what New York brings?
Recently, I heard it from someone who said that they heard it from a source in the Yankees front office – and, yes, I know that things can get mangled in such a game of “telephone” – that the front office’s impression of A-Rod is that he’s a, well, let’s just say “little kitty cat.”
This label could be the “macho” reaction to the fact that A-Rod does seem to require so much mental maintenance. But, I have to wonder, if this is the perception of the Yankees, would they consider dealing Alex out of town (if they had the right offer)?
Granted, the market for a player at Rodriguez’ pay scale is limited. It’s somewhat the same (now) as when the Red Sox tried to move Manny.
There is a clause, reportedly, in A-Rod’s contract that allows him to terminate the deal after 2007, 2008 or 2009. Maybe that’s the way out for all concerned – reach a settlement after next year that allows Alex to walk in exchange for a lump sum payment? (Just imagine the stroke that the MLBPA would have over this one.)
In any event, bottom line, the more that I hear about Alex, and the more that I think about it, the more I want to say that getting out of New York might be the best thing for him and the Yankees. At least, that’s the thought for now.