I’ve been unplugged to the Yankees scene for the last nine hours – thereabouts – since the news broke on A-Rod’s press conference today.
I had the brakes done on my car. We took the kids clothes shopping. There was a quick stop to the supermarket. We went out to dinner. Once we got back home and the kids went to bed, I watched Prison Break.
Being busy, there was no time to reflect on the news of the day in Yankeeland. But, now, I can focus on what happened.
Thinking about it, I cannot buy into the notion (that some have) where Alex Rodriguez should be applauded today for being “honest” and “unscripted,” etc. His disclosure in this press conference today was totally calculated, in my opinion. Here’s what A-Rod is probably thinking:
I’ve lived with this “relationship” (or lack thereof) for three years now and I want try and shake it up. If I “out” it, then, one of two things will happen. Either way, by “me” coming out with it, now Jeter is in the spotlight. I served it up and it’s his turn to volley.
As team “captain,” Jeter should choose to make “it” go away (by forgiving me for the Esquire thing and loving me again). This way, I’m the hero by giving “it” up and getting the ball rolling towards making a change.
Or, if Jeter wants to remain “thick” about it, then the spotlight will continue to burn on him – since I’ve disclosed “it” and now he’s taken no action or made further bad moves. This way, he’s the bad guy and I’m the martyred victim. Again, I look good.
Don’t get me wrong, Derek Jeter is not without fault in this issue. Jeter, post-Esquire, is clearly playing “Michael” to A-Rod’s “Fredo.” And, once Alex joined the Yankees, Jeter should have probably let it drop.
Nonetheless, with today’s move, Alex Rodriguez threw Jeter under the bus. In Tampa tomorrow, Derek Jeter is going to have a very bad day with the media and it’s all because A-Rod decided to break this news on the very first day that he arrived to camp.
Alex could have disclosed this to the press at several points this off-season. And, that way, it would have been old news come camp-time (and not be a team distraction).
But, Rodriguez held it until his first day in camp. Why? It was the biggest bang for his buck in terms of media coverage. And, again, the more media, the bigger the spotlight created and the more pressure on Jeter to respond or deal with what happens if he does nothing.
This move today was all about A-Rod trying to make A-Rod look better. It was not an effort taken solely with the aim to be honest. It’s another “A-Rod Corp” PR-move. The only thing different this time, as compared to his Yankees past to date, is that Alex is actually trying to make himself look good by making someone else’s life uncomfortable – meaning Jeter.
If you think about it, tying back to the Michael and Fredo reference, the whole thing between A-Rod and Jeter does somewhat read like a Mario Puzo novel up to a point.
A-Rod rips his buddy Jeter in Esquire. (Like Fredo tried to kill his brother Michael.) In response, Jeter cools towards A-Rod – making his life tough in New York. (Like when Michael disowned Fredo.)
I’m guessing that Alex read Puzo’s book (or saw Francis Ford Coppola’s movie) and knows what happened to Fredo in the end. So, seeing the parallel between fiction and his own situation with Jeter, he thought, “Screw this, I’m not going to just sail out on to Lake Tahoe and take my chances, I’m going back on the offensive – when I get down to Spring Training, I’m going to make this Jeter’s problem and not my problem.”
Stone, cold, and calculated.
Of course, maybe his agent and/or wife came up with the idea for A-Rod? That’s very possible.
And, I would bet that Jeter is seeking counsel with his trusted mentors at this moment as well. And, again, thanks to A-Rod, “this” story will continue tomorrow at Camp Jeter…
A simple game of self-respect.
You flick a switch and the world goes off.
Nobody jumps as you expect.
I would have thought you would have had enough by now.