Via Tyler Kepner -
Understand this: Torre is not being forthright with his explanation about the infamous A-Fraud reference on Page 245. In his publicity tour for the book, Torre has repeatedly explained that A-Fraud was something said right in front of Alex Rodriguez, by the coach Larry Bowa, a playful reference to whether he was going to play well that night and be A-Rod, or play poorly and be A-Fraud.
Here is the actual passage, as written by Torre and Tom Verducci: “Back in 2004, at first Rodriguez did his best to try to fit into the Yankee culture – his cloying, B-grade actor best. He slathered on the polish. People in the clubhouse, including teammates and support personnel, were calling him ‘A-Fraud’ behind his back.”
Players are being asked about the A-Fraud stuff as they trickle into Tampa for spring training or appear at public functions. Nobody has acknowledged that it’s true, which is not surprising. They will naturally support their teammate, and maybe they never heard the A-Fraud term precisely. But be aware that any Yankee who says he never heard anyone say anything negative about Rodriguez behind his back is either lying or totally oblivious.
If you spend time around the team as a beat writer, you hear stuff like that from Yankees personnel. You can’t write it because it’s understood to be off the record, but it’s there.
Do teammates like Alex now? Sure, plenty of them do. He helps them win a lot of games, and nobody questions how hard he works or how badly he wants to succeed. That is also conveyed in the book. But make no mistake: Torre is doing more than spinning now; he’s backtracking on the A-Fraud stuff to soften its impact.
This ties back into something that I wrote in May of 2006:
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.”
And, now, three years later, we’re still hearing it…there’s Yankees personnel out there who are not members of the A-Rod fan club. And, I wonder if it will always be that way?