Amy K. Nelson, at ESPN.com, tells us everything we ever wanted to know, or not, about A-Rod’s primo, Yuri Sucart. Some highlights:
A few years ago, Roger Ball called his good friend Yuri Sucart about getting tickets to a Texas Rangers game for a female friend. Sucart willingly helped Ball; he could, since his younger cousin was the team’s star shortstop. When the woman who would be picking up the tickets asked how she would recognize Sucart, Ball didn’t hesitate.
“He’s the Dominican Shrek,” Ball said. “Yuri looks like this big, mean thing coming at you, but he’s got the softest hands. … He’s sweet as a baby.”
Sucart might physically resemble Shrek, but in everyday life, he is more like the green ogre’s friend and companion, Donkey. For the past 16 years, Sucart has been Alex Rodriguez’s loyal lieutenant, a full-time assistant — and salaried employee — whose job has been to safeguard his cousin and devote himself, at times blindly, to whatever the superstar desires.
“He lives and breathes to please Alex,” one source close to both Sucart and Rodriguez says. “He seriously does whatever Alex tells him to do. He depends completely on Alex’s good nature.”
Sucart’s life, like his role with Rodriguez, is cloaked in mystery. Sucart declined to be interviewed for this story, and Rodriguez is declining to respond to non-baseball questions. But according to Ball, who’s known the family since the early ’90s, Sucart was born in 1962 and orphaned as an infant when his mother died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Lourdes Navarro, Rodriguez’s mother and the sister of Sucart’s mother, helped raise Sucart, according to Ball and family friends. It is unclear where Sucart lived when Navarro moved her family to New York, where her son Alex was born in 1975.
But when Rodriguez returned to the Dominican Republic for a few years in the early 1980s, the cousins became friendly; Sucart, 13 years Rodriguez’s senior, was more like an older brother, according to sources. Sucart attended college for a few years in the Dominican before leaving for the United States, always reminding friends that he wasn’t “a dummy.”
Ball lived in the west Kendall section of Miami when he first met Sucart at the Rodriguez house. The two became friends, and Ball watched as Sucart started his life as Rodriguez’s personal assistant in 1993, when Rodriguez was drafted No. 1 overall and then signed by the Seattle Mariners. Rodriguez had Sucart live with him in a two-bedroom apartment in downtown Seattle. Sucart took care of his cousin and received a salary that enabled him to provide for his family.
Sucart continued to stay with Rodriguez when Rodriguez went to Texas in 2001 after signing an unprecedented 10-year, $252 million deal. Although his role decreased when Rodriguez married Cynthia Scurtis in late 2002, Sucart remained a key person in his cousin’s life.
In the early years, sources say, the relationship was brotherly, and Sucart — whose first name is most often pronounced “Judy” — was Rodriguez’s friend and protector. But as Rodriguez experienced success in the big leagues, the dynamic with Sucart and the rest of Rodriguez’s family began to shift.
“As Alex’s star rose, his sense of entitlement grew,” says a source who once was close to Rodriguez. “Yuri, Alex’s brother [Joe Dunand] and others became more subservient. … Alex’s sense of entitlement combined with the rest’s lack of success on their own made them ‘yes men.’”
Sources say Sucart was chief among the “yes men.” Whatever Rodriguez asked for, Sucart scrambled to provide. Rodriguez needed a soda? Sucart fetched one. The shoes needed shining? Sucart was on it. When women wanted to cozy up to Rodriguez, they would climb on Sucart’s lap, trying to ply him with money and attention just to reach his rich, famous cousin, says a source who witnessed such scenes on numerous occasions.
“If Alex called at 3 in the morning and said, ‘Make me soup,’” Ball said, “Yuri would be there.”
It’s unclear what Sucart’s exact income is or has been, but friends say his compensation couldn’t be much. Sucart always seems, according to one friend, to “just be getting by.” The one-story house Sucart owns in Miami sits on a beautiful estate, but from the street, it looks to be in rugged shape. Friends say the house is “a dump.”
Sucart, though, is not a saint. He has had a reputation for not always following through on promises, whether it has been free tickets or signed memorabilia. Sucart often has left people hanging. But his reputation also is that of someone who never really seems to have a bad day, a fun person to party with who always is very social. When asked about her cousin, Rodriguez’s half-sister, Susy Dunand-Silva, said he’s “a great person” before adding that she could no longer speak to the media.
Somehow, I don’t think we’ll be seeing that Yuri Sucart Yankeeography any time soon…so, for now, this is a good source for more on A-Rod’s cuz.