Hey, if a fish can save Pittsburgh…via Tyler Kepner today…
[Alex] Rodriguez is a ghost in the clubhouse, at home and on the road, especially before games. He limits his availability almost exclusively to brief sessions with a group after games in which he has made an impact, good or bad. He does almost no one-on-one interviews, and nobody questions the rules.
Reporters had come to view Rodriguez as insincere, at best, over his first five seasons in New York. Telling outright lies — insisting he was still great friends with Derek Jeter, bragging to Katie Couric that he did not take steroids because he never felt overmatched — can have that effect.
Rodriguez’s early forays into image control were public-relations disasters. In 2005, he bragged about his work ethic to The Record of Hackensack, N.J., offending other players. In 2006, he whined about the glare of the spotlight in a Sports Illustrated cover story, coming off as an insecure loner.
Since [Spring Training this year], Rodriguez has relied much more on Jason Zillo, the Yankees’ media relations director, who is roughly Rodriguez’s age and understands the sports media better than the other advisers. Zillo was blunt with Rodriguez, telling him he was probably the only New York athlete to whom reporters wanted less access, not more.
The weeks Rodriguez spent recovering from his March 9 surgery in Vail, Colo., turned out to be a godsend. He concentrated on his recovery and let Zillo’s advice sink in. Teammates were thankful.
Funny, in March, it was the Yankees brass who told Alex to get his stuff together. And, now, Zillo gets the credit. Well, in any event, what do you think of the “new” A-Rod?