• Columnists To A-Rod: It’s Not As Easy As ‘Won’ & Done

    Posted by on February 26th, 2010 · Comments (17)

    First, Bill Madden rings in with this:

    I don’t doubt for a second that A-Rod feels he’s had an enormous burden lifted from his shoulders, although I won’t go as far as he does in saying the truth set him free because he didn’t exactly tell the whole truth under the pavilion last year. But he told at least enough to set him apart from Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa and win sufficient support from his teammates and the fans. Of course, much more than his words, it was his bat – 30 homers, 100 RBI after missing the first five weeks of the season with hip surgery and then six more homers and 18 RBI in the postseason – that truly set him free.

    As we said, he sounded sincere and humble, and he certainly does seem to be on his way to becoming “one of the guys” after winning himself his first ring. Still, when it comes to his desire to just blend in, he has to know his teammates and the media view that as a work in progress. Too much happened before he reached that crossroads interrogation session last spring.

    Now it is a new year and he was back under the pavilion telling us that he is indeed a new A-Rod. And there can be no better story than a ballplayer transforming from a colossal, self-serving jerk to a genuine, likeable person – if only because it’s happened so seldom, at least while the guy is still playing or in the prime of his career. I would maintain the self-centered, vain, disingenuous A-Rod was much the product of his agent, Scott Boras, who brainwashed him (for considerable profit) from when he was a teenager into believing he was above everyone. I also believe that his choice to do steroids was out of insecurity. Instead of just using his natural talent, he felt he needed something extra to live up to the money and the exalted place in the game where Boras convinced him he belonged.

    A-Rod kept saying Thursday how much he is at peace with himself. If he truly is, I have some advice for him on how to remain there: When you tell people now that it’s not about you, it’s about team, believe it. Make sure your name is in the sports pages a whole lot more than in the gossip pages. Understand that being the highest-paid player in the game doesn’t have anything to do with respect.

    Next, we have this from Joel Sherman:

    Alex Rodriguez yesterday faced the media in the same place around the same time as a year ago. But this was so different. Rodriguez had no prepared statement, no furrowed brow of shame, no story that was harder to believe than “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

    Looking comfortable in a black sweat suit, the Stepford version of Rodriguez re-emerged for the 2010 season. He was humble and non-controversial. He stuck carefully to a mantra of emphasizing team and winning. In a covered party area behind the left-field stands at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Rodriguez offered the vanilla version that so helped him navigate his rocky road.

    No longer was he a 24/7 distraction or the black hole of the clubhouse, sucking the life out of his surroundings. And when the complications were stripped away and it was just Alex Rodriguez vs. a baseball, he reminded us again that there have been few humans better at that confrontation. He took that serenity into the playoffs and wiped away the notion that he could not perform under postseason duress. He was no passenger on the way to a championship. He was a conductor.

    Hey, let’s face it, no one would run to Vegas to bet on Rodriguez maintaining this kind of discipline. Come on, deep down, we really still are unsure about this guy. We wonder if this was all an act. We think about making over/under bets for the date of his first outrageous remark of the season.

    And while it is important to the success of the 2010 Yankees that Rodriguez remain as uncontroversial as possible, it is even more vital to Rodriguez’s legacy. Because what if last year really was the first year of the rest of A-Rod’s career?

    What if he really did gain perspective and self-awareness and inner peace? Yes, it means that the mental anguish that arose to hinder his otherworldly skill is gone. That bodes well for his production to remain elite.

    But it is so much more than that.

    Lastly, there’s this via Ken Davidoff:

    He’ll never be Mr. Warm and Fuzzy. Nor is he likely to join the Fox broadcast booth upon retirement. People can stretch and alter themselves only so much.

    But Alex Rodriguez lived up to his words last season, and he insists he’ll make 2010 an encore.

    Now, the concern: Will A-Rod’s ego swell back up to its pre-confession level? Although he helped the Yankees tremendously from 2004 through 2008, he did alienate teammates and superiors with his prima donna ways, as detailed in Joe Torre’s 2009 book, “The Yankee Years.”

    I believe what A-Rod believes: His postseason turnaround partly could be attributed to luck and other external factors, but also to his simple relaxation. He no longer felt the weight of the world in every at-bat, because he trusted his teammates.

    With another quiet, successful season, A-Rod will have fully won the benefit of the doubt on his own team.

    I’m still waiting for someone to ask the big question…

    Last season, so many were willing to credit Kate Hudson for having a supporting role in stabilizing Alex’s personal life. And, now she’s gone. So, if things go a liitle wrong for Rodriguez this season, and he starts to get low, will he be able to pull out of it without Hudson there to be the wind beneath his wings? Or, was all that “Hudson as the Lady in White” stuff last year just more A-rodrama hyperbole?

    Comments on Columnists To A-Rod: It’s Not As Easy As ‘Won’ & Done

    1. MJ Recanati
      February 26th, 2010 | 2:56 pm

      “Make sure your name is in the sports pages a whole lot more than in the gossip pages.”
      ———-
      Bill Madden, like Mike Lupica, is a self-serving douche. A-Rod doesn’t put himself in the gossip pages, newspaper editors do. After all, he’s not the only New York Yankee that has famous girlfriends or is a phony.

      It must be something about The Daily News…

      As to the Kate Hudson stuff, that’s just rubbish. She had nothing to do with A-Rod’s success in 2009 and any lack of success in 2010 won’t be because she’s out of the picture.

      It is hilarious that a little less than 24 hours after his first press conference of 2010, people still find a way to give A-Rod backhanded compliments for LEADING HIS TEAM TO A CHAMPIONSHIP LAST YEAR.

      Ugh, I’m disgusted.

    2. February 26th, 2010 | 3:10 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      A-Rod doesn’t put himself in the gossip pages, newspaper editors do.

      You really believe that? Would you say the same about Tiger Woods, Steve Phillips, and Britney Spears?

    3. MJ Recanati
      February 26th, 2010 | 3:23 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      You really believe that? Would you say the same about Tiger Woods, Steve Phillips, and Britney Spears?

      You’re telling me that A-Rod WANTS people talking about the fact that his ex-wife wore a t-shirt with the word “fuck” on the back or that he was having an extra-marital affair with a Toronto stripper? Come on, don’t be ridiculous. He doesn’t want that out there, nor can he control it.

      As far as Tiger, same thing. You think Tiger wanted his 15 (or more) extra-marital affairs made public? Ditto Steve Phillips, who lost his job over his gossip-page exposure.

      Britney Spears I can’t really address because I don’t follow her at all.

    4. MJ Recanati
      February 26th, 2010 | 3:24 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      And don’t give me the response that if someone doesn’t want their life in the gossip pages, they won’t make choices that could lead to their being exposed. That’s not only simplistic and unrealistic it’s also untrue.

    5. BOHAN
      February 26th, 2010 | 3:28 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      “Make sure your name is in the sports pages a whole lot more than in the gossip pages.”
      ———-
      Bill Madden, like Mike Lupica, is a self-serving douche. A-Rod doesn’t put himself in the gossip pages, newspaper editors do. After all, he’s not the only New York Yankee that has famous girlfriends or is a phony.It must be something about The Daily News

      I’m a big A-Rod supporter. But he puts himself in the situations to be put in the gossip pages by the journalists. Yes other athletes do have famous athletes but they go to an extra level to keep that part of their life private. For example, Jeter. He doesnt put himself in the situations that would let the tabloids or the gossip pages to put him in and make him look bad. O and A-Rod didnt lead the team to a championship it was the whole team as one that lead themselves to a championship. A-Rod just did his part just like CC and AJ and Matsui and Jeter and Andy and Mo did.

    6. MJ Recanati
      February 26th, 2010 | 3:32 pm

      @ BOHAN:
      If you think newspaper editors treat Jeter and A-Rod the same way, you’re dreaming. Jeter is not a wallflower that secretly ferrets his high-profile girlfriends to his house via the service entrance. Jeter’s out there at clubs partying just like any other normal human being. He’s not trying to hide who he is. The difference is how each story is reported, plain and simple.

    7. February 26th, 2010 | 3:33 pm

      BOHAN wrote:

      But he puts himself in the situations to be put in the gossip pages by the journalists.

      I agree.

      @ MJ Recanati:

      It’s as simple as this: When you’re a high-profile public figure, don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

    8. BOHAN
      February 26th, 2010 | 3:36 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Steve Lombardi wrote:You really believe that? Would you say the same about Tiger Woods, Steve Phillips, and Britney Spears?You’re telling me that A-Rod WANTS people talking about the fact that his ex-wife wore a t-shirt with the word “fuck” on the back or that he was having an extra-marital affair with a Toronto stripper? Come on, don’t be ridiculous. He doesn’t want that out there, nor can he control it.As far as Tiger, same thing. You think Tiger wanted his 15 (or more) extra-marital affairs made public? Ditto Steve Phillips, who lost his job over his gossip-page exposure.Britney Spears I can’t really address because I don’t follow her at all.

      Why bring back a stripper (of all types of girls) to your hotel when you know theres going to be cameras there. He’s the biggest name in baseball he should be able to realize that he is under a microscope. Take a back way into your hotel or something dont just stroll through the front door and expect people not to try to take pictures and make a story out of it. And maybe if he doesnt do all this side stuff and put himself in the situation to get caught and have his wife find out she wouldnt wear a shirt to a game that says “fuck A-Rod” or “fuck you” whatever it said. Which I found absolutely hysterical, very creative.

    9. BOHAN
      February 26th, 2010 | 3:40 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      @ BOHAN:
      If you think newspaper editors treat Jeter and A-Rod the same way, you’re dreaming. Jeter is not a wallflower that secretly ferrets his high-profile girlfriends to his house via the service entrance. Jeter’s out there at clubs partying just like any other normal human being. He’s not trying to hide who he is. The difference is how each story is reported, plain and simple.

      But Jeter doesn’t walk throught the front door of his hotel with a stripper when he’s married and expect to not be seen. thats the difference. He’s smart about he does and A-Rod isnt. Tiger was the same way til that dumb bitch blew his spot up. No one had a clue what he was doing because he kept wrapped up. He was careful about what he was doing and where he was doing it, until recently. And then all the other girls saw an oppurtunity to make money and went with it.

    10. MJ Recanati
      February 26th, 2010 | 3:50 pm

      No offense but you guys live in a dreamworld.

      Whatever, this conversation is beyond dull.

    11. Corey Italiano
      February 26th, 2010 | 3:56 pm

      FYI I was the first comment on the survey about A-Rod and pop culture.

    12. BellaSakura
      February 26th, 2010 | 4:03 pm

      Sure he does certain things to put himself in the cross hairs of gossip columns but I agree with MJ when he said its not that simple. There are other factors why Alex gets more focus than other people besides “well he’s doing stuff.” Can’t we all admit that? Here is one big one: he’s good copy. Don’t confuse discretion and privacy with a lack of interest. Point is not too many people outside of sports, specifically NY Yankees fans, care enough about Jeter.

      When they played in Seattle last year there were pics galore of Alex and Kate. Minka was in Seattle as well and they were not locked away hiding in the hotel. She and Derek went out, in daylight, and there was only one professional photographer’s shot of the two of them on the streets in Seattle. They were seen going into the hotel, her a few steps behind him. No one cares.

      How would people respond to Kate and Alex standing with Clemens on the side line of a college football game? How would they react to her on the field after the last game at Old Yankee Stadium? Something like, “there’s A-Rod wanting attention.” And those two examples aren’t exactly discretion.

      You can focus on strippers and being married, but when Alex wasn’t married they were still chronicling everything. I guess Derek asked to be in the tabloids for dissing Mariah, paying for girls valet bills after sleeping with them, sleeping with a Hustler model for 8 hours in Las Vegas, getting married in November and giving Jessica Alba an STD. Am I saying those things are true? I don’t know, but they were said.

      Let me make this clear, Alex IS NOT a victim in my opinion. Bbut some of this is so disingenuous about the attention he receives. Its like stabbing someone and then blaming them for bleeding on the carpet. Please, some of these reporters act like someone has a gun to their heads and are forcing them to write about Rodriguez. Don’t try to have it both ways by writing about him and then acting like its the last thing you want to do.

    13. throwstrikes
      February 26th, 2010 | 5:09 pm

      A-Rod’s celebrity makes him more of a target than some- both in what is reported and who is followed- and sometimes only selective news is reported.

      For example, A-Rod and CC were both at a Jay-Z concert last week. The tabloids reported A-Rod was there and CC was sitting right next to him and didn’t get a mention.

      The tabloids report who he danced with at night but but don’t report that he was at a ribbon cutting ceremony at a learning center at the Boys and Girls Club in Miami that he built which was news in Miami.

      The tabloids make a fortune supporting an image and it is not in there best interest to portray any image that dispels the one they created.

    14. 77yankees
      February 26th, 2010 | 7:17 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      ———-
      Bill Madden, like Mike Lupica, is a self-serving douche.

      If Bill Madden reported the Earth was round, I’d figure it was flat. Never mind our disgust at potential steroid users being inducted into Cooperstown, how the hell does Madden get inducted into the writers wing?

      Last year, Madden had a column where he pointed out all the errors in Peter Golenbock’s (who Madden seems to have had a hard-on for years for) book about George Steinbrenner.

      And why? Surprise, surprise – it’s because Madden’s writing his own book about the Boss. Just as mentioned – self-serving douche all the way.

    15. February 27th, 2010 | 12:26 pm

      Hmmmm. I seem to remember Mr. Madden suggesting that the Yankees should simply cut A-Rod from the team – and eat his entire $300 million contract. I also remember reading Sherman et al saying that if A-Rod would just win a title with the Yankees, that all would be forgiven.

      All this criticism just goes to show that the A-Rod haters will NEVER be happy with him, no matter what he does. He finally got that playoff monkey off his back, and they still find ways to complain about him. It’s not about winning, it’s not about rings – it’s that they just hate his guts. I wish they would have the intellectual honesty to say so.

    16. Evan3457
      February 27th, 2010 | 2:44 pm

      Lisa is correct. As far as I’m concerned A-Rod has nothing left to prove to anyone.

      Not only did he win “his title”, but he was the key hitter during the postseason, carrying the Yankees with big clutch hits right up until Game 6 of the Series, when Matsui brought them home with his monster game.

      This does not mean I’m satisfied; I certainly hope the Yanks will win several more titles before he retires.

      What it means is that even if he never wins again, his career cannot be regarded as anything other than a monumental success.

    17. Raf
      February 27th, 2010 | 3:12 pm

      Not sure why Rodriguez would be concerned with fishwrap…

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