A-Rod & Good PR Are Obviously A Lost Cause

arodboatshotDefending Alex Rodriguez on the field is a tough act, these days, because every decision he makes off of it continually obscures how talented a player he is and only focuses people on how badly he has played at times during the playoffs during his tenure in New York.

And he continues to shoot himself in the foot. Talking too much to the media about his feelings, getting caught with strippers, a nasty divorce from his wife Cynthia.  The whole hooking up with Madonna thing was a final jump of the shark; the merging of Hollywood goosip farce with the man possessing the most artifice in the major leagues, or at least the most concerned with artifice.

Now he really has to compound it by deciding to switch teams in the World Baseball Classic and play for the Dominican Republic, according to David Ortiz — he played for the U.S. in the inaugural contest after a huge amount of hemming and hawing over whether to choose the country of his parents’ birth and that of his own.

I can empathize with that sort of identity thing, but baseball is, at its heart, a curiously American thing and particularly nationalistic: you’re really better off sticking with the country of birth, particularly if you played for them the last go-round.

If Rodriguez confirms it, it’s just gonna give ever more baseball fans a reason to dislike him and find him completely lacking in any personal conviction.  Of course, that means there have to be fans left that believe he has any desire than to try to be everything to everyone (and fail miserably at it.)

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Kobe’s Undies Are As Baggy As His Game Shorts

Activision goes all Risky Business parody to promote the newest Guitar Hero. I see no problem with that.

Tony Hawk makes sense — doesn’t Activision also make his Pro Skater games? — and Kobe Bryant is just funny, as is Michael Phelps. But I wonder if Alex Rodriguez had even heard of the game; maybe he has.  He’s the only one I can’t really see as a gamer at all.

In fact, Activision totally whiffed when they decided not to bring the most obvious candidate for an ad for their game in:

Seriously, major missed opportunity to poke some more fun at itself and the game. They DID have to go for people who might actually be able to sell things (although, again, why go for A-Rod? How good a pitchman is he?)

(Photo via Deadspin.)

A-Rod Schadenfreude, Writ Large

When my local TV news station ran an item on Alex Rodriguez’s marital discord, I knew the story had struck enough chords and brain receptors in the minds of editors and executive producers across the country for the perfect story. Combine the highest-paid baseball player (and the game’s most talented) with a washed up pop star like Madonna (quibble all you want, but she is riding on her 80s output like a greatest hits show), toss in possible Kabbalah crap and rumors of Lenny Kravitz joining the jilted Cynthia Rodriguez in Paris, and these are the things that crack local newscasts and papers across the country, not just in New York, where the Post and the Daily News are the closest thing we have to semi-legit tabloids.

These are the stories that give license to Deadspin’s A.J. Daulerio to create tags of genius such as “Justify My Glove” to encompass the entire scandal (part baseball reference, part Madonna reference, and part Kravitz, as he penned “Justify My Love” for the Material Girl years ago.)

But the question that always pops up with me is: why do we care so much? Michael Jordan’s divorce from wife Juanita did not receive this much play outside of Chicago and he’s worth more than A-Rod could ever hope to be at this point. Obviously, there is the inevitable celebrity factor involved with Madonna, which will get shows like Entertainment Tonight, Extra, and their ilk all over it, but as far as sports fans go, well, what’s the explanation?

I sense that, more than any athlete around right now, we want to see Rodriguez fail at things.

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Crosstown Traffic.

Frankly, I wasn’t even considering the possibility of Alex Rodriguez going cross-town to play out the rest of his career in Shea Stadium. I don’t even think it’s plausible; I doubt he wants to stick around with the New York media all over his every move. But if he does, that’s all right with me (hell, more than all right), and it’s apparently okay with David Wright, who mouthed off earlier saying he was cool with moving to another position from third base if it meant landing everyone’s favorite mercenary, and then had to shut it when asked about it again.

Now, GM Omar Minaya is going to talk to him about the possibility again, and now I have to think: what if the team I root for actually has a legit shot and will try to land the best player in baseball?

This is a bad free agent class, especially for pitching — and if there’s anything the Mets need in spades after the Collapse, it’s solid starting and relief pitching.  So, Rodriguez doesn’t help there, but what help is there in terms of arms without trying to tempt Minnesota into a deal for Johan Santana (who has one year left on his contract)?  The NL East is a weak division when it comes to pitching, whether it be starters or bullpen. No team went deeper than two good starters.  A team can slug its way to a division title.

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Let’s Make A Deal!

 

I doubt there’s anyone around to actually be surprised at Alex Rodriguez deciding effectively, to leave the Yankees by opting out, since Brian Cashman has stated repeatedly that he won’t chase Rodriguez without the Texas Rangers’ money involved, and I suppose the Yankees would like to make a clean break if that’s the case.  I’ll happily defend A-Rod because the Yankees don’t even make the playoffs this year if he’s not on the roster and rating high in Triple Crown categories, but I wonder just how revealing it was when the statements to ESPN from Scott Boras talk about the situation being reflective of “his team, his closer, his outfeilders”, as if the team revolved around Rodriguez and his ego.   That might be problematic for whomever might be willing to pay the $30 million per year fee. Who’s realistically going to do that?

Angels – I really am not that sure that Arte Moreno, despite his deep pockets, is going to shift his opinion towards handing Rodriguez a giant chunk of change. Certainly, the Angels are the obvious need here — no power at several power positions, with a chance to get it seems almost too good to pass up.

Dodgers – Again, there’s a need to fill, but I suspect Frank McCourt is less likely than Moreno to bring A-Rod to the L.A. area.

Cubs – Works if you move Theriot to 2B and ask A-Rod to return to short. Has Rodriguez bulked up too much to be effective at his natural position.

Giants – It’d be a great environment, but there would be the stigma of Barry, or having another slugger, yet one who can’t get them near the ultimate playoff goal.

Rangers – I laughed when Peter Gammons even threw this out as a suggestion.  Tom Hicks just got a reprieve from paying him; why would he do it again?

Red Sox – It’s not like Julio Lugo is any sort of dynamite SS with the glove or in the batter’s box. Again, it raises questions of whether he could go back to short and whether the Red Sox feel like they need him — clearly, they’d be fine if they just ink Lowell again and go from there.

Photo: Getty/AFP/Jim McIssac

Stop, Alex. Just Stop.

It’s as if he can’t help himself sometimes. Champagne bukkake isn’t the best of looks.

Photo: AP/Chris O’Meara

Does A-Rod Know He’s Prone To Accidentally Comical Photos?

“Jeter’s such a goddamned liar. This dirt technique didn’t work on getting the taste out, and I’m fucking spitting next time.”

(Photo: AP/Frank Franklin II)