(trouble in paradise)
First, some background.
Turns out the biggest break-up of the year so far isn’t Brad and Jen after all but rather Derek and Alex. Who knew? They seemed so happy. According to Bob Klapisch’s article on ESPN.com today, Yankee owner and devil incarnate George Steinbrenner summoned Yankee third baseman and metrosexual poster boy Alex Rodriguez to meet with him in Tampa where he apparently layeth the smack down. “(Steinbrenner) wants me to lead and lead by example and not to try to fit in,” Rodriguez said the other day. “He told me, ‘you already fit in, you’re a Yankee. Now is the time to do what you do best.’ ”
Evidently, that will mean spending more time away from Jeter, something that’s bound to get the rumor mills turning and the gossip columnists snarking. And here I thought they were picking out china patterns. If this gleeful Red Sox fan has anything to say about it, it’ll be a very public and particularly messy divorce. Look, it’s already starting: “(A-Rod) declined an invitation to Jeter’s celebrity golf tournament in Tampa last week, even though the guest list included Michael Jordan, Roger Clemens , Reggie Jackson, Wayne Gretzky and Lawrence Taylor. Rodriguez’s absence didn’t go unnoticed, as his handlers said the third baseman didn’t want to interrupt his workout schedule.”
Okay, unfounded and most likely completely untrue rumors about his “relationship” with Jeter aside, let’s delve for a moment into the psyche of one Planet A-Rod. First of all, “his handlers?” Yeah, nothing says “just a normal guy” like having your posse turn down an invitation to a celebrity golf tournament for you. A-Rod then goes so far as to make a complete hurdle in logic by actually insulting his fellow pro ball players who have children and who would, horror of horrors, want to spend time with them. All the while engaging in shameless self-promotion about his own “masochistic” workout schedule. “But Rodriguez is proud of the fact that while he’s out of his house by 7 a.m, “there are 650 or 700 other players who are sleeping, or taking their kids to school. But there’s no way they’re going to be running the stairs or doing what I’m doing.”
You know, A-Rod’s wife, Cynthia, just recently gave birth to a baby girl, Natasha, the couple’s first child. Obviously there’s no love lost between myself and the Rodriguez family but one wonders how the poor thing is going to handle it when Daddy can’t come to her ballet recital because he’s busy running wind sprints. How silly of me, I forgot what a “hero” Sir A-Rod is because he can get his pampered ass out of the house by 7am to go to the gym. Brother, please, if I can manage to get my own self out of the house by 7 – and I sure as hell ain’t making $25.2 million a year playing a little boy’s game for a living – then spare me the histrionics about your sacrifices. Makes it a little difficult for a hard-working father of three who is regularly out of the house at dawn in order to make ends meet feel sympathy for you. And while he’s changing shifts, you’re getting your tips frosted. Yup, just a regular guy.
A-Rod, evidently not knowing when to leave well enough alone, then goes on to take “full responsibility” for the Yankees MONUMENTAL COLLAPSE against the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS where the Yanks blew a three games to none series lead. I am aware that you all know the details inside out but it makes me all warm and fuzzy to type them again. So just deal with it. Evidently, A-Rod has “October scars” that he is working very hard to try to eradicate. Yes, I can imagine his one taste of greatness left him irreparably damaged and unable to function without constant flashbacks to the huge, gaping maw of Bronson Arroyo’s glove flying at his face. No, sorry, not buying it. You want to talk October scars? Let’s talk Tim Wakefield. Let’s talk about the Brooklyn Dodgers. Let’s talk about Cubs fans. I simply cannot be expected to take the whining of an overpaid pretty boy seriously. “I was brought here as the final piece of the puzzle, and we were supposed to win,” A-Rod said. “For that, I accept the blame.” Listen, Slappy McBluelips (tm DirtDogs), allow me to get you an extendable fire truck ladder so you can get OVER yourself.
No one is “supposed to” win, buddy. You have to work for it. You cannot win a championship on paper because, as the immortal Bill Lee once said, “unfortunately, they play on grass.” Not that I expect you to pay attention to anything or anyone outside of yourself but perhaps you heard tell of last year’s Indianapolis Colts team claiming that the NFL should just “give (them) the rings?” Doesn’t work that way. You still have to play the games. And you, my friend, got beat. And how.
When it comes down to it, your behemoth of a contract is nothing compared to the heart showed by a minimum wage earning, cornrow sporting string bean who had the good sense to not only tag you out but also to not whine about it and calmly present his case to the umpire. Who made the right call, by the way. “I thought it was a smart play, and we almost got away with it. We put an umpire in the position of having to turn over a call like that in Yankee Stadium. It gave us a shot. (Umpire) Jim Joyce told me, ‘if you’d knocked the crap out of (Arroyo) it would’ve been legal because he was in your way.’ So if I had a chance to do it again, I would’ve tried to run him over. Even though I probably would’ve hurt someonewith my weight and velocity, dropping my shoulder down.” The very notion that you think you had to “get away with” something should tell you that you knew you were cheating. And, owing to this logic, I suppose it’s reasonable to assume that, as Katherine said, “I suppose that means that if he thought he could get away with it, he would have pulled out a Colt .45 and shot Arroyo point blank.” Rules aren’t just made for the league-minimum earning peons, buddy, they hold for you too.
And your “weight and velocity?” Come on, brother, who you fooling? You think you’re Cecil Fielder or David Ortiz out there barreling down the base paths and instilling fear into the hearts of infielders? Maybe in that ESPN Classic highlight playing on an endless loop in your head, but in reality, I know I wasn’t the only one who saw Varitek damn near body slam your whiny ass before your teammates rushed to your rescue back in July.
As much as I’d like to blame everything on you, because, let’s face it, you’re just the newest in a long line of pinstriped villians, it wasn’t entirely your fault. I’m not going to get all “Good Will Hunting” on you here and I suppose you think that accepting full responsibility is noble but really, it’s just a transparent attempt to cast the spotlight exactly where you want it, on yourself. “I shouldn’t be accepted yet because the team didn’t achieve its goal,” Rodriguez said. “The best love is earned love, and I want to earn it like Paul O’Neill earned it, like Roger Clemens. And I haven’t done that yet.” Spare me the “woe is me” attitude. Spare me the “I just want them to love me” bullshit. Spare me. Spare us all. No one is buying it. That crap may have worked in Seattle or Texas but come on, man, you’re in New York now. And it ain’t ALL ABOUT YOU.
Your jealously of Jeter is so transparent, I could wrap leftovers in it. “This is still Jeter’s team because he’s the captain. But my approach is not to be everyone’s best friend. My approach is to win championships. The only way to do that is to be myself, and to take care of my world. With my talent people will follow naturally.” Pardon me but “your world?” Are you even aware that there’s another one? Another plane of existence on which most people function? I mean, I certainly don’t have any warm fuzzies towards Jeter but at least the man respects the game and always plays hard. You, sir, are clearly nothing but a big, fat, jealous cheater. Methinks you doth protest too much. Having some second thoughts are you about coming over from Texas? I can see how that would be hard on you. You’re used to being the center of attention, the one people buy tickets to see, the lone All-Star on a last-place team and suddenly, you’re thrust into a lineup of All-Stars. You’re just one of 25, no longer special. Fans wear jerseys with other names on the back. They even, god forbid, boo you when you go 1 for 17 in your opening series against the Red Sox. Must have been quite a blow to your ego. Poor guy. But the World Series championship was supposed to make it all okay. It was supposed to make them all realize again how great you are. How transcendent. How you are bigger than the game itself. But then, it was cruelly denied to you because of some hard-playing, long-haired team of dirt dogs. They took what is rightfully yours. You’re right. It’s not fair. Wah!
Thank god you didn’t end up here. I can’t even imagine a clubhouse where Curt Schilling and A-Rod would have had to share locker space. And Schilling doesn’t have a small ego. That man pitches with a chip on his shoulder the size of the Green Monster. You would not have fit in here. Maybe Nomar was a malcontent but Nomar was about the team. Even Pedro, truckloads of ego in tow, cared about winning in Boston. Terry Francona said, “These guys love each other, they had to love each other, because you don’t come back from being down 3-0 to the Yankees for yourself.” I sincerely doubt you would have felt that way about any team. I would have given you three weeks before you started mouthing off about Kevin Millar’s antics, Johnny Damon’s hair or Manny’s perceived cluelessness. No way, no how. Good riddance, we’re better off never having known you.
So that’s a nice PR spin you’ve got going there, claiming that everything that went wrong this year for the Yankees was your fault. But no one’s buying it. No one thinks for a second that you buy it either. And frankly, I suspect some of your teammates are getting a little tired of hearing you talk about yourself too. You want to be respected like Paul O’Neill? You’ve sure as hell got the whining down. If only you had the guts to back it up. So you continue your “massive” off season workout program. We’ll see you on Opening Day where you’ll no doubt be raring to go, revenge fantasies playing in your head. I can only hope the glare from our championship rings isn’t too bright.