Baseball91's Weblog

August 14, 2009

Slumdog Millionaires: See-thru Shorts

Cheaters never prosper. At least in days gone by. Selena Roberts broke the story with Sports Illustrated. About a slumlord named Alex Rodriguez. Yeah. The 6' 3" ball player, listed at 190 pounds when he started with the Seattle Mariners, is now 240-pounds, and looks not at all like the Ken Kaissers of the baseball world.

Selena used to work at the New York Times. Here is her last article at the New York Times which had been about a slumlord named Alex Rodriguez.

December 7, 2007

Alex Rodriguez isn’t exactly a slumlord, but he has become a landlord caricature among some of those who live in the properties that he owns and operates.

October 5, 2007

Only A-Rod could turn being contrived into a virtue. Only A-Rod could orchestrate an unplanned redemption. Do you like the new A-Rod who doesn’t care if he is liked?

I actually dig this version even though I’m absolutely sure I’ve fallen into a P.R. plan hatched by overbearing handlers to humanize Rodriguez in an effort to free his talent from the burden of being perfect.

See Alex laugh at himself — and then inwardly cackle all the way around the bases. See Alex hang out with his teammates — and then create a season so far removed from others it should be encased in glass.

A-Rod’s plan to make this postseason special began during the spring. It all started when he showed up in Tampa, Fla., with a catharsis on the subject that had always left his pinstriped pants on fire: the issue of how many times he really and truly has roasted marshmallows with Derek Jeter which, truth told, is none.

“Let’s make a contract,” Rodriguez told reporters in February. “You don’t ask about Derek anymore and I promise I’ll stop lying to you.”

Deal. That moment of Jeter liberation ended the days of the needy Alex, the obsequious Alex. It didn’t mean A-Rod would always escape controversy. The tabloids ensured his megacelebrity would expand when they splashed his dalliances with a stripper on the back pages. His wife’s response? Cynthia Rodriguez wore a profane T-shirt to a game that told everyone to back off her hubby.

And they have. Amazing what a support system A-Rod has assembled. The Yankees and the manager who abandoned him last year are there for him this season.

Published: February 7, 2009

Rodriguez was well established by 2003, and when he joined the Yankees the next season, he was widely considered the best player in baseball By the time he was 30 — in spring training of 2006 — he was all but whining about the scrutiny he lived under.

“My whole life is about getting crushed,” he said. A few years ago, I casually mentioned to Rodriguez that his knowledge of the game could make him a good television analyst, if he ever wanted the job. He startled me with his response, saying bitterly that when he retires, nobody in baseball will see him again.

Until Saturday, though, Rodriguez had never been directly linked to steroid use, and that will change his carefully crafted image forever.

There had been inferences from Jose Canseco but nothing like the revelations first reported on web site (Sports Illustrated).

“His legacy, now, is gone,” one Yankee official said of Rodriguez, speaking on condition of anonymity because the organization had no public comment. “He’ll just play it out. Now he’s a worker. Do your job, collect your paycheck and when you’re finished playing, go away. That’s what it is.”

Several other front-office officials declined to comment Saturday, but the Yankees were clearly blindsided. Just like that, the questions about Joe Torre’s book do not seem so distracting anymore.

…. His legacy, if not his whole life, is getting crushed

by Jack Curry
Published: February 8, 2009

“Rodriguez has worked to try to become the perfect player, although he has been far from that in the post season. Perfect swing, perfect work habits, perfect knowledge of the game, perfect everything. But perfect players are not expected to pursue unfair advantages. Perfect players are not supposed to use steroids.”

Published: February 9, 2009

“Now admitting he took performance-enhancing substances for several seasons, Rodriguez said he did not know exactly what substances he took, but that he hadn’t taken substances since 2003. ‘I am guilty of being negligent, naïve, not asking all the right questions,’ the Yankees’ third baseman said.”

Those test results from 2003 were never supposed to be made public.


Published: August 13, 2009

SEATTLE — As the Yankees played at home July 22, 2008, a news release came across the wires. It was from Hollywood, and the subject was Alex Rodriguez‘s new partnership with the William Morris talent agency. In the press box at Yankee Stadium, the writers snickered and team executives cringed.

“Partnering with William Morris will enable me to broaden the scope of my career in creative and innovative ways,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

“I think they’re good,” he said, then added a nod of satisfaction, turned, and walked down a hallway, out a side door. That was Rodriguez at the height of his preening diva persona, one of many he has tried in his complicated career.

A year or so later, the scene is almost unfathomable, and not just because players leave the new Yankee Stadium through a more private exit. Rodriguez has been exposed as a former steroid user. He has received bad advice from his cadre of advisers. He has had hip surgery, the most serious injury of his career.

What has resulted is a new persona that is by far the most effective I have seen in parts of eight seasons covering him with the Seattle Mariners and the Yankees. He is Alex Rodriguez, baseball player, and nothing else.

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.
An avalanche of negative publicity followed his decision to opt out of his contract during the 2007 World Series. But when Hank Steinbrenner caved to his contract wishes, it seemed to empower Rodriguez as an entity unto himself.

He hired Madonna’s manager, Guy Oseary, and began using the publicist Richard Rubenstein at public appearances. Just as he committed his next 10 years to the Yankees, he distanced himself from their publicity arm, a decision that backfired twice in spring training.

The first was the clunky news conference explaining his steroid use, strategically planned by Ben Porritt, a political operative and partner in a crisis-management firm. The next was the provocative photo shoot for Details Magazine, said to be orchestrated by Oseary, in which Rodriguez kissed himself in a mirror.

Since then, 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.

There have been no exclusive interviews, no outside brush fires to contain. He has a movie-star girlfriend, Kate Hudson, and a marquee job on baseball’s most scrutinized team. Yet he has managed to blend in and let his play define his persona."

Sports Blogs



  1. From “60 Minutes” has learned that members of New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez’s inner circle in February obtained and leaked documents that implicated Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun as well as his own Yankees teammate, catcher Francisco Cervelli, in the doping scandal that has enveloped Major League Baseball.

    “The leak came just days after the weekly newspaper Miami New Times published documents in January detailing Rodriguez’s pervasive use of performance enhancing drugs.

    “The handwritten documents of Anthony Bosch, the key witness in Major League Baseball’s PED investigation, revealed comprehensive doping regimens that Bosch had engineered for a host of professional athletes. His cooperation with MLB has resulted in the suspension of Rodriguez and 13 other major league players.

    “Braun and Cervelli’s names were redacted in the Miami New Times documents. Members of Rodriguez’s camp at the time obtained unredacted versions and leaked them to Yahoo! Sports, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter. The unredacted documents also implicated Baltimore Oriole Danny Valencia, who MLB later investigated and cleared.”

    Comment by baseball91 — August 16, 2013 @ 4:27 PM | Reply

  2. Alex Rodriguez to collect his last $27 million as an adviser to the ship-building Steinbrenner Family.

    According to a piece in February 2009 by Tyler Kepner of The New York Times, “a few years ago, I casually mentioned to Rodriguez that his knowledge of the game could make him a good television analyst, if he ever wanted the job. He startled me with his response, saying bitterly that when he retires, nobody in baseball will see him again.”

    In that same February 2009 The New York Times piece, Tyler Kepner wrote, ” ‘His legacy, now, is gone,’ one Yankee official said of Rodriguez, speaking on condition of anonymity because the organization had no public comment. ‘He’ll just play it out. Now he’s a worker. Do your job, collect your paycheck and when you’re finished playing, go away. That’s what it is.’ ”

    Comment by baseball91 — August 7, 2016 @ 10:21 PM | Reply

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