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A-Rod, "supporting cast"

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
NY Times
February 17, 2005

Rodriguez Is Getting Hits, to His Glowing Reputation


AMPA, Fla.

SOMEHOW, the sheen that once graced the perpetually glistening facade of Alex Rodriguez has morphed into a repellent of sorts.

These days, few peers want to be near Rodriguez, a star increasingly strapped with authenticity issues. Phony was the description Jose Canseco chose in his best-selling tell-all book when chiding Rodriguez for speaking as if he test-runs his thoughts through "some kind of focus group beforehand."

"Alex, in particular, leaves most corporate spokesmen looking unpolished and overly sincere," Canseco writes in "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big."

True, overdosing on steroids has probably left Canseco loony, but what about everyone else? On Tuesday, Boston's Trot Nixon singled out Rodriguez for failing to be a genuine Yankee like the true-blue Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams.

He also mocked Rodriguez for bragging about his workout regimen in the off-season. "Like Rodriguez says, he's running stairs at 6 in the morning while I'm sleeping and taking my kids to school," Nixon told reporters. "I'm like, well I'm not a deadbeat dad, Alex."

Nixon's hit streak continued as he added this kicker concerning Rodriguez's entrance into fatherhood: "He's got a kid now, too, so I guess he'll have his limo driver take her to school."

That's got to leave a mark, even on A-Rod's pristine veneer. But certainly, Rodriguez would be able to take comfort in teammates who would give him a kiss on the head and a spray of Bactine for the boo-boo, right? Certainly, his reputation would be valiantly defended by everyone assembled at the Yankees' spring training facility - except that it wasn't.

"That's between them," Jeter said of the Nixon flap. "I have nothing to do with that one. That's Trot and Alex."

But wasn't Jeter offended by the brazen swipe taken at his fellow infielder?

"Alex will be here soon," Jeter said. "Ask him if he's offended by it."

To be fair, Jeter never engages in mudslinging, but he didn't have to trade barbs with Nixon in order to defend Rodriguez's Yankee virtues. Demeaning an opponent and supporting A-Rod can be mutually exclusive, but Jeter's curiously passive tact was the boilerplate response from many of the Yankees.

Even an old Yankee turned new again, Mike Stanton, revealed the level of A-Rod's clubhouse status by unwittingly validating Nixon's comments. "When you talk about the Yankee organization, it's Derek Jeter, Posada, Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams," Stanton said. "The rest of us are just the supporting cast."

Somehow, A-Rod has been reduced to a sale-rack item. In the off-season, even George Steinbrenner decried the pedestrian state of his superstar when, as Sports Illustrated reported last month, he used select language in challenging Rodriguez to assert himself.

How did the mannequin become human? Maybe it was the Slap, when a catty Rodriguez pawed the ball out of the glove of Boston's Bronson Arroyo in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series last season? Or was it the Slump, when Joe Torre had to move Rodriguez up to a cushy spot in the batting order to induce productivity? Perhaps it was the Trade, when the Red Sox were unable to broker a deal in December 2003 to acquire Rodriguez from the Rangers, only to dance with serendipity when they were happily stuck with the batty Manny Ramirez.

"He's a lightning rod for a lot of things that took place for them last winter," Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said of Rodriguez's relationship with Boston. "And they're focused on it."

That may explain some of the A-Rod backlash, but the Contract is at the root of Rodriguez's plunge from perfect. It's not how others handled his $252 million deal, but how A-Rod responded to his riches.

In December 2000, Rodriguez was handed the record-breaking deal by the naïve owner of the Texas Rangers, Tom Hicks. In February 2001, Jeter signed the second-biggest deal, for $189 million with the Yankees.

At that point, Jeter began wearing his contract as a responsibility, while Rodriguez started to treat his deal as a stamp of superiority. Once they began playing side by side, the differences between those two philosophies began to surface, with Jeter doing the small things that count in big moments, with A-Rod pulling off big moments at insignificant times.

All of this makes Steve Phillips's "24-plus-one" remark in 2000 seem clairvoyant instead of crazy. The Mets general manager that courted A-Rod that year, Phillips pulled out of the race, citing the excessive perks requested by the agent Scott Boras. Like a billboard presence in the city. Like a private plane. Like a separate marketing staff.

"I just hope the people in New York don't believe that silliness," Rodriguez said at the time.

If New Yorkers believed Rodriguez then, they may be wondering now. Not because of any diva-like fits, but because A-Rod has yet to reveal himself as the real deal.

Many people have noticed - from Canseco to Nixon - and even his teammates seem to be struggling with whether Rodriguez is an authentic Yankee.
post #2 of 10
A-Rod will be the MVP this year.
post #3 of 10
Trot Nixon...what a classy winner.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Most Valuable Purse
post #5 of 10
Originally Posted by ryan
Most Valuable Purse
A-Rod will need it to carry the eye liner and lipstick he wears.
post #6 of 10
who kept his mask on while fighting, A-Rod.....
........Oh yes, the 'tough guy' on the Red Sox.....Please....
post #7 of 10

Damato Fantasizing About A-Rod In Drag

Originally Posted by Damato
A-Rod will need it to carry the eye liner and lipstick he wears.
Typing with one hand there chowd boy?
post #8 of 10
Actually the fantasy includes A-Rod, Dennis Rodman and a midget. The midget is wearing a Trot Nixon replica shirt while he's giving A-Rod "what for".
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

just click your, um, heels

"Yo, Jeet, whaddaya think? my color?"

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

a little...


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