Lock up your daughters. A-Rod’s coming to town.
Let’s face it; if it were any other professional athlete’s mug splattered on the front page of the New York Post, cavorting with a “busty blonde,” we’d probably shrug our shoulders, more caught up in the ethical nature of a tabloid presenting the questionable morals of a celebrity as front page news. I hate to break it to you, but spotting a ballplayer with a woman who isn’t his wife isn’t exactly a breaking headline. We imagine life on the road with money and groupies produces more Margo Adamses than you would care to acknowledge.
It’s just that, well, Alex Rodriguez did everything but pass out this woman’s number to reporters.
From the steak house to the strip club (classy, as always that A-Rod), the couple was in such clear public view on Sunday night in Toronto that even Shelley Levene would have had an easy time of picking up their lead. Perhaps Rodriguez just figured he could will himself invisible and nobody would notice.
But it’s just the latest in a line of ridiculous situations that Rodriguez has placed himself in. Except, his wife, Cynthia may not allow him to wiggle out of this one as easily.
Last night in Toronto, where the Yankees actually managed to win a game, Rodriguez found himself embroiled in more controversy, this time on the field, where he conjured memories of his infamous bush league play against Bronson Arroyo and the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS. As he was running the base paths, Rodriguez allegedly screamed “mine” while dashing past Blue Jays third baseman Howie Clark, who was going after a pop up hit by Jorge Posada. The ball dropped and a run scored.
"That play happens to me three or four times per week, but it's not by third base, it's by the dugout," Rodriguez said. "I didn't say 'I got it' or anything like that. One word; 'Hah.' That was it."
Once again, here’s the video clip in which A-Rod ignores the science of lip reading and moves his mouth to a completely different motion in order to shout, “Hah.” Remarkable.
"Not since I think 'Major League II,' the movie; I think that's the only time I've ever seen it on the field," Jays third baseman Troy Glaus said. "I've never heard of someone doing it and I've never seen anybody do it. That's not proper. That's not the right thing to do."
It’s not against the rules, per se, but it is…well, lame. Just like in 2004, A-Rod wants desperately to prove his will to win, by going to any means necessary on the field, even if it means bush league action or cheating.
As if it weren’t already so easy for Red Sox fans to giggle at the Yankees’ misfortune, A-Rod makes it all that much easier. Think about it, this is a guy who just hours ago might have gotten a little bit of a free pass from at least a few media folks based on the level of journalistic embarrassment over the controversial decision of a rag to present his perceived infidelities as news. And then he goes and does this to bring himself into the spotlight at the absolute worst possible time.
The Yankees yesterday insisted that Rodriguez’s reported love for strippers wouldn’t serve as a distraction, but that’s an outright lie since it already has. Rodriguez called for a behind closed doors meeting with Joe Torre yesterday before the game, and his actions later in the ninth inning reeked once again of a guy trying to prove something at a time when he’s being most questioned in the clubhouse, a la 2004. See, I’m not a ME guy, I care about “winning.” Whatever it takes.
Instead, he comes off like a classic swindler, maybe not breaking the law, but playing with a sense of charlatan that anyone about 8 years old should have grown out of by now. If Rodriguez were just a fan, he’d be the loser incessantly shouting, “No batter,” from the box seats, screaming that the ump needs glasses, and crying aloud to anyone listening that it wasn’t his hand that caused the fan interference that allowed the visiting team to pull ahead.
On second thought, maybe the Red Sox shouldn’t go after this rogue in the offseason, whether or not he decides to opt out of his contract. If I’m the Yankees, I try and find out now if the White Sox, Cubs, or Angels have any interest in taking on the second half of this season’s contract and risk losing him to free agency in the fall. At this point, why keep him around? He’s not only an embarrassment for your franchise, but it isn’t like he’s exactly tearing the cover off the ball either, hitting just .235 for the month after his torrid start.
New York limps into Boston tomorrow night for the start of a three-game series that is pointless at this stage. Despite gaining ground on Boston last night, the Yankees still trail the Red Sox by 13½ in the AL East, and could at worst face a 16½-game hole by the time Sunday night rolls around. At best, they could be 10½ out.
Add in the fact that Brian Cashman and Joe Torre could both be out of a job at this time next week, Jason Giambi’s performance enhancement controversy, and A-Rod’s adventures off the field, and things have hit full-blown disaster stage in the Bronx.
Leave it to Rodriguez to make it even worse for his teammates with his constant presence of buffoonery and controversy. From the moment the Yankees acquired him after Boston’s failure to secure a suitable contract, it has been a steady decline in New York, from a World Series appearance, to an embarrassing collapse in the ALCS, to back-to-back ALDS exits, to flirting with last place in 2007. During that time, the Red Sox have won a World Series and currently enjoy the best record in the game. It’s almost as if this was intentionally Larry Lucchino’s devious plan: Make them think you desperately want something so they want it just as badly, and then reap the rewards of their incompetence.
He should get an even more interesting reception that usual when he steps to the plate tomorrow night at Fenway. The Red Sox front office will want to pay close attention to the way his teammates fail to rally around him in the clubhouse, and the way that their own players scoff at the deceitful way he plays the game. I flirted with the idea of A-Rod in Boston next season, but after sitting on it some, I just can’t imagine the likes of Jason Varitek existing with this loser. And frankly, after this week I’d be afraid that someone would try to punch him out.
Might want to steer clear of Grill 23 and the Cabaret for the next few days. Because if anything has become clear it’s that if you’re with Alex Rodriguez, some sort of trouble usually follows.