Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Chance To Remove The A-Hole From A-Rod

So there he stands: the public relations machine in all of its backfiring glory. Alex Rodriguez is a lesson that actions speak louder than words.

He is a man who talks to the media as though he were holding a sheet written by his agen
t. Very careful, very calculated, very...blah.

His actions on the field mimic his baseball personality: very precise and with purpo
se. He's could be the greatest talents of the modern era with his combination of power, speed, and hitting ability. A-Rod puts up yearly numbers that put him at the top of fantasy drafts and very well could rewrite the record books in tradition-rich major league baseball.

Yet he doesn't inspire anyone in the stands or the clubhouse. He doesn't look like he has any fun out there, he's just doing his job that he gets paid so very well for. In fact, I've never seen such a talented player so denigrated throughout the country who hasn't actively done something to deserve it.

Barry Bonds acted surly and paranoid. Albert Belle was a thug. John Rocker was a racist ass. A-Rod? He's made sure to never say anything too crazy, anything that might damage his reputation.

And that's why people hate him: they see him as insincere. He's not one of the guys.

He wears the mask of A-Rod in front of the cameras, meanwhile, off the field stories abound of A-Rod being an arrogant jerk. His teammates in Texas mockingly called him the "cooler" after he was traded because, despite his talent, teams get better when
he leaves. His infidelity led to his wife filing for divorce. He says he and Madonna aren't together, then rumors surface about the two buying a place together. There are stories of A-Rod demanding special treatment at Texas restaurants and offering his simple autograph in return.

One thing everyone could agree on, however, is that A-Rod has always been naturally talented. Now even that is being sullied as the steroid issue rears it's ugly head yet again in Major League Baseball. If it's true that A-Rod tested positive for steroids over the past few years, there's no telling how high the dog-pile might get.

But much like the Chinese have the same word for opportunity as they do for crises, A-Rod can use this issue to become a normal person again.

If A-Rod treats this issue like he has treated other problems---by saying what his agent or P.R. manager wants the public to hear instead of what A-Rod really thinks---then people will hound him relentlessly about the subject.

But if A-Rod just comes clean about the positive steroid test. Just tells the truth whatever it is: he used them because of an injury, he wasn't careful enough about what supplements he was taking, everyone else around him was doing it and he didn't want to be left behind... people might eventually give him some respect.

It won't be easy, people will be all over him because he's A-Rod. But they will know he's human. And that will be better for his reputation than anything an agent can dream up.

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