A-Rod is supposed to be embarrassed about being rich and having famous movie star girlfriends?

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Alex Rodriguez is not great at P.R. There’s no disputing that. He’s had a couple of flubs. He’s been involved in a few controversies.  He has occasionally shot himself in the foot.

But does he really deserve the treatment he gets from Sports Illustrated today?  The august S.I. goes with a slide show, outlining what are supposed to be A-Rod’s “most embarrassing moments.”  A great many of the “incidents” however, don’t really qualify. Among them:

  • Being demoted to eighth in the batting order in the 2006 ALDS.  All players slump. But really: isn’t putting the mid-decade version of A-Rod eighth in the order more embarrassing for Joe Torre than A-Rod? It was a classic panic move by a guy who is lauded for being cool. How is that A-Rod’s problem?
  • The “Ha!” or “I got it!” thing in Toronto when A-Rod yelled something to Blue Jays third baseman Howie Clark to make him give up on a pop fly.  Depending on whose story you believe it may not be the best sportsmanship, but A-Rod has his share of “all is fair in love and war” defenders. Many of the people mad at him for it were unwritten rules fanatics, and you know how I feel about the so-called unwritten rules. Not his finest hour, but I bet that stuff happens more often than we think.
  • The opt-out:  announcing A-Rod’s opt-out during the 2007 World Series was bad form. But are we sure that was A-Rod’s doing and not Scott Boras’?  A-Rod famously negotiated his contract a few months later without Boras’ help. And he has since fired the guy. Just sayin!
  • Dating Madonna:  Yeah, how silly for a guy to be interested in a woman who was held up as a universal sex symbol for most of his adolescence.
  • Dating Kate Hudson: Yeah, how silly for a guy to be interested in a woman who, for a good while there, was considered America’s sweetheart.
  • Dating Cameron Diaz: Yeah, how silly for a guy to be interested in one of Hollywood’s leading actresses.
  • Being trashed in Joe Torre’s book:  Again, how does Torre’s failure to keep in the clubhouse that which should have stayed in the clubhouse A-Rod’s fault?  The facts aren’t flattering, no, but they pale compared to Torre’s transgression in my mind.
  • The centaur paining:  Maybe I’m wrong here, but I thought that was debunked. Anyone?
  • The Dallas Braden thing:  Maybe I missed the meeting when this was all decided, but last I checked everyone thought Braden was being the jackwagon here.

I’ll give S.I. the steroids stuff (gotta hang your head when you’re caught cheating), the mirror-kiss photo in details (whoa) and the front-page-of-the-tabloid-with-the-stripper thing (gotta hang your head when you’re caught cheating), but it seems that most of the stuff on their list is either much ado about nothing or really someone else’s problem.

And really, there aren’t many things on that list that are as embarrassing as a respected publication like Sports Illustrated going all Bleacher Report with a theres-no-there-there photo slide show in an effort to maximize traffic by virtue of that which it claims is embarrassing.

Athletics and Mariners to begin the 2019 regular season in Tokyo

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners will begin the 2019 regular season in Japan, in the Tokyo Dome.

The series will mark the third time that the A’s will begin their season in Japan, first doing it in 2008 against the Red Sox and then again in 2012 against the Mariners.

This is just the latest of Major League Baseball’s moves to expand the the game internationally. In addition to those previous series in Japan, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened their season in Australia in 2014 and the Dodgers and Padres will play a series in Mexico City this May. There has likewise been talk of the Mets playing a series in London, though those details have not yet been worked out. Obviously the World Baseball Classic represents the league’s effort to broaden the global scope of the once national pastime.

Get ready for early morning baseball, folks.