The crowd takes photos as New York Yankees' Rodriguez warms up to bat for first time this season as he faces Detroit Tigers in MLB American League game in New York

We’re all sick of A-Rod yet we can’t stop watching

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It’s hard to take issue with the overall thrust of Tyler Kepner’s latest at the New York Times: everyone is sick of A-Rod, but the fact is that we can’t look away:

After all these years with Rodriguez — 10 now, and very slowly counting — we are still talking about tiresome controversies of his making. We are doing so not because we want to, not because we even care much anymore. In the stands, in the clubhouse, in the executive suites, even in the press box — believe me — everyone has an acute case of A-Rod fatigue.

We continue to pay attention for one reason: Alex Rodriguez is spectacularly famous.

There is certainly a disconnect between how much we all say we’re sick of A-Rod and how much attention he is paid. Yankee Stadium was a lot closer to capacity last night than it has been. I bet the TV ratings for last night’s game were higher. The press says it’s sick of covering A-Rod, but the scene at Yankee Stadium last night was pretty nuts: multiple times the usual number of reporters and photographers than is usually on hand. I see the stats for the posts we do about Rodriguez — the posts so many of you in the comments say you’re sick of — and they have substantially higher traffic than most things we’ve been doing lately.

No one particularly likes A-Rod but I don’t think it’s at all accurate to say we have “A-Rod fatigue.” We can’t get enough, for whatever reason. He’s that restaurant Yogi Berra talked about that time: no one goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.

Josh Hamilton leaves camp with a tweaked knee

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers poses during a spring training photo shoot on February 28, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.

As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.

You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.