Joel Sherman of the New York Post just tweeted that A-Rod is in Los Angeles and will be part of the Fox NFL Sunday show today. That’s . . . weird, but who cares about football? What we do care about is that he will be announced as part of the Fox postseason studio shows going forward as well.
This inspired an almost immediate tut-tutting, but that seems premature to me.
On the one hand, yes, It is absolutely certain that Fox’s motivation here is to turn heads and get attention. This is why they do most of what they do these days, be it hiring Jason Whitlock and Colin Cowherd or inflicting Pete Rose on us all. It’s pretty transparent, actually, and putting A-Rod on TV is right in line with that. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean he won’t be good! Indeed, I could see this going either way.
If Rodriguez is self-conscious and concerned with how he looks on TV — a pretty classic A-Rod thing — he could be terrible and stiff. He has shown in the past year, however, that he can be pretty funny and quick in interviews. And regardless of demeanor, his actual baseball knowledge and insight has long been lauded by his teammates and coaches. Even the ones who hate him. If that translates, he could be good. You never know with analysts until they start analyzing.
This could be a Pete Rose situation in which a controversial figure is hired and delivers bad insight and analysis. It could be an A.J. Pierzynski situation in which a controversial figure is hired and delivers pretty damn good insight and analysis. The point is, no matter what motivated it and no matter how controversial the figure, all we as fans should want is some good insight and analysis.
I’d like to think A-Rod will give that but I’m prepared for the possibility that he won’t. Either way, we should give him a chance and see how he does.