Most superstars experience a turbulent rollercoaster ride through their Yankee years.
Mickey Mantle was far from the exception, and Roger Maris had his darkest days while breaking the home run record in pinstripes.
For Alex Rodriguez, the journey has been more reminiscent of jumping out of a plane with no parachute. It has been a heart-stopping freefall without a safety net and seemingly no conclusion in sight.
A-Rod’s ride actually seems somewhat worse than that.
He has started in orbit, and must first reenter the atmosphere before his freefall begins. Not only must he fall to Earth, but he must be engulfed in flames before doing so.
Rodriguez has been heavily scrutinized for:
1. Being seen with a blonde stripper in Canada
2. Cheating on his wife
3. Slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove
4. His massive and unprecedented contract
5. Dating Madonna (far past her prime)
6. Using “Boli” and amphetamines
7. Withholding the entire truth in interviews
8. Leaving a spring training game with his ‘dealer’ cousin
9. Caring too much about his image, and
10. The failure to perform in the clutch
I am sure that I am leaving another group of blunders unnoticed, but the point has been made. A-Rod has experienced as much negative publicity as any non-imprisoned athlete.
Most of it is well deserved, but the recent whispers around baseball regarding his ‘disrespect’ of Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon is completely uncalled for.
While being interviewed about his temporary Dominican teammates, Rodriguez praised the tools and talents of Jose Reyes.
He simply said, “I wish he was on our team,” in an attempt to compliment a superstar and build chemistry with his new team.
Rodriguez even went on to compliment Yankees CF hopeful Brett Gardner. "That's fun to watch. Anytime you have that type of speed ... I mean, we have a guy in [Brett] Gardner that'll be fun. That's probably the most [fun] you can have, watching those guys run."
Somehow, in the twisted and ignorant minds of sportswriters and certain fans, this was intended as a shot to Jeter and Damon.
This of course because Jeter plays Reyes’ position as SS and Damon holds Reyes’ leadoff position in the lineup.
Even when A-Rod attempts to say positive things, they are twisted into controversy. It is becoming easier and easier to realize why he is so introverted with the media.
Had the scenario been reversed, and Derek Jeter praised USA 3B Chipper Jones, it would have been a classy move.
Simply a mutual respect earned from years of competition and World Series battles, Jeter would be patted on the back.
Why wouldn’t Rodriguez want one of the most dynamic players in MLB on his team? What exactly was he supposed to say about Reyes if not to compliment him?
The negativity surrounding A-Rod is beginning to get out of control. I am not going to condone most of what he has done and been caught doing, but give the guy a break.
Joe DiMaggio despised Mickey Mantle. They never got along, and DiMaggio always felt his legacy threatened by the new young star about to rewrite his position.
Rodriguez and Jeter do not need to be best friends. Their former relationship has been shattered, and they are now simply coworkers striving for the same goal.
Let it go. Stop attempting to create fire where there is not any smoke. The two may never like each other, but Rodriguez’s motive is not to belittle the Yankee captain…especially not now.