Alex Rodriguez’s first game back at Yankee Stadium was a disaster. He struck out three times in four at bats, and if he hadn’t been replaced with Jason Nix in the latter innings, likely would have struck out again. If nothing else, A-Rod picked up right where he left off last season, where he looked so helpless against the very same Detroit Tigers pitching that he was given only nine at bats in a 4-0 ALCS sweep.
Given his lackluster performance and the memories it must have conjured up, the remarks Alex Rodriguez made in his post-game news conference were unexpected to say the least:
“It was awesome…just an amazing experience. The fans were incredible. Such great energy and such great response. It was pretty overwhelming. I was having a hard time keeping my emotions in check.”
Of course, anyone who watched that game can tell you that the A-Rod didn’t come close to eliciting a “great response” – the guy was booed mercilessly. And on some level you have to think A-Rod knew that. But whether those words came out of denial, delusion, or a command from his robot brain to execute generic fan appreciation comment no. WR4X9, the one thing the statement makes clear is that Alex Rodriguez wants to be loved.
The tragedy – or comedy, depending on how you look at it – is that the harder he tries to get love, the more repulsive he becomes. One need look no further than his history of mentoring younger players. Whether he does it to be a good teammate, or because he enjoys the feeling of being looked up to, the inherent desire to be well received is undeniable. And while he’s been credited with helping to develop Robinson Cano, Yonder Alonso, and buying outback steakhouse for his single-A teammates, there is reason to suspect that Alex has taken his role too seriously at times: Three of his former proteges – Melky Cabrera, Francisco Cervelli and Jesus Montero – have been suspended for 50 games due to their connections with the Biogenesis clinic in Miami. True, no definitive proof has yet implicated A-Rod as the one who got these players involved with Biogenesis, but you can be sure that younger players are going to think twice before letting Alex take them under his wing.
A-Rod’s self destructive steak is even more obvious outside of baseball. Remember the Details Magazine photo shoot designed to show off the real, fun loving Alex Rodriguez? All it took was one mirror kiss for that plan to backfire. And what about his love life? His many failed relationships have been well documented, but it really came to a head last season when he tried getting a female fan’s number in the middle of a game. The fact that he would do that in the playoffs, no less, speaks to just how desperately lonely the guy must be.
If you can somehow get over your well worn hatred for A-Rod, you’ll see that his situation really is pretty sad. The man has few friends left in the game, went through a bitter divorce, and thanks to his unlawful efforts to enhance his performance, has tainted his legacy in the one place he isn’t alone, if only for nine innings. As bizarre as Friday’s press conference was, then, you can see why Alex would want create an alternate reality where the fans love him, and where he actually has the nerve to apologize to his teammates.