09.20.06

A-Rod : Don’t Hate Me Cuz I’m Bright & Beautiful

Posted in Baseball at 1:05 pm by

You’re probably already aware that Alex Rodriguez spills his guts to Tom Verducci in the latest Sports Illustrated, but if you’ve not got the stomach to wade through the whole thing, here are a few of the gems that came past the Third Baseman’s lips.

“I can’t help that I’m a bright person,” he said last month. “I know that’s not a great quote to give, but I can’t pretend to play dumb and stupid.”

One day last month, wading into that current, I asked Rodriguez whom he has relied on most during his difficult summer. He first mentioned Cynthia.

But to whom has he turned on this Yankees team?

He looked down and thought in silence. Ten seconds passed.

Finally he said, “Rob Thomson.” Thomson is the team’s special-assignment coach who throws batting practice.

“And Mo. Mariano is the best. Those three.”

And that was it.

“It actually reached the point of being so ridiculous that I just had to laugh. It’s like if you show up at work one day with a red shirt, and I go, ‘Man, that’s an ugly shirt.’ And the next day you wear a blue shirt, and I go, ‘Man, that’s an ugly shirt.’ And the next day, yellow shirt, same thing. And on and on, every day. At some point you understand it’s not really about the shirts. And it becomes easy to dismiss the criticism.

I don’t expect people to feel sorry for me,” he said. “My teammates get more upset about the criticism and booing than I do. A hundred players have come to third base and said, ‘This is bulls—. You’re having a great year.’ You wonder why it bothers players so much. Tim Salmon, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Garret Anderson … I could throw you a hundred names. They’re looking at the scoreboard and saying, ‘This guy’s got 90 RBIs and I’ve got 47, and I’m getting cheered?’

“My agent, Scott Boras, was talking about [Oakland third baseman] Eric Chavez, who’s a great player. He’s hitting .235. He’s got 16 home runs, 43 ribbies? This guy is getting cheered every time he comes up to the plate. If I can look back on 2006 and see I made 25 errors, hit .285 and drove in 125, I mean, has God really been that bad to me?

“Mussina doesn’t get hammered at all,” he said. “He’s making a boatload of money. Giambi’s making [$20.4 million], which is fine and dandy, but it seems those guys get a pass. When people write [bad things] about me, I don’t know if it’s [because] I’m good-looking, I’m biracial, I make the most money, I play on the most popular team….”

Alex might be onto something in playing the (bi)racial card. The Giambino, for instance, has only been a discredit to one race.

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