Lost by some amidst the quickly refuted reports there’s sort of Cubs ownership stake in the offing for The Third Baseman, was the following tidbit in Monday’s New York Magazine, penned by the ever-versatile Will Leitch.
Since early September, Rodriguez has developed what might charitably be called a œtic. When he reaches base, he rotates his left shoulder while holding his right hand over his heart. He claims that he™s stretching out a jammed shoulder. It™s an odd maneuver; it makes him look like he™s in pain. As Rodriguez rounded the bases after hitting his 50th home run in early September, becoming the first Yankee to hit that many since Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, the Yankees bullpen, almost in unison, began rotating their left shoulders and holding their right hands over their hearts. When A-Rod reached the dugout, several other teammates were doing the same thing. As the blog Bronx Banter pointed out, an MVP, carrying his team to the playoffs, facing impending free agency, was being mocked for his idiosyncrasies the second he was cementing himself as the team™s best slugger of the past 50 years. However good-natured it was, it™s the kind of thing that does not speak to an undying attachment between player and team.
Adds Lupe Velez, “I interpreted it differently but hey, who am i to argue with the Deadspin guy. I’m sure he’d see the ribbing as a sinister, unfluffy ritual were A-Rod a Cardinal, right?” And sure enough, the original scoop-worthy entry from Bronx Banter’s Alex Belth, aided by a passage from the September 9th New York Times, characterized the incident as….uh, good-natured ribbing.
From the Times’ Pat Borzi :
A row of Yankees at the bullpen fence rolled their left arms in an inside-joke salute to Rodriguez, who hurt his left shoulder sliding headfirst last week and looked unsteady in subsequent feet-first slides. œI™ve never seen a team make more fun of one guy than this team, Rodriguez said, smiling. œThat was pretty funny.
Though dumping on Leitch has long been in vogue around these parts, I certainly hope others who’ve managed to dissect his flimsy New York offering aren’t accused of harboring a vendetta. Like, for instance, River Ave. Blues’ Ben K.
Unless Alex Rodriguez is an Academy Award-worthy actor, I don™t think he was too offended by the shoulder shenanigans. He was laughing it up with the bullpen and dugout when that shoulder thing hit. The Yankees were taking a serious situation ” a potential shoulder injury to their number one slugger ” and turning it into a joke. No one on the team was unconcerned, but they were impressed that A-Rod was hitting bombs with a sore shoulder. To take it as anything else is, in my opinion, a gross representation of the problem. Next up is another claim Leitch makes that I™m not too keen to accept. œWhen Rodriguez and Boras sit down this off-season and make their pros-and-cons chart, you™d have to imagine ˜Chicago Tribune Won™t Run Photo of My Night Out With a Buxom Blonde and Write That I™m Into the œShe-Male, Muscular Type˜ would be rather high up the list, he writes.
While The Tribune may not run A-Rod out of town, Jay Mariotti and The Sun Times sure will. If anyone knows that, it™s Will Leitch who, at Deadspin, has written extensively about Mariotti. The Chicago media will be just as brutal on A-Rod as the New York media has or hasn™t been this year. They won™t suddenly display oodles of midwestern hospitality. Chicago is a sports town with a history of mediocrity and flat-out failure. They™re sick of it, and they won™t take it lying down.
As much respect as I have for Will Leitch, I don™t like this article. For reasons of journalistic integrity, despite the thoroughness of the New York Magazine fact department, I don™t like the sources; I don™t like how MLB never had the chance to respond to these ownership claims in Leitch™s article. And as a Yankee fan, I don™t like to imagine A-Rod elsewhere.