Monday, May 4, 2009

Come On A-Rod, Join The Human Race

You can start by breathing, or, blinking, or playing a game of word association. Things you can do without thinking yourself to death.

The Associated Press conducted an interview with the infamous, unauthorized Alex Rodriguez biographer Selena Roberts, after obtaining a copy of the A-Rod book.

The book seems less to do with A-Rod's drug use and misdeeds than his fragile psyche. Those of us that have followed his career, especially since he was traded to the Yankees, are still waiting to meet the real A-Rod.

He clearly is the unusual superstar, that he cares too much about what people perceive of him. Or maybe he's over-compensating because he's an empty soul and not capable of caring. Either way, I'll play pop psychologist and call it "Pageant Syndrome." Like those contests where everything is practiced and choreographed so that the judges (in this case us) hear what the contestants and their handlers think they want to hear.

A-Rod's hired the world's most relentless agent and is surrounded by a PR team - so we don't know if anything coming out of his mouth is genuine. And that's just off the field.

When he's on the field, he's an automaton. Yankee fans haven't embraced him, not just because of his late-season spirals (although that's certainly part of it), but because he's a mechanical man with a robotic personality. New Yorkers want to see you sweat, bleed, get dirty, and they don't mind if you fail. Just so long as you go down fighting.

No wonder A-Rod is obsessed with Derek Jeter - a true Yankee that will be loved not only for what he's done, but what he represents. And Jeter doesn't have to try to please anyone to accomplish it. He just is. Alex can emulate all he wants, but he will never be the genuine article until his own personality emerges.

Go ahead A-Rod, throw your helmet when you're mad. Celebrate openly when you come through in the clutch. Dive into the stands to get an out for your pitcher and your teammates. Just be yourself already. If there's anyone in there.

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