From John Harper (Daily News):
Alex Rodriguez told friends Monday that he is “not bothered at all” by the reports that Joe Torre apparently took some shots at him in his forthcoming book, and dismissed talk of an “A-Fraud” persona or any Derek Jeter obsession as old news that no longer applies to his standing in the Yankee clubhouse.
“He laughed at the stuff because he is so beyond all of that,” one person close to A-Rod said Monday. “Personally he feels like he’s in a great space in his life and felt very comfortable last year in the clubhouse and with his relationship with his teammates.”
As for Torre, A-Rod indicated that anything his former manager may say about him couldn’t hurt him because, as one friend put it, “He doesn’t feel like he had any real relationship with (Torre).”
In fact, people close to A-Rod say that he heard Torre characterized him as “a pretty boy” to his confidants during the four years they were together as player and manager, that Torre’s close relationship with Jeter kept him from ever warming up to A-Rod.
A-Rod also told people that nothing Torre could say would be more revealing of how he felt about his player than the act of batting him eighth in the lineup in Game 4 of the 2006 playoff series with the Tigers.
“Alex was really hurt by that,” one friend of A-Rod’s said Monday. “He believed that Torre did that to embarrass him and he knew then what Torre thought of him.
“So anything that comes out now wouldn’t compare to that. He’s just surprised that Torre would talk about these kinds of things because he always told the players the clubhouse and the bond with teammates was sacred, and not to be broken this way.”
Most importantly, according to people close to A-Rod, is that he insists he doesn’t worry about this type of stuff, what people are saying and thinking about him, the way he did when he joined the Yankees in 2004.
“He says he got the Jeter stuff out of his system when he had that press conference (at the start of spring training) a couple of years ago,” one person said. “He came to grips with the idea that Jeter didn’t want to be his friend again the way they were years ago, and he stopped worrying about it.
“He’s heard the A-Fraud stuff, and he has admitted he tried too hard to make everyone like him when he came over to the Yankees. But since then he has become more at ease in the clubhouse, and he believes he is more accepted as one of the guys. He has taken the young Latin guys like Melky (Cabrera) and (Robinson) Cano under his wing and they really look up to him. He believes things are a lot different now.”
A former Yankee teammate of A-Rod’s agreed with that assessment Monday night.
“He did come off as a phony when he first came over,” the player said, “and I’m not sure he’ll ever be one of the boys, but he did seem to relax and stop being ‘on’ all the time after the first year or two.
“I do think he was different after he went public and said he and Jeter weren’t buddies. He seemed more comfortable in the clubhouse after that, and as new players came in, I think more guys warmed up to him.”
I think the onus of this situation cannot be on A-Rod. As Buster Olney notes, Joe Torre has done wrong here, not Alex. Joe Torre has broken his vow of taking the high road, not Alex. Alex Rodriguez tried too hard and came off as a disenguous person because of that. He’s clearly insecure, but that’s not really a big deal, is it? At the end of the day, A-Rod is with the Yankees and will be with them for a long time. Conversely, Joe Torre is no longer a Yankee. If I were to choose sides, I think the choice itself is clear.
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