Bill Simmons wrote an interesting article this week about A-Rod and his effect on the Yankees clubhouse. However, the most notable portion of the article is the part in which he sums up the reasons for our fascination with Alex:
No modern athlete brings more to the idea table. He plays in New York for a team that stopped making the World Series as soon as he arrived. He has made statistical history but cheated to do it. He’s our highest-paid athlete in a tanking economy. He’s the star client of this generation’s most despised agent. He’s handsome and articulate, only his polished personality is so contrived nobody can connect to him. If gossip rags and blogs had a Thank God for This Athlete fantasy draft, he’d unquestionably be the first pick.
We love to question clutch; he’s notorious for coming through in small moments and choking in big ones. We love shortening sports names into catchy monikers; “A-Rod” works perfectly. We love taking those monikers and turning them into catty jokes; “A-Roid” works perfectly. We love “what ifs?” and he’s provided two classics: What if that trade to Boston had happened, and what if the 2004 Yanks had finished that sweep at Fenway and A-Rod had become a playoff hero?
I think Simmons distills the fascination about A-Rod into two concise paragraphs. A-Rod is not a media villain for one reason such as his contract or his failures in the clutch. It is a confluence of multiple factors that make him a magnet for writers desperate for a story. He is the perfect storm of wealth, looks, failure, cheating, and insecurity. All of these factors tie into each other and help create major stories where there are none. Hopefully, Alex leads the Yankees to a title in ’09 and the entire house of negative cards comes tumbling down.
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