Sunday, February 15, 2009

What A-Rod should say to not sound like A-Robot

Here we are, four days into pitchers and catchers, and the biggest baseball topic in the media is still Alex Rodriguez. The only way he could get more press these days is to hook up with Octomom. (Now there's a reality show idea waiting to happen!)

And the best - or more likely the worst - is yet to come. A-Rod's big press conference is due Tuesday, when he arrives at spring training. Joe Girardi and many Yankee players, including Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte, will be on hand to give him moral support. (Incidentally, I loved the New York Post back page image today - it was cheesy but funny.)

The Bergen Record's Bob Klapisch writes about what we can expect out of Alex's mouth (Hat tip to for the link):
One person who’s spoken with Rodriguez says his handlers have settled on the following damage-control strategy: minimize the apologies, keep Tuesday’s Q and A relatively brief and make sure to not drop any more bombshells.
I'd think he'd be better off hosting a "Free Madea" rally, but that's me.

Seriously, A-Rod is a guy who has powerhouses like Scott Boras and Guy Oseary advising him. And they finally figured out that when Alex gets in front of a camera, he has a tendency to get off track, talk too much, and make stuff up to make himself look good? Sheesh.

The thing is with A-Rod is that he thinks he's media-savvy, but he's really terrible with the press. Like the whole Serena Roberts thing in the Peter Gammons interview. I understand that Rodriguez feels violated that she's writing a book on him, but he could have skipped the whole "the lady from Sports Illustrated is breaking into my house" part of the interview, and been much better off. And he would have had one less thing to apologize for.

I don't think the Gammons interview was terrible, but, as Squawker Jon noted, Alex should have talked a lot less - 35 minutes gave him too much time to make trouble for himself.

Was it fatal to him? Nah. Andy Pettitte may have been terrific in his spring training apology last year, but it wasn't his first crack at it. He had previously had his agents issue a mealy-mouthed admission when the Mitchell Report came out, that didn't go over as well.

So here's what I think Alex should do - watch the Mike and the Mad Dog interview he did in the spring of 2007. (Surely somebody on the YES Network has a copy of it.) It was the best I've ever seen A-Rod. He came across as candid and endearing and appealing.

When Mike and the Mad Dog asked him a sticky question - how he felt about Joe Torre batting him eighth in the ALDS - he hit it out of the park. Alex admitted to being upset about it (he said he kept on looking down the lineup expecting to see his name) but ultimately blamed himself for it, because of his lousy play in the playoffs.

Being sincere - or at least looking sincere - worked for A-Rod in that interview. He should try to remember how to sound like a real person in tomorrow's presser, instead of Robo-Rod.

But if faking sincerity is too much for Alex tomorrow, he could just say "I make $27 million a year. Kiss my asterisk!"

What do you think about A-Rod? Leave us a comment!


Anonymous said...

Keep it short and sweet ala All-Star game last year (another good interview) where he admitted he would struggle over the media not getting what he was saying. And then, trying to explain himself over and over (and eventually make it worse).

Hopefully someone tells him "you will NOT make these vultures happy with anything you say. So might as well practice self-preservation."

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