The takeaway from Jason Gay’s Details profile of Alex Rodriguez is basically that even with his comparable athletic ability, the Yankees’ third baseman’s likability issue means he will never transcend sports the way Tiger Woods or David Beckham do. Everything he says comes off at best as awkward and insecure, and at worst as coached and insincere. But the most damning thing about the interview is that it shows an astounding lack of understanding on A-Rod’s part about the way various things will be perceived by the public and spun by the media.
For example, the interview took place the day after A-Rod was confronted by Selena Roberts about his steroid use, but the day before the story became public — meaning A-Rod knew, and Gay didn’t. Which makes the article's opening anecdote so bizarre: A very concerned A-Rod calls Gay and asks him not to reveal the Madonna song he claimed to Gay as his favorite, for fear that opposing stadiums would then play it every time he came to bat. And here’s where the lack of savvy comes in: He doesn’t seem to realize that the minor annoyance of hearing that song in opposing parks (a song he likes, mind you) is far outweighed by the unflattering character traits making such a phone call would reveal. Not to mention the fact that one would also have to question his priorities, considering he knew full well that a far more incriminating story was just hours away from being made public.
The article is full of stuff like this. Did he think that a ridiculous posed photo of him sort of kissing himself in a mirror wouldn’t end up on the front page of the Post? Or that gleefully speaking at length about his admiration for Madonna (a popular talking point for your typical stadium heckler) wasn’t going to be laughed at, but admitting he once owned a fake I.D. (something he only does reluctantly) would somehow get him in trouble? Perhaps what A-Rod really needs on his payroll isn’t an agent, a publicist, or a crisis-management team, but a Red Sox fan from Southie to point out when he’s doing something that can be easily converted into an insulting chant and/or tabloid cover.