What won’t happen, despite what various reports say, is a quick resolution… For A-Rod to retire and for insurance to cover his contract, some very powerful insurance companies that don’t look kindly upon those who try to bilk them out of dollars will get involved.
ESPN, intrepidly plumbing the depths of anonymous sourcing, casts the self-loving Alex Rodriguez as a frightened animal. The Daily News describes him as a schemer, and The Post seems to be fretting about his psychological well-being.
This, I think, is what journalism teachers are getting at when they talk about the perils of anonymous sources.
Mr. Rodriguez, who had surgery in January to repair a torn whatsis in his hoo-hah, had been rehabbing politely and quietly in Florida. But for some reason one of his handlers posted this week to a newly christened Twitter account in Mr. Rodriguez’s name that his return was imminent. This provoked the Yankees’ general manager, Brian Cashman, to a salty outburst of petulance, which in turn sent ripples of ecstasy through the dank clubhouse of New York’s sportswriters.
…how do the people in charge of the Yankees, the ones who lose their minds over his contract, look at things if he becomes an asset again, and actually makes their team more interesting?
According to ESPN’s anonymous source, Mr. Rodriguez believes that the Yankees are intentionally trying to derail his rehabilitation as part of a plot to have him declared unfit to play, which, so the story goes, would allow the club to soak its insurance company for some part of Mr. Rodriguez’s $28 million 2013 salary.
Downtown, at The Daily News, anonymous sources are sure that, instead of trying to avoid being declared unfit to play, Mr. Rodriguez is absolutely counting on it. His only worry is to get the declaration before Major League Baseball takes a giant crap on his head by suspending him for the illegal use of drugs. Being declared medically unfit, The Daily News says, would allow Mr. Rodriguez to retire and collect the balance of what he is owed on his contract, which apparently is $114 million.
Back uptown, at The New York Post, anonymous sources are beside themselves with concern. Mr. Rodriguez is not worried about the Yankees’ scheming against him. He is not worried about carrying through with his own fraud. “He is worried about his health,” The Post’s source fretted Thursday.
“Well,” Mac says, “I reckon you’ve got your money on the Yankees this year.”
“What for?” I says.
“The Pennant,” he says. “Not anything in the league can beat them.”
“Like hell there’s not,” I says. “They’re shot,” I says. “You think a team can be that lucky forever?”
— Page 252, The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner, Vintage International.
I don’t understand the contract mechanics that would govern the reality here. I am guessing that none of the sportswriters involved do either. But I do know two things. One is what Benjamin Kabak wrote, excerpted above, at the excellent River Avenue Blues: Insurance companies are no pushovers.
Maybe the Yankees have some clever operators in their bullpen, but no way Mr. Rodriguez does. If he couldn’t hold it together to secretly break baseball’s doping rules, as presumably hundreds of other players did, or to carry on extramaritally with sundry floozies and wrinkled pop stars, as assuredly thousands of other players did, how is he going to orchestrate a medical coverup that will endure the relentless scrutiny of the Angry Actuary?
More to the point, how many John Grisham novels have to be made into movies before we get the message?
…[the reality is] that the Yankees need him as much as ever…
Two, and more important, does anyone believe that Mr. Rodriguez’s aim in all this could possibly be to retire? In other words, to stop being A-Rod? Because that is ridiculous. You do not need to see photos of Mr. Rodriguez kissing his reflection in a mirror to understand that. With all due respect to him and his family and what I am sure is a diverting list of hobbies, he has nothing without baseball, and if the insurance-policy gambit is at all plausible, you can bet that he knows his second act won’t be a return to baseball with another team.
When Mr. Rodriguez looks down at himself, he sees in those glistening, rippling minotaur haunches the greatest baseball player who ever lived. He does not see a misfit copout.
And presumably he knows that, probably, behind that mirror is a closed-circuit camera beaming back his every move to the headquarters of the Evil Guaranty and Trust Corporation.
- Alex Rodriguez tells New York Yankees officials he’s unsure of return this season (espn.go.com)
- Jeter: A-Rod is not a distraction (mlb.mlb.com)