Mrs. Rodriguez, not Yankees, the real loser in A-Rod mess

OTHER VOICES

The Kickoff

June 05, 2007|By HEATHER A. DINICH

They seemed to pity the "rich, handsome" baseball player who reportedly stepped out on his wife and into a strip club with another woman.

Alex Rodriguez got caught. And the New York Yankees are at an all-time low under manager Joe Torre this late in the season.

Those poor, rich Yankees.

During the early innings of ESPN's Sunday night baseball game between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, commentators Joe Morgan and Jon Miller talked about the unfortunate timing of A-Rod's alleged infidelity, how the already-struggling Yankees now must also deal with this so-called off-field distraction.

Morgan and Miller somehow made it a team issue, when in fact the Yankees' 31-year-old superstar has more pressing issues to deal with than losing games. He might have lost his wife.

In case you somehow missed it, the overpaid slugger's picture was plastered on the front of the New York Post last Wednesday leaving a Toronto strip club with a "busty blonde." He might as well have been wearing his pinstripes for how discreet he was about it.

How will all of this marital media attention affect the Yankees, the ESPN crew wondered on Sunday night?

The Yankees?

That's a question to be asked when a player or coach has been suspended, ejected, jailed or juiced - not having an affair.

How, gentlemen, might it affect Cynthia Rodriguez? Or their 2 1/2 -year-old daughter?

This has not affected the New York organization, a club that clearly has its priorities straight, despite trailing the Red Sox by 12 1/2 games in the American League East. Torre told the Associated Press: "Alex is a big boy," and seemed confident that the accusations surrounding his third baseman wouldn't hinder his swing.

"I know how serious he takes his baseball," Torre said last week.

Apparently, he takes it more seriously than he does his marriage.

It hasn't affected his game, just his image.

With two outs in the top of the ninth on Sunday - in the final game of the series against the Red Sox - Rodriguez proved what he chose to do off the field had little if any effect on what he did on it. With the game tied at 5 and facing an 0-2 count in the driving rain, Rodriguez hit what turned out to be the game-winning home run.

The only way this nationwide gossip will affect the Yankees is the realization that their $252 million third baseman has become a joke, complete with the tabloid nickname "Stray-Rod."

The headline in the New York Post yesterday morning?

"RIP CLUB: A-Rod's blast in the ninth undresses Sox."

Aww. There they go again, making fun of him.

Morgan sympathized.

Baseball players, he said, aren't used to having their private lives documented on the front of newspapers, aren't accustomed to paparazzi tracking them like Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton.

Truth is, most of them aren't used to getting caught.

Let's not be naive. It's hardly as if athletes cheating on their wives can be considered "news," especially in a nomadic sport like baseball, where players spend months on the road in hotels.

It just tends to stay in the clubhouses, the hotels and the living rooms of those involved. Exactly where it should.

Morgan actually went so far as to say it's "tough to be a rich, handsome athlete."

It should be.

Imagine how "tough" it is to be Mrs. Rodriguez.

heather.dinich@baltsun.com

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