As demonstrated multiple times over the past few weeks, Alex Rodriguez has a tendency to make a rather ill-advised public statement, only to brace himself for the punishment and/or public humiliation that follows.  As such, it should come as no surprise the Third Baseman seems more concerned about having raised the ire of a Yankee teammate than having offended the paying customers or baseball’s commissioner.  From the New York Times’ Jack Curry :

When Rodriguez was asked about Jose Reyes™s speed after the Dominican Republic beat the Florida Marlins, 10-1, he even paused after starting his answer to smile and force out a laugh. It was obvious he was speaking casually and was showing affection for Reyes.

œI wish, said Rodriguez, who stopped, laughed, then started again. œI wish he was leading off on our team or playing on our team. That™s fun to watch.

It is obvious Rodriguez should have chosen his words more carefully, but he did not say he wanted Reyes to replace Derek Jeter or Johnny Damon. He picked a dubious way to compliment Reyes, nothing more. Rodriguez likes to appease people and, in his world, saying he would like to have Reyes as a teammate was the ultimate compliment. Because Rodriguez has a cyst on his hip, he and Reyes may not be teammates in the World Baseball Classic after all.

Seemingly fearful of the potential headline, œA-Rod Wants Reyes on Yankees, Rodriguez later said, through a W.B.C. spokesman, that his comments were not intended as criticism of Jeter.

Rodriguez also called the Yankees and asked them to contact the New York reporters who had covered his news conference and repeat that he was praising Reyes, not disparaging anyone. He did a dumb thing. Again. But presuming that he was dissing his teammates is even sillier.

I fully expect to see a press release later today from one of A-Rod’s new p.r. representatives, affirming The Third Baseman’s willingness to act as a role model for kids and to speak out about the dangers of a) violating the league’s tampering rules and b) getting a swirlie from Derek Jeter.