Though quite pleased to pose for the cover of April’s Men’s Vogue, Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez seems to consider “Feeding The Monster” author Seth Mnookin a less sympathetic shoulder to cry on than say, Katie Couric.
When I got in touch with a spokesman for the Yankees, I was told that he’d be unable to arrange a single interview concerning Rodriguez with anyone associated with the team. After several conversations and without any explanation, a personal friend of the superstar’s stopped returning my calls. Many of the friends, journalists, players, and baseball executives who would speak insisted that their comments be off the record.
Even Rodriguez seems unsure of how best to present himself to the world. After sitting for a photo shoot for this magazine and agreeing to let a reporter visit him at his house in Miami, Rodriguez decided he’d be more comfortable answering questions e-mailed to his new handler, Guy Oseary, a man better known for managing the affairs of Madonna and Lenny Kravitz. Still, Rodriguez refused to respond to a handful of queries on such subjects as his reputation among his peers and his well-documented insecurity.
But A-Rod did answer questions about what happened on that October night when it looked like he was leaving the Yankees for good. “I was at home with my wife eating dinner and all of a sudden it came on the television,” he wrote. “When my wife talks about that day, she says I looked like a ghost.” Scott Boras, Rodriguez’s cutthroat agent, had fed the news, apparently without his client’s knowledge, to Sports Illustrated and the Associated Press less than an hour before Buck announced it on national television. That move, Rodriguez said, resulted in his estrangement from Boras, who is one in a long line of father figures that he has relied on since his own dad walked out when he was just nine years old. In his answers to me, Rodriguez described that night as if it had closed a long, drawn-out, complicated chapter in his life: “I’m glad that time is behind me.”
Finally, after the World Series announcement, Rodriguez apparently put the brakes on his relationship with Boras. “I have the experience now to know what feels right and the conviction to raise my hand when something doesn’t,” he wrote.
Whatever happens, Rodriguez insists that he’ll now face the world as his own man. “When you start out in sports, there are so many different mentors and different people pulling you in all directions,” he wrote. “You finally get to a point where you say, ‘Thank you, but I can make my own decisions.’ My voice is finally being heard. And that is liberating.”