Today is the release of the unauthorized biography on Alex Rodriguez that has seemingly pushed the superstar into the villain column of American athletes by revealing that A-Rod had once tested positive for steroids. Other than A-Rod's initial snap reaction that author Selena Roberts was "stalking him" (which he later retracted and apologized to her for), much of the attention around the book has landed solely on Rodriguez and the numerous allegations against him leaked before the book's publishing. That is, until yesterday when Yankee Manager Joe Girardi said he didn't understand "why anyone would write a book like this."
We picked up a copy this morning to get a feel for just how rough Roberts's treatment of Rodriguez is. The book jacket of A-Rod: The Many Faces of Alex Rodriguez claims that "Roberts goes beyond the sensational headlines." Going beyond the headlines here translates to the author playing pop psychologist of what she calls "the pull of his insatiable hedonism." To give you a taste, here's a random sampling of quotes from five sections we flipped to throughout the 246-page book:
"The attention tempered the insecurity that played tricks with his mind and even his sense of who he was. He would constantly ask friends if he was considered popular...He needed to be told that he was good, that he was special. That he was loved." (Pages 34-35)
"Alex said of Griffey, 'I want to be the guy who helps him win. I want to be the guy in the background. Whether fans like me and my personality, that's up to them.' This, of course, was far from the truth. The need for adoration fueled Alex's ambitions, and he thought he was destined to be baseball's best player. But he understood that fans liked humble players, so he became a student on how to play the media. He worked on perfecting his answers, as if each interview were an audition. On occasion, when his answers were ill received or sounded awkward or he appeared to have been rambling he would say, I didn't mean it that way. My English isn't very good." (Page 82)
"He wanted the competition, not just on the field but in the streets. He wanted to go headline-to-headline with Jeter. He kept telling the press he wanted to be part of a winner, but, as one former teammate says, 'Alex only wanted to be treated like number one, the richest player in baseball, in the biggest f*ckin' city in America.'" (Page 110)
"Alex loved Barry Bonds...Both were obsessed with fame. Both were enamored of their power. Both were insecure about their place in history. Both would do anything to be known as the best ever." (Pages 196-197)
"Alex's green eyes blazed in the pop of paparazzi's flashbulbs...All weekend, celebrity bloggers chirped about Alex's escapades inside a curvaceous hotel brimming with celebrities and models...Alex was now in Entertainment Tonight world, where he'd always wanted to be." (Page 230)
A-Rod's nightmare of an off-season is almost over. He is expected to rejoin the Yankees following his rehab stint as soon as next week.