While all should seem happy in the New York Yankees' world as they are on the verge of clinching their ninth consecutive AL East title, another controversy involving Alex Rodriguez is all the talk of New York.
On Tuesday night, Rodriguez, Jason Giambi and manager Joe Torre downplayed an article in “Sports Illustrated” that portrayed the team as being critical with the way Rodriguez handled his struggles this season.
The article portrays Rodriguez as weird, aloof and stats conscious.
Giambi is quoted in the article as saying Rodriguez has a “false confidence” and that Torre should “stop coddling him.”
A-Rod, meanwhile, comes off negatively for comments attributed to him in the Sports Illustrated article in which he says some teammates have not taken the same heat as he has despite their struggles.
"(Mike) Mussina doesn't get hammered at all," Rodriguez said, SI reported. "He's making a boatload of money. Giambi's making ($20.4 million), which is fine and dandy, but it seems those guys get a pass. When people write (bad things) about me, I don't know if it's (because) I'm good-looking, I'm biracial, I make the most money, I play on the most popular team ..."
Giambi and Rodriguez both downplayed the negatives Tuesday.
“I found an enormous amount of support from my teammates,” Rodriguez claimed.
"It wasn't a situation where there was malice or anything," Giambi said, the New York Daily News reported. "It was just trying to find anything to help him out. ... I don't want to make it sound like we were fighting or angry. By no means was it supposed to come off mean."
“The tone I took to Alex is basically being honest with himself. And what I meant by that was, he had a tough series in Boston ... and I like to watch body language, he was making it appear like it was OK,” Torre said.
In the article, Torre is quoted as saying he met with Rodriguez because Giambi came to him.
"What Jason said made me realize that I had to go at it a different way," Torre said, SI reported. "When the rest of the team starts noticing things, you have to get it fixed. That's my job. I like to give individuals what I believe is the room they need, but when I sense that other people are affected, teamwise, I have to find a solution to it."
The article was written by Tom Verducci, who co-authored a book with Rodriguez.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Although Rodriguez downplays it, the article brings up the chilly relationship between him and Derek Jeter. The article questions why Jeter didn't defend Rodriguez during his slump, but A-Rod insisted that "people always want to look at someone's silence and equate that with a negative thing. I don't see it that way," the magazine reported.
According to the Sports Illustrated article, Rodriguez is viewed by some in the Yankees clubhouse the same way he is perceived by many fans: stiff and aloof.
"One thing people don't like is his body language," one unnamed Yankee said, SI reported. “Too much of what he does on the field looks ... scripted.”
Another unnamed teammate said for Rodriguez, “it was always about the numbers in (Seattle and Texas). And that doesn't matter here. Winning is all you're judged on here,” SI reported.
And one more tidbit that gives an odd insight into Rodriguez's personality and many concerns that his image is too important: When the Red Sox were in trade talks with the Texas Rangers for Rodriguez in 2003, Boston team executives visited the star at his New York hotel room suite at 1 a.m. Rodriguez answered the door in a suit with tie tight around his collar, Sports Illustrated reported.
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