A-Rod somehow seems unfazed by circus around him
David LennonDavid Lennon
David Lennon has been a staff writer for Newsday since
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Wait. There's more?
Oh, yes. A denial wasn't enough Friday for Alex Rodriguez.
Rather than calmly shooting down the "60 Minutes" report that said his "inner circle" leaked more Biogenesis names, including Ryan Braun and Francisco Cervelli, Rodriguez teased us with the idea that "bigger stories" are yet to come.
Then A-Rod excused himself, cut a path through a crowd of reporters three rows deep and joined the Yankees for pregame stretching.
For a guy on the wrong end of a 211-game suspension, Rodriguez has a funny way of acting outraged. And right after being accused of ratting out fellow major-leaguers -- the most heinous clubhouse crime imaginable -- he says things are "going to get worse every day."
What do you say to that? Thanks for the heads up?
It's getting impossible to know what to believe anymore, and maybe that's what Rodriguez was trying to tell us with that dugout cliffhanger. For months now, this has been a PR battle of the highest order, with both sides lobbing grenades, followed immediately by denials and an uneasy quiet.
Bud Selig has let us know what he thinks of Rodriguez by sticking him with a penalty more than three times as severe as anyone else's.
Regardless of how messy life gets for Rodriguez, he doesn't seem to be bothered much by any of it. Or if he is, it doesn't show.
Every step A-Rod takes, from the moment he walks into the clubhouse around 4 p.m. to the time he leaves an hour or so after the game, he is studied by a small squadron of reporters.
Most days, Rodriguez has to answer for something: being disciplined by the Yankees, getting booed by his own fans, whatever else might pop up on TMZ's website.
The big question Friday was how his teammates would react after reportedly "throwing people under the bus," as Vernon Wells put it. From what we observed, nothing about the Yankees' pregame ritual seemed much different, aside from A-Rod holding court outside.
But even that's become the norm since his Aug. 5 return, and Rodriguez clearly expects to be doing plenty more of these sessions before the end of the season.
"I think we're all going to have to get ready for a bumpy road," Rodriguez said.
Strange how A-Rod was telling us to buckle up, as if we're in the passenger seat next to him. He's not even driving the car, and he behaved Friday as if he were tied up in the trunk.
A-Rod ultimately might get that suspension reduced, but his many enemies are trying to make him wish he took Selig's medicine with a smile. Even his teammates aren't sure what to think. They sound as if they defend him simply because A-Rod wears the same uniform.
"I've always taken the stance he has nothing to explain to me," Wells said. "This isn't my story, and really this isn't even a Yankees story. This is an Alex Rodriguez story."
By A-Rod's choosing, we're getting only one side of it right now, and that side is making him look pretty terrible. No one is going to feel sympathy for a supposed rat, and as much as Rodriguez denied those claims Friday, those are never going away -- true or not. It's all in the game now for A-Rod, who continues to tease us with the most elusive part of his whole saga:
"When I have the right platform and the time is appropriate," Rodriguez said again Friday, "I will tell my full story."
So we have that to look forward to. Until that faraway day, get used to the seemingly endless cycle of denials, dekes and misdirection plays. Maybe it's not the full story, but it's the only one A-Rod feels like sharing at the moment.