This story on Page Six of the New York Post about Alex Rodriguez just seems so ... A-Rod:
The Yankee slugger was spotted at the Mondrian Hotel pool in South Beach on Saturday afternoon having lunch with girlfriend Torrie Wilson. But A-Rod didn't order from the menu — sources say he's following a special high-protein diet and travels with a cooler of his own grub. Rodriguez was seen asking a waitress to heat up his special meal in the kitchen, while Wilson nibbled on the poolside cafe's chips and guacamole. A-Rod's rep declined to comment.
My favorite part: "A-Rod's rep declined to comment."
Second-favorite: That he "travels with a cooler of his own grub." (Rodriguez isn't at Yankees camp yet, but when he gets there, I hope there's a refrigerator next to his locker. )
A rich, seemingly spoiled and uptight professional athlete brown bagging it to swanky restaurants along South Beach? Some might wonder: Does he bring his own Blu-Ray discs to the movie theater, too? Is this why he's one of the "most hated" athletes? The next thing you know, we'll be hearing about how LeBron James likes restaurant staff to cut up his spaghetti orders for him. Joe Sixpack can relate, right?
Here's the thing, though: A-Rod is not going all Howard Hughes on us. This revelation, if true, should make Yankees fans happy. As soon as they stop laughing.
Like a lot of professional athletes/wealthy folks, A-Rod probably has a personal chef at home to make him meals. But since these meals are high in protein and part of a special diet, what do you do when you're out in the world? You can't necessarily rely on every restaurant to pack on the protein in an agreeable way. And if you want to take out your special lady friend for lunch or dinner, you can't very well do that at your home — even if it's a mansion or a castle, or wherever A-Rod lives in the offseason.
If she wants to go out and you're A-Rod, what do you do? Fill up at home first and watch your date eat? No, you travel around with a cooler of your own grub, like you're an EMT carrying a heart to be transplanted.
Rodriguez, while a bit eccentric, has the right idea. He's going to be 37 years old. He only played in 99 games a season ago. His stats, while still very good, indicate a career in relative decline. All he's trying to do is be the healthiest centaur possible, so the Yankees can feel better about paying him $29 million this season. And to improve himself.
If you could afford to bring your own food to a restaurant so you could enjoy a worry-free dining experience with friends and loved ones, you'd do it too. Perhaps you already have. How many out there have brought fast food from one restaurant to another to eat with your pals? Have you ever ordered a Whopper from Burger King and went through the drive-thru at McDonald's for fries? Anybody ever brought a pizza into a Chinese restaurant? Or wanted to? That's all A-Rod is doing. Only healthier, presumably, though there must be someone out there who lugs their Seattle Sutton's to Chili's on occasion.
It's BYOB to the extreme.
Not that it isn't awkward. Does he hand the hostess a chicken carcass and say, "Bake this at 375 for 45 minutes"? And how does A-Rod figure out how to pay for these services? Does he refer to a menu and work backward? Does he assume it's a service the restaurant provides, so he only offers an equivalent corking fee? Has he ever been refused? Would Sizzler do it for him? And what's his reputation as a tipper? These are questions the Yankees beat writers must ask him once he gets to camp. Inquiring minds hunger for the answers.
Big BLS H/N: Larry Brown Sports
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