COMMENTARY | As he perfects his tan aboard a $300,000 boat off Florida's shores, I can't help but wonder if Alex Rodriguez has fallen off the deep end or is merely borrowing a page from his girlfriend's playbook.
In the past week, amid reports that he asked not be represented by his own union during his appeal of Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig's 211-game suspension, A-Rod has sued Major League Baseball, the Yankees' team doctor, and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. It's a storyline straight out of pro wrestling, a "sport" in which A-Rod's girlfriend - former beauty queen and Playboy cover girl Torrie Wilson - made her name. (The two have been an item since 2011.)
A-Rod's latest salvo was a lawsuit filed late Friday in which he accused Yankees team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad and the hospital Ahmad is affiliated with of clearing the third baseman to play in the 2012 playoffs despite MRI results revealing that there was a superior labral tear in A-Rod's left hip.
According to the suit, Ahmad's "careless and professional negligence" allowed A-Rod to further injure himself, later requiring major surgery. As a result, the suit alleges, A-Rod "sustained great pain, agony, injury, suffering, disability, hospitalization, as well as mental anguish and emotional distress." (The same could be said of Yankees fans forced to watch A-Rod's postseason performances.)
The news came on the heels of A-Rod's suit against MLB, one in which he accused MLB of orchestrating a "witch hunt" against him -one that has led to A-Rod having been dropped by two sponsors as well as ending up cut from an upcoming animated film. One section of the suit is titled "The Disastrous Tenure of Commissioner Selig," which, as Bloomberg's Jonathan Mahler pointed out, makes a nice bookend to another section titled "Alex Rodriguez and His Distinguished Career, Both On and Off the Baseball Diamond."
Distinguished career? The only thing I respect about A-Rod is his PR Machine.
As I reported back in August, as the Yankees battled to stay in the wild card race, A-Rod was the back-page feature on both the New York Post and Daily News every day for more than a week. The drama didn't exactly unfold as a surprise, as A-Rod's off-the-field lowlights, as I've also written about, have also included his opting out of his $10-year/$250 million in the middle of the World Series, canoodling with a stripper during a road trip to Toronto, and suggesting that he's gotten a bad rap because he's good-looking.
If A-Rod's reputation has been "permanently harmed," as he alleges in his suit against MLB, perhaps he should stop whining about losing tens of millions of dollars in potential future earnings and do what Wilson did to garner attention - become a "heel," wrestling parlance for "a bad guy." Heck, it worked for Pete Rose, who bridged the baseball-wrestling divide by making three WrestleMania appearances, including one in which he dressed as the San Diego Chicken.
Howard Z. Unger is a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York. For the past 15 years, he has written about sports, media, and popular culture. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, New York Post, and New York Times.
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