Daddy A-Rod makes an appearance at Dominican Republic camp

Alex Rodriguez reported for duty with the Dominican Republic WBC team today and it would seem that he's still being advised by both the best and worst public relations team of all time. For example ...

Bad move: Making a grand entrance via Maybach, a $350,000 car probably worth much, much more than the house your average Florida family was just foreclosed on last month.

Good move: Not having cousin Yuri Sucart behind the wheel of said Maybach.

Bad move: After a winter's worth of weird Madonna gossip, allowing ex-wife Cynthia to tag along at the start of camp.

Good move: Having Cynthia bring along daughters Natasha (4) and Ella (10 months) for a l'il family time (they've been together at other times this spring) and to help deflect and soften the questions concerning his Sunday meeting with MLB officials.

A quick recap of A-Rod's up-and-down day, from the Associated Press:

He found a way to take advantage of all the photographers following him, though, posing for pictures with his two daughters before taking the field with his Dominican teammate ... He said he sees his children at least once a week.

"I wish they were around every day," he said.

It's strange. I actually still think A-Rod is extremely human even though he tries his hardest not to show that side. Yet it's that carefully cultivated and sometimes poorly-advised image that keeps me from ever feeling the sympathy I should have for the daddy of two darling little girls. It's that vanity that will keep him from winning over the general public.

Perhaps that ongoing challenge is just life in the public eye, but I'm not sure I'll ever get over the feeling that A-Rod is staging a play he thinks we want to see instead of just being a regular person to whom we can relate. It's an interesting tug-of-war to watch, sure, but it's also strangely excruciating. Two steps forward, two steps back and all that ...

Follow the jump to find two photos that I think best exhibit the dual sides of A-Rod I'm talking about. (And just try to tell me he doesn't remind you a little of Jacko in that second pic):