Last week, a New York Post reporter asked Alex Rodriguez why he never shakes hands, "exchange fist knuckles" or acknowledges Bobby Abreu when Abreu homers in front of him. As to be expected, A-Rod's answer was typical A-Rod.
"I have always done that because I don't like celebrating on the field," he said. "When the hitter in front of me strikes out, I don't go over and pat him on the shoulder."
Now, Fire Joe Morgan's Junior has already done an excellent job poking fun at the insignificance of whether A-Rod high-fived Abreu after either of his two home runs this season. Yet, like all things A-Rod, the slugger's answer is oddly fascinating because of its breathtaking inaccuracy.
Besides the bizarre logic — no one pats guys after strikeouts, virtually everyone high-fives after home runs — it takes only a few minutes going through this season's photo wire to see that A-Rod's answer is a lie. He does celebrate on the field, though with varying degrees of enthusiasm. After the jump, view conclusive proof that A-Rod is talking out his keister when it comes to this topic.
A quick search of the A-Rod Yahoo! photo gallery reveals:
April 10, Kansas City (pictured at the top of the post)— Melky Cabrera was hitting in front of Rodriguez and homered. Please note A-Rod's total lack of eye contact or enthusiasm, and Cabrera's "WTF?!?" body language in return. OK, so maybe he wasn't exaggerating. Clearly A-Rod hates on-field celebration.
April 12, Boston — While A-Rod is at the plate, rookie Alberto Gonzalez scores on a wild pitch. It looks like two blind guys trying to high five. Or that Gonzalez is raising a protective hand because A-Rod is about to swat him for interrupting his precious plate appearance. Or it may be that like Cabrera, Gonzalez is trying to force himself on Rodriguez, who responds awkwardly to the unwanted contact.
What do you know? So far it does kind of look like Rodriguez truly dislikes celebrating on the field.
Well, until we get to celebrating his own home runs ...
April 2, New York — After hitting a two-run blast, Rodriguez engages in on-field celebration with Bobby Abreu. Note the joyous look on his face. Does that look like the face of a man who doesn't like "celebrating on the field?" There does seem to be a touch of uncertainty in A-Rod's face though, like he's not exactly sure how to execute the two-handed five.
April 16, New York — After homering, A-Rod accepts daintily accepts a high-five from Hideki Matsui.
What's more is that A-Rod also seems willing to celebrate with teammates who homer as long as he's not in the on-deck circle or the batter's box:
April 11, Boston — Look how high he has his hand up waiting to congratulate Giambi here. Doesn't seem to be all concerned about showing up the other team or setting a bad example for young kids who might see it and start to celebrate on the field themselves.
Moving on ...
Perhaps it's possible that, maybe, just maybe, A-Rod really dislikes Bobby Abreu?
April 5, New York: Rodriguez celebrates on-field after with Abreu after they both score on a Posada RBI single. And yet he looks like he's just been lobotomized. Again, no contact at all, from either Abreu or Rodriguez, and A-Rod seems to be slapping Abreu on the wrist. You could say it's the game situation, the Yankees are still down 6-3 to the Devil Rays, after getting blown out by Tampa the night before — but come on, these are the New York Yankees, and the $300 Million Man turns into a zombie at the thought of losing two straight to the Devil Rays?
April 7, New York — Check out this video clip of Abreu's first home run/A-Rod's non-response
So why doesn't A-Rod congratulate Bobby Abreu after he hits a home run?
The answer is almost certainly that he has his batting routine, and he wants to focus on his own at bat.
But can we even conceive of A-Rod just saying that?
Of course not. He is psychologically incapable of just giving an honest answer. As always, he tries to give the perfect super answer he thinks everyone wants to hear — "I am the ultimate team player, I am trying to give the team the best chance to win, I don't want to show up the opposing pitcher and the opposing team, I am a gentleman. I am perfect."
But in this case, he is none of the above.
Instead, he's a simple liar.
Just like the rest of us.
Read more David Chalk at Bugs & Cranks, where he focuses on the Tampa Bay baseball club (who he stubbornly insists on still calling the "Devil Rays.")