Common sense suggests that A-Rod is a bad person.
This isn't breaking news, but it's likely that Sports Illustrated's Selena Roberts will spin it that way when her much anticipated A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez hits bookstores in late April.
Look, we already know that A-Rod cheated on his now ex-wife with strippers and prostitutes and that he took steroids after lying about it repeatedly and unblinkingly. We've seen photos of A-Rod kissing himself in the mirror and we've heard that his own teammates don't like or respect him. We watched him girl slap the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove in the 2004 playoffs, and we've seen him distract a Blue Jays infielder with a well-timed scream in yet another bush league move. A-Rod said he yelled, "Ha!" because, "I was excited running around third base. I don't know what my intention was." Harmless, maybe, but if he truly believes that statement, we can add idiot to the list. And by "we," I mean the Royal me, a diehard Boston Red Sox fan, but that's not the point.
You do not need to be from Southie to recognize a pattern here: By any reasonable measure of a role model, husband or man, A-Rod is a failure. And if we know that much is true, how much more do we really need to know about this loser?
Roberts, who broke the story that A-Rod tested positive for steroids, isn't the only person who wants you to know more. Incredibly, A-Rod wants you to know more too.
He's hired a team of public relation gurus, the same ones who worked for George Bush in the White House. Maybe he's decided that he has nothing more to lose, except his money, and money is no issue for a guy who reportedly buys $1,000 gift cards in bulk from Victoria's Secret. It's no easy task to improve the image of a man like that, although the good news, for A-Rod and his handlers at least, is that he has nowhere to go but up.
Bill Simmons was talking about A-Rod on his ESPN podcast the other day with Chuck Klosterman or maybe another guest, when the discussion turned to how A-Rod should follow Kobe Bryant's lead and embrace his unpopularity. A-Rod actually might be taking their advice to heart because he recently was quoted as saying he's "given up" on the idea of becoming Mr. Popular. Maybe he's not an idiot after all.
Howard Suber, a professor at UCLA's school of Theater, Film and Television, writes in his book The Power of Film, that, when defining a hero, institutional power, physical power, sex appeal, technology, intelligence, education, and wealth don't matter.
"However, two kinds of power do matter:
1) The hero is better than the other people in the film, not because he possesses more of the kind of powers described above, but because he possesses higher principles.
A-Rod swings and misses in the higher principles category, so let's take a look at the only other kind of power that does matter when separating protagonists from antagonists.
2) The hero is better than other people because he possesses more of what, in the final analysis, defines all heroes: will power.
Well, it's impossible to quantify A-Rod's will to win, but any baseball stat head can tell you that A-Rod's production drops markedly in clutch situations, and that his former teams win more games without him than with him the moment he splits town. In fact, A-Rod's mantle contains no team awards and only individual trophies like MVP awards, hardly hallmarks of a hero.
To put it another way, A-Rod has nothing in common with scrappy cinematic darlings like Rudy Ruettiger or Frodo Baggins. Instead, A-Rod's similarities lie more with characters like Ivan Drago or even Billy Mitchell from The King of Kong.
So that's why we hate A-Rod, because he's a dastardly villain who represents a classic archetype that's rooted in our collective unconscious and tied to ancient mythology.
Or maybe we hate A-Rod because he's a bad person. It just might be that simple.