I know it's not my usual fair, but after driving to Cleveland today (where I'm covering the Tigers' important four-game set with the Indians) and listening to a few segments worth of talk on the Alex Rodriguez saga, I feel compelled to weigh in.
In case anyone missed it, the Yankees' $252-million man was spotted (followed?) by a New York photographer cavorting about Toronto over the weekend. A-Rod and a blonde accomplice were seen dining at a steak joint, partying at a strip club, and lastly heading into a hotel elevator together. This is admittedly new and dangerous territory in the sports world, but honestly it's something I saw coming and, unfortunately, see continuing.
My wife gets magazines by the truckload about everything entertainment, and every week it seems a new Britney Spears, Angelina Jolie or Lindsay Lohan picture graces the front. The most compromising shots and most intrusive stories sell the best. Truth be told, about the only time I open one of her rags is when something eye-catching like that is on the front.
Fact is, we live in a celebrity-obsessed culture and athletes are to one segment of the population what actors and entertainers are to another. More than that, there's cross-over appeal in these type of stories. My wife even put her magazine down when a story of A-Rod's exploits appeared on SportsCenter yesterday (and for those of you that know my wife, you know that's a big deal).
Unfortunately, the millions of dollars athletes make and the grand stage they play on opens their lives to this type of public introspection. Some journalists would prefer not to cross that line, but 10 years from now I've got a feeling we'll look back and say there's nothing atypical about the New York Post story.