People say that lightning never strikes the same place twice. In the case of Alex Rodriguez, lightning not only strikes the same place twice… but three times… and four times… and in his case, what feels like a million times. If you happned to be living under a rock this week, or were merely inundated with Aaron Hernandez coverage, ARod joined Twitter, and it took him all of about nine hours to send his general manager over the edge.
To recap: on Monday, GM Brian Cashman was quoted as saying that Rodriguez was close to resuming game action as he works his way back from hip surgery last off-season, but that no timetable was set as ARod had not been cleared.
Fast-forward a whole 24 hours to Tuesday, when ARod tweeted a picture of himself with Dr. Bryan Kelly, who performed the surgery, stating that he had been cleared to play games. In an interview with ESPN New York, when told of the tweet, Cashman said that ARod should leave announcements to the team, and that he should, “Shut the …. up.”
At first blush, it seems the GM made a mountain out of a molehill. True, the tweet flew directly in the face of the statements of said GM a day earlier. And it is the GM’s job to remain cool and calm in all situations, putting out the fires instead of adding fuel to them, even if the player failed to follow the appropriate chain-of-command procedure as it pertains to releasing information. Furthermore, it could be argued that Brian Cashman has a lot more on his plate this season- losing Curtis Granderson twice, Mark Teixeria and (possibly) Kevin Youkilis for the season, Derek Jeter still out and a tougher division than usual- than going tit-for-tat with his lightning rod third baseman. All valid points.
On second thought, wait just a minute.
Let’s just be really clear here. Could Cashman have used better language? Yes, absolutely. Could he have gone with, “You know what, Dr. Kelly doesn’t have the authority to clear Alex to play rehab games, so we will consult with our doctors and go from there”? Yup. Should he have handled it more behind-the-scenes that with a member of the media. I bet part of him wishes he had. But there is absolutely no kick coming to Alex Rodriguez as far as getting the benefit of the doubt.
As out of proportion as the reaction may have been, as insignificant of an issue this was, and as poor a choice of language as it was- given the player in question, that the kerfuffle was between a GM and player in the public eye, and the relatively insignificant nature of the issue- I’m going to give Brian Cashman a pass here. Why? The man has had his hands full with Rodriguez for close to the last 7 years. At some point, one is bound to lose it.
In case anyone forgot, this is the same player who: admitted to using steroids after signing his current 10-year deal (and lied about it previously until coming clean in a really, really awkward interview); got involved with Anthony Galea, subject of a federal PED probe; went to Germany for a non-US approved knee treatment; flirted with two women in the stands during a game in which he was benched in the ALCS (a four-game sweep, mind you); has allegedly been involved in the Biogenesis scandal; brought the infamous “Cousin Yuri” around the team after being asked not to following his steroid admission; attracted all kinds of ridiculous attention for his lady-friends and sunning habits in Central Park; on-field, has performed far less than his contract value, including an absolutely inept 2012 post-season performance; and, after being warned that doing so would result in his termination with the team (if only!), opted out of his deal in 2007 during the World Series in order to sign his current albatross… a contract Brian Cashman almost quit over and never wanted to give to Rodriguez in the first place.
Again, Brian Cashman could have chosen better words, but at some point, all of that behavior, having to micromanage and account for it and “fix” it must be exhausting. And now, embroiled in a second steroid controversy and coming off a second hip surgery, after nearly 10 years with the team, Alex Rodriguez still doesn’t get it that less is sometimes more.
With all due respect to the player, he should shut up. To those who have said that Alex deserves respect- what kind of respect has he given the team over the years in being the center of all sorts of distractions and scandals? If he was any other employee, in any other field, he’d have been gone a long time ago, regardless of his ability. The fact that the Yankees are beholden to him doesn’t give him the right to disrespect the team, his teammates, or contradict the team. For a guy who has the money and means to surround himself with some really smart people, he certainly has a bad habit of taking some horrible advice.
If given the chance to do over, I am sure Brian Cashman would like to choose his words differently, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t mean what he said. Cashman knows better, has a job to do better, than what he showed on Tuesday… but that doesn’t mean he was wrong.