Greed thy name is A-Rod

  • Larry Henry / Sports Columnist
  • Wednesday, November 15, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

You’re really disappointed with Alex Rodriguez, aren’t you?

You’re calling him greedy.

You’re calling him self-centered.

You’re calling him arrogant.

You’re accusing him of not being a team player.

You’re saying the Mariners ought to take all that money they want to pay him and invest it in free agents.

You’re saying the M’s ought to let him go. Put him out on the curb like a bag of old clothes and hope someone picks him up.

You know why I know you’re saying that?

Because I said it, too.

I get disgusted just like you do.

I told my daughter I was going to begin this column, “Greed, thy name is Alex Rodriguez.”

“Why would you do that?” she asked. “I think Alex is cute.”

It always comes down to cute with 13-year-old daughters.

“Because he is greedy,” I said.

“He seems nice,” she said.

“He’s a charmer, all right,” I replied.

What got me worked up was the same thing that agitated some of you: the list of demands Rodriguez and his agent have drawn up as they test the free agent market. I wrote last week that we were about to see what outrageous really is when Rodriguez’s wish list was put before teams interested in signing him.

Now we know.

The list has been well documented so there’s no need to rehash the particulars. Besides, my blood pressure soars every time I read them.

Suffice it to say it’s a much better package than the one Al Gore and George W. Bush are fighting over in Florida.

I knew there was a very good chance the demands were going to be absurd, but I held a glimmer of hope that common sense would prevail and that maybe the Rodriguez team wouldn’t go overboard.

Nope.

They went overboard.

Is this Rodriguez’s doing? Or is agent Scott Boras the culprit?

I suspect it’s a team effort.

It’s a team effort that is making Rodriguez look greedy, self-centered and arrogant.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s what he is, and has been all along, but he’s concealed it well.

He does know how to play the TV camera and, for that matter, print reporters: Smile, be humble, speak softly and we’ll build these guys up every time.

But he’s a heck of a player, too. One of the best. Works hard. Plays hard.

Seems to get along well with his teammates.

His teammates. Wonder what they think about his demands?

Is this the Rodriguez they thought they knew? Or is this someone else?

And if it is, do they like this someone else? This someone else who wants (here goes my BP) a private airplane, luxury boxes, his own marketing team and a clause that assures he’ll always be the highest-paid player in the game?

Not to mention the $20-25 million a year he seeks in a 12-year contract.

How would you feel if you were a teammate of his? I would think he’d better bat around .400, hit 60 home runs and drive in 170 runs a year, in addition to fielding flawlessly.

I’d think him a greedy so and so. And I’d wonder if he really has the best interests of the team at heart. Or only his own best interests. Because when you wrap up that much money in one player, someone else takes a hit.

It does create divisions.

A team caves in to all of one player’s demands and resentment develops. That’s human nature.

The superstar of all superstars was Michael Jordan. He is known throughout the world. Yet for years, Jordan was underpaid – by the standards of that time. When his contract expired and the Bulls opened up the bank vault, the feeling was that he deserved it because, by then, he had already delivered several NBA titles to the Windy City.

Rodriguez isn’t any Michael Jordan.

He is hot, as the 13-year-old girls say. There’s no disputing that.

He has had some big years. There’s no disputing that.

He deserves his millions. There’s no disputing that.

But all the rest of the goodies? Does he really need them to be happy?

Or is that just ego talking?

It’s the latter, of course.

Smile, pretend humility, speak softly.

Often the finest acting is performed in the clubhouse.

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