For the past year-and-a-half I’ve joked about the ARodissance that Alex Rodriguez has undergone. Whenever I mentioned it there was a hint of sarcasm in my tone – partially because in the back of my mind I always thought ARod would do something foolish, like we’ve seen time after time, to re-ruin his public persona. While he still might do something, for now he seems to have figured it out and there is no better display of his remade image than on FOX’s MLB Playoff broadcasts.
From NBC Sports – Rodriguez is taking his new job as an analyst quite seriously, Newsday’s Neil Best reports. Bardia Shah-Rais, the VP of production for Fox, said of Rodriguez, “This is not a hobby for him. It’s not a parachute in. He’s invested. If we have a noon meeting, he’s there at 11:30 a.m. He’s emailing story ideas in the morning. He wants research. He’s almost all-in to the point where it’s annoying.”
Pete Rose also praised Rodriguez, saying, “You’ve never been around a guy who prepares more than Alex does. Alex does his homework. He knows the game. He understands players. He’s into the deal . . . Frank does a great job in preparation, too. I’m the only one that don’t prepare as much as these two guys. I don’t know if that’s because I can’t write or what it is. But these guys do their homework and they ask questions and they ask the right questions and then you put that in with our experience, all the things we’ve been through and how good we get along with each other, that’s why it shows up on the TV.”
We’ve always known ARod is a baseball savant who is obsessed with the game. I recall a tidbit from Joe Torre’s book, The Yankee Years (humble brag that I’ve read a book), of when ARod found out Derek Jeter did not watch baseball. He was dumbfounded. Jeter would prepare relentlessly for each game, as did Alex, play his ass off, and then go home and live his life outside of the game. ARod, on the other hand, would go home and read stories about other players, check box scores, and watch west coast games that were still going into the early morning hours. He lived, ate, and breathed baseball.
Now, into his (maybe) retirement, that obsession is paying off.
In addition to his intelligent analysis, interviews, and pre-game preparation, he, along with Pete Rose and Frank Thomas, gives us wonderfully awkward moments like this.