Steroids. Strippers. Prostitutes. Photo shoots.
Even the Yankees have their breaking point.
According to a Jon Heyman report on SI.com, Yankee team officials — including Hank and Hal Steinbrenner — have recently talked with Alex Rodriguez about toning down his off-field antics. A-Rod has, of course, managed to cram a few years’ worth of scandal and controversy into the first three months of 2009.
Heyman, a frequently target of Scott Boras-inspired leaks, says Yankee officials are fed up with what some have called “constant maintenance” of their star slugger. The Yanks aren’t too concerned with the recent prostitution allegations, but the team is concerned with A-Rod’s constant appearances in the news for all the wrong reasons. Heyman writes:
The most serious of the heart-to-heart talks occurred right after Sports Illustrated reported on Feb. 7 that Rodriguez was one of 104 players to have failed baseball’s 2003 survey test, as club officials used the steroid revelation as a platform to discuss avoidance of all controversy. That message was strongly reinforced again by top Yankees executives after A-Rod was rather indiscreetly picked up by cousin Yuri Sucart following a spring training game only days after Rodriguez named Sucart as the one who helped procure the steroids for him.
The Yankees’ message was, “Put all the distractions behind you.” And Rodriguez agreed, according to people familiar with those discussions.
“Clearly, you don’t want any controversies on or of the field,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “As to whether I talked to Alex specifically, I’ll just keep that private and in-house in the best interests of the club.”
Interestingly, A-Rod’s people claim he is “sealed off” from the press for now. In light of Selena Roberts’ upcoming book, I wonder if this story is yet another preemptive strike in the inevitable PR battle.
This story comes out one day after A-Rod’s YES Network interview with Michael Kay. (It’s the first video on this page under Multimedia Showcase.) A-Rod aced this latest public apologia, and in it, A-Rod spoke about how he is resigned to being unliked. He also expressed his belief that the full list of 103 names should not be released.
A-Rod, in Colorado on rehab, had no direct comment for the story. His people, according to Heyman, expect him to rejoin the Yanks during the first two weeks of May.