Alex Rodriguez has always been an easy target.
He had a can’t-miss sign on his back as a teenager. Strike one.
He is now labeled as the best player in the game. Strike two.
He is paid like the best player in game. Strike three.
Last week Rodriguez announced that he’s going to play for the Dominican Republic in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and it seemed like the whole world took a shot at him.
Back in 2006 he debated playing for the Dominican Republic where his parents are from and he spent part of his childhood or the United States where he was born. He chose the United States and some people in the Dominican felt slighted. Most people in the United States feel slighted no matter what he does.
Rodriguez brings some of the controversy on himself. He tends to be too open and honest and allows the media to pick apart who he knows and where he goes and what he wears and how much he cares.
Rodriguez doesn’t have many flaws as a player, but he certainly has some as a public figure.
I have flaws, too. I make mistakes and haul around plenty of emotional baggage. My friends and neighbors also have flaws. We all live in old buildings and ride crowded trains and some made the mistake of being born poor the same way Rodriguez was 33 years ago just across the Harlem River in Washington Heights. Maybe that’s why everyone around here pulls for the guy when it seems like the rest of the world wants to shoot him down.
I suppose we could be out of touch or it might just be that people in this neighborhood understand what it’s like to be an easy target.