TAMPA, Fla. — - Even when Alex Rodriguez is in Vail, Colo., recovering from hip surgery, he manages to grab headlines.
Rodriguez is the cover story in Details magazine this month, though the pictures accompanying the story and the timing of the interview are grabbing more attention than anything he said. In one eye-catching photo, Rodriguez is nearly lip-to-lip with himself in a full-length mirror.
One player in the Yankees' clubhouse Tuesday saw the photo on the cover of the New York Post, and snickered at it with a couple teammates.
Copies of the Post, with the headline "I'm Such a Pretty Boy! A-Rod Madly In Love With His Mirror," made their way around the clubhouse.
The magazine's cover photo is benign, of A-Rod with black pants and tie wearing a white collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up and collar loose. The other pictures, by Stephen Klein, feature Rodriguez in workout clothes on a mattress and in front of a mirror in what looks like a garage or warehouse.
"What was he thinking?" mused one teammate, who asked not to be identified.
Another wanted to know if Rodriguez realized he was being photographed, and was surprised when told it was a professional photo shoot. Most just shook their heads or shrugged, with a couple saying you would never see them in similar type pictures.
One Yankee said: "Don't worry. We'll be sure to make fun of him for it."
When shown the picture before Team USA's game in the World Baseball Classic, Derek Jeter appeared a little taken aback but said he had no comment, shaking his head and saying: "All sorts of articles coming out."
Aside from the curious photos, the most intriguing part of the story is that Rodriguez did the interview with writer Jason Gay on Feb. 5, the evening that A-Rod was approached by Sports Illustrated's Selena Roberts and asked about failing a drug test back in 2003.
So while Rodriguez was on the verge of being outed to the world as a former steroid user, he seems relatively relaxed in the interview. The writer notes that Rodriguez called him back the next day, not to clarify any comments about Bud Selig cleaning up the game, but to ask that his favorite Madonna song not be published. The writer says Rodriguez posed for the photos Feb. 6, the day before the SI report came out, and was "loosening up with shots of Patron [tequila]."
Among the things A-Rod reveals in the interview are that he is excited about the season and new teammates, that he has taken the subway to Yankee Stadium, that he voted for Barack Obama, that he feels badly for Michael Phelps (who was photographed using marijuana), that he briefly quit baseball for basketball at about age 12, and that he set fire to his family's Manhattan apartment as a small child.
WBZ-TV in Boston presented some of the media reaction on its website:
Chris Mottram, The Sporting News — "A-Rod does exactly what you'd suspect he does in his spare time: makes out with himself."
Marc Carig, The Newark Star-Ledger — "The photograph of A-Rod kissing himself in a mirror (insert your judgmental head-shaking here) is sure to get plenty of the attention, because it's exactly the last thing he needs about now."
Posted by Ryan Christof at 11:57 AM