Figuring out how A-Rod really feels

January, 27, 2009
While we wait to hear from Alex Rodriguez himself about all those nasty things Joe Torre "wrote" about him, we must be satisfied with "friends" and people "close" to him. From John Harper in the Daily News:

    As for Torre, A-Rod indicated that anything his former manager may say about him couldn't hurt him because, as one friend put it, "He doesn't feel like he had any real relationship with [Torre]."

    In fact, people close to A-Rod say that he heard Torre characterized him as "a pretty boy" to his confidants during the four years they were together as player and manager, that Torre's close relationship with [Derek] Jeter kept him from ever warming up to A-Rod.

    A-Rod also told people that nothing Torre could say would be more revealing of how he felt about his player than the act of batting him eighth in the lineup in Game 4 of the 2006 playoff series with the Tigers.

    "Alex was really hurt by that," one friend of A-Rod's said Monday. "He believed that Torre did that to embarrass him and he knew then what Torre thought of him.

    "So anything that comes out now wouldn't compare to that. He's just surprised that Torre would talk about these kinds of things because he always told the players the clubhouse and the bond with teammates was sacred, and not to be broken this way."

I didn't think Torre should have batted A-Rod eighth in that game, and I said so. I don't think we can ever know Torre's intent, but I would be surprised to learn he was trying to embarrass Rodriguez. Well, perhaps as some sort of silly motivational tool. Most managers think they know a lot more about psychology than they actually do, and I suspect Torre falls into that category.

In the end, it's not apparent that move did any real damage. A-Rod went 0-for-3 in that game, but the Yankees were down 7-0 in the fifth inning, so that didn't really matter. And the very next season might have been his greatest. In fact, if you like making up stories, you can make Torre the hero for giving A-Rod the kick in the pants he so obviously needed.

Not that I'm buying it. But for a guy who was hurt and embarrassed, the guy sure did play well.



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