Rationally, we assume that it is much more agonizing to play an individual sport, where you can expect no help from any teammates, where you must depend completely upon yourself. But I believe that there are certain team players with the personality that turns that logic upside down, who suffer more pressure precisely because they are not alone, who are intimidated more by having to produce for their teammates.
No one, to my mind, fits that template better than
And it works the other way round, too. As successful as, say,
Listen, I can't feel sorry for A-Rod. He makes gazillions of dollars, and all too often he just doesn't get it. It obviously drives him crazy that his teammate of lesser ability,
Ah yes, the chorus: A-Rod hits in games when it doesn't matter and then fails in the clutch, so he's one of those selfish losers who just cares about his own statistics; he's not a good team player. But I think that, very possibly, the fact that he fails when it counts the most, may well be for the directly opposite reason which is usually attributed to him and other athletes of this ilk. What defeats him is not
I'll be curious. A few years from now when some other Yankee is the superstar and Rodriguez is the second banana, I'll bet he becomes a much better clutch hitter, and the fans will cheer for dependable old reliable, A-Rod. Or, in the best of all worlds, maybe all these years Alex Rodriguez would've spared himself a lot of angst if he'd been playing singles by himself a few miles away, over in Queens, at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center, instead of being in the Bronx, at bat, with his Yankees teammates on base.