When I was a senior in high school, I was torn between two colleges. I wanted to attend SUNY Albany. I wanted to attend the University of Delaware. I debated and debated and debated, and on the final day I opened my desk drawer intending to read over each school's brochure one last time.
The Albany booklet was missing -- so I picked Delaware. (Five years later, I found the Albany information wedged behind the drawer, held in place by a moldy pretzel.)
Nearly two decades after the fact, I consider that miscue to be one of the greatest breaks of my life. At Delaware I learned to write and interview and report and, ahem, slug five shots of red Mad Dog 20/20 while reciting
Point is, sometimes, as if by fate, the worst news can evolve into the best news.
On Thursday the world learned that the beleaguered Yankees third baseman has a torn labrum in his right hip and that he might have to undergo surgery and miss as much as four months of the season. At the team's headquarters in Tampa the news was greeted like a decapitation. "We're collectively trying to figure out what is best to do," said
But it should be.
Ever since SI's
Generally speaking, I have little interest in professional athletes who cheat -- but Rodriguez earned my sympathy. Enough was enough.
Hence, this injury timeout may turn into the best thing to happen to Rodriguez. For the ensuing weeks A-Rod can vanish into the rehab abyss, living among the shadows of his more visible, active teammates. He can run and lift weights without being bothered about drugs; wake up in the morning sans fear of embarrassing headlines in the
Suddenly, the story is no longer A-Rod and performance enhancers, but A-Rod and redemption. Can the down-on-his-luck slugger return from X months away to lead New York to the pennant? Can a man whose history includes myriad chokes overcome his past to reach new heights?
See, that's the funny thing about we media folk in the modern Internet era. Whether such a philosophy is good or bad, we desperately crave the splashy story (the steroid scandal, the return from cancer, the clubhouse fight, the unexpected bonds between disparate cultures), but only until it runs out of steam after, oh, 17 seconds. Then, by demand and instinct, we turn our attention elsewhere. Yesterday it was the crazy woman with eight kids. Then the face-clawing monkey came along. Surely by next week there'll be an orphaned emu singing
If nothing else, at the rate we're going A-Rod can rest assured that other ballplayers will be outed in the ongoing steroid hunt, wiping him off the back pages in the same manner that he wiped off
So heed my advice, Alex, and bide your time.
In this profession, we all wield sharp pens ...
... and short memories.