As genre pieces go, Seth Mnookin’s A-Rod profile for next month’s Men’s Vogue breaks very little with A-Rodology convention. Is there the requisite mention of A-Rod’s complicated relationship with former buddy Derek Jeter? Yes. How about a note or two about A-Rod’s image issue? Yep. Is it sprinkled with a few details you might not have known about the universe’s best player (ahem)? Sure. I guess I didn’t know that early in his career, ice cream was A-Rod’s whiskey and coke. Or that he likes art a lot.
Mnookin did get a couple of quotations from the star about the opt-out
moment. A-Rod claims he was stunned to hear it reported during the
World Series telecast. This is clearly a lie. A-Rod was sitting
cross-legged contemplating a bust of Dale Carnegie while Gerhard
Richter painstakingly limned the candle-lit scene. In other words, no
television was on in the Rodriguez mansion at that time. Instead the
dulcet sounds of Linkin Park (are they still together? And who were
they anyway? And why?) filled the cold rooms–frozen by the vats of
Breyers Ice Cream stored directly underneath in the vast underground
bunker that also houses A-Rod’s Hall-of-Mirrors. Why does A-Rod have
these mirrors? The convention demands that we use metaphors to
illustrate his image thingy problem.
Now wasn’t that paragraph a lot more fun than what Mnookin, who is an
actual talented and paid writer (unlike me, who sits at home again
recovering from some unknown, perhaps medical-paradigm-shifting virus
picked up from working in New York City’s public schools), gave us? My
point is that if you’re going to work within this tired genre–and
don’t we agree? It’s more or less dead–you might as well have fun
with it. Do something crazy. I liked Tom Verducci’s article a couple
years ago, which included the detail that Sox executives found A-Rod
impeccably dressed for their 2am negotiations. This creeped them out,
perhaps justifiably. But it also provided this reader with the exciting
possibility that A-Rod is an actual super hero, or that, even more
amazingly, he finds the whole concept of sleeping beneath him.
People, do you hear what I’m screaming here! The Choose-Your-Own-Adventure genre is a thing of the past, never to be revived. If we don’t start rethinking the A-Rodology tradition, a similar fate awaits. And then we’re left with what? Articles about what the guy does on the field? For shame.