But I wasn't wrong about the press, and this morning's New York Times contains the latest broadside against the Yankees' third baseman. The charges? (1) A-Rod owns some low-rent apartment buildings in Tampa and some residents are complaining; and (2) A-Rod's charitable foundation has been surprisingly inactive. While both of these subjects are legitimate topics for discussion, the rhetoric employed and conclusions drawn by the author, Selena Roberts, are way over the top.
While the article features some complaints from a handful of residents of one of the several apartment complexes A-Rod owns, Roberts amps up the condescension, accusing Rodriguez of "profiting off struggling families," and claiming that "[t]he veneer of Alex Rodriguez’s real estate empire of working-class housing is staged to disguise his inner Mr. Potter." Rather than simply note that Rodriguez wouldn't comment on the story, Roberts goes ad-hominem and says "Repeated efforts to reach A-Rod through three layers of publicists — think booby traps around a precious stone — were unsuccessful."
The relative inactivity of A-Rod's charitable foundation provides another platform for Roberts' curiously charged rhetoric:
An examination of his high-rolling corporate side, as well as a glossy A-Rod Family Foundation short on largess, reveals a portrait of Rodriguez as a player about to enter Yankee Take II solely for business purposes, primarily as a branding tool. He emerges as an obsessive pursuer of cold, hard numbers on and off the bases, with serially disingenuous nods to his ever-challenged image.
The evidence that Rodriguez only cares about charity for image purposes? That he is, in Roberts' words, "a cheap tipper?" (1) that he hasn't donated much to his relatively inactive foundation; and (2) that Derek Jeter "while he may have I.R.S. issues," has given $2 million to his foundation in the past nine years. How this is an indictment of Rodriguez when, in the very next paragraph, Roberts herself notes that Rodriguez has given nearly $4 million to a scholarship fund and to build a practice facility at the University of Miami is beyond me. Indeed, the practice facility donation is used against Rodriguez, as Roberts derisively notes that "the practice facility is named Alex Rodriguez Park." How dare he.
Rodriguez may be a bad landlord (though it's worth noting that Roberts quotes only three of his tenants, two of which complain and one of which says that the place is clean), and his foundation may not be well-run or well-conceived, but nothing in even this hatchet job of an article justifies the rhetorical bombast and personal attacks made by Roberts. She and the New York Times obviously set out to kill Rodriguez and do so, in a manner that would make the Post and Daily News blush.
Alex: you still only have a deal in principle. You haven't signed anything. It's not too late to pack your things and head out west. The only thing you'd risk by doing so is some bad press. You're getting that anyway, in spades, so why not leave?