A-Rod Show Continues Today

Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankee 3rd baseman, on cover of New Yorker, Feb. 23, 2009The pumped up Alex Rodriguez show kicks into high gear at 1:30 PM today at the Yankees spring training camp in Tampa, Florida. A-Rod will face the media en masse after his one-on-one with ESPN’s Peter Gammons last week left a lot of questions. In that interview A-Rod falsely accused Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts of stalking him and breaking into his home. A-Rod subsequently apologized to Roberts.

Expect a lot of hardball questions – Exactly what drugs did he take? Where did he get them? What did they do for him? – and some serious deflection and containment by A-Rod.

It is hard to keep up with all of A-Rod’s handlers, managers and advisors (Scott Boras, Guy Oseary, William Morris Agency, Richard Rubenstein). Plus, he supposedly has two therapists to keep his head on straight. Initial reports are that he will not be as open and contrite as Yankee pitcher Andy Pettitte was at last year’s Yankee steroid media confession. That would be a mistake.

What A-Rod and the Yankees want is for this to recede into the background as quickly as possible. Hundreds of baseball players took performance enhancing drugs. Because this is A-Rod – he has assiduously polished his squeaky clean image and he flat out denied taking PED’s before he was caught – he will be hounded and the Yankees will suffer if he does not get it all out at once.

As if A-Rod is not getting enough advice, here is some more: don’t say ‘to be perfectly honest’ and then say you can’t remember what drugs you took, as he did with Gammons. A-Rod is meticulous about his body, his image and his work out regimen. He can only get away with that once.

(top left, Barry Blitt, cover of The New Yorker, Feb. 23, 2009)

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Rubenstein PR Fingerprints On A-Rod’s Ass

Richard Rubenstein, Rubenstein Associates PR firm, representing New York Yankee slugger Alex RodriguezWho is covering Alex Rodriguez’s ass in his latest media imbroglio? Richard Rubenstein (left, in blue shirt and pink tie), estranged son of the famous ‘Czar of PR’ Howard Rubenstein, has confirmed that he is guarding the posterior of the best slugger in baseball.

What can Richard do for A-Rod that his weasel agent Scott Boras or his other agent Guy Oseary can’t? Richard isn’t talking but A-Rod’s ‘confession‘ has all the earmarks of aggressive PR hardball and a challenge to the media to back off. A-Rod was vague about what drugs he may have taken but specific about who the real enemy is – Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts. When you want to divert attention from the topic, you shoot the messenger – that’s hardball PR.

Richard’s father, Howard, has represented George Steinbrenner for years so that avenue is off limits to A-Rod. Howard’s other son, Steven, is heir to the elder Rubenstein’s empire but Richard has carved out his own mini-empire representing an odd conglomeration of small public companies, rappers, entertainers, and real estate moguls (he’s promoted several Trump projects).

See Gawker post on dueling memos between 5W honcho Ronn Torossian and Richard Rubenstein – two blustering schmegeggis who can’t spell and can’t write threatening each other with holy terror and lawsuits. These guys are … what? … 12 years old?

A-Rod Set to Return to Yanks Amidst PR Blitz

arodbookWhen you have a $250 million property, you go to great lengths to protect it.

Alex Rodriguez, who many admit is the best player in baseball, has a battery of lawyers, agents, and flacks who seek to protect and further the image and career that A-Rod himself assiduously seeks to diminish. The New York Yankees, the most successful and drama-laden sports franchise, occasionally spawn tell-all/shock books like Sparky Lyle’s Bronx Zoo, and Joe Torre’s Yankee Years, along with endless news stories, sports columns and blog posts.

When you’re A-Rod, secretly cavorting with Madonna, or Joe DiMaggio, marrying Marilyn Monroe, the stories spill from the sports section to gossip and celebrity – every word is dissected and analyzed, even silence becomes a statement.

A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez by Selena Roberts was released recently. It is the catalyst for the latest A-Rod mania, following his admission of steroid use (a story that Roberts broke). Selena Roberts is obsessed with Alex Rodriguez and she is no fan. As a sports reporter for The New York Times before she jumped to Sports Illustrated, she wrote probing, elegant, albeit negative pieces insinuating that the Yankees would be better off without A-Rod, the preening, self-aggrandizing, over paid diva. These days you can become a pseudo celebrity just by writing about A-Rod.

Yankee manager Joe Girardi lashed out against the A-Rod book  with an aw-shucks if you can’t say something good about somebody, why say anything at all attitude, thereby cementing his legacy as the anti-Billy Martin. Other sports bloggers have come to A-Rod’s defense: Why I’m skeptical of Selena Roberts’ new book, from SysterBall |  Selena Roberts’ Poison Pen, from the Yankees Republic | In defense of Public Enemy No. 1 , from Sports-Illustrated writer Jim Caple | Roberts’ book on A-Rod should be questioned, from KansasCity.com.

All this falls in the ’any publicity is good publicity’ category as A-Rod returns to the team this week, maybe as early as Friday.  The Yankees are slumping along without him.  Can he lift the team by way of his awesome talent and unfortunate personality? Nothing like the heated glare of the avaricious New York media to pump some life into a listless sports franchise – or drive it further down.

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A-Rod Slams Media in PR Home Run

Selena Roberts, SPorts Illustrated reporter, stalking Alex Rodriguez?Alex Rodriguez’s interview yesterday with ESPN (see video below) was a masterstroke of PR message and obfuscation. A-Rod was clear that his use of PEDs  (performance enhancing drugs) was contained to a “naive, stupid” time of his career with Texas when the culture of baseball was “loosey goosey.” He has been clean since he joined the Yankees and he implored us to look at the consistency and longevity of his career and not judge him harshly for an anomaly he regrets.

Since this is A-Rod he always appears to be holding back more than he is revealing and he is jockeying to enhance and protect an image clean enough for a Wheaties box (at least he didn’t get caught smoking pot like Michael Phelps). New Yorkers like honesty and they like winners, A-Rod said. All true enough, but what’s this bit about Selena Roberts (top,left) , the Sports Illustrated reporter who broke the A-Rod PED story, stalking him and spreading lies?

Selena Roberts is a highly accomplished sports reporter. When she was with The New York Times she wrote insightful stories about A-Rod and his damaged psyche hurting the team. She is coming out with a book on A-Rod in May that apparently he will not like since he consistently referred to her as something of a journalistic svengali. 

Sports Illustrated published a Q & A with Roberts, in which the reporter talks about the process of breaking the story and her efforts to speak with Rodriguez. She also calls the slugger’s claims “absurd” in an interview with MLB Network.

“”I’ve never set foot in the lobby of Alex’s New York apartment. I’ve never set foot on his property. It’s pure fabrication,” said Roberts, who did say she drove by Rodriguez’s house after receiving permission from Miami Beach police to drive on public property near A-Rod’s house. The Miami Beach police have a “miscellaneous incident” report of that conversation, but Roberts was not cited for anything.

Roberts also asked for and received permission from security at the University of Miami to enter the school’s workout facilities and talk to Rodriguez on Thursday. “I think it’s a diversion, a shoot-the-messenger type of thing,” Roberts said.


A-Rod Comes Clean

Alex Rodriquez, New York YankeesAlex Rodriguez admitted to ESPN today that he took PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) in 2003 when he was with the Texas Rangers. Quote from the interview:

“Back then, [baseball] was a different culture,” Rodriguez said. “It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve. I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time.

“I did take a banned substance. For that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful.”

Rodriguez, who joined the Yankees for the 2004 season after a trade from Texas, said “all my years in New York have been clean.”

Rodriguez also said of his 2007 interview with Katie Couric on “60 Minutes,” when he denied ever using steroids, that “at the time, I wasn’t being truthful with myself. How could I be truthful with Katie Couric or CBS?”

Good PR move, A-Rod. Now, let’s win a championship.