From the Archive: August 14, 2006
Inside A-Rod's head? Here’s what I think, in a paragraph or so.
I think a lot of people work with an implicit distinction, however ill gotten or tenuous, between what is 'God given' and what is had by one's own will power. People may admire what is God given, but they don't necessarily respect it.
A-Rod has plenty of God given talent, one might think. But what has 'he', the person, that bundle of will power and psychic forces, done with it? People love David Eckstein more than A-rod. It is because of Eckstein's drive and will in the face of less god given ability that he earn respect. Jeter and Tom Brady are a lot alike (yes) and are very easy to hate as pretty boy superstars who can get whatever they want. But instead they are admired and respected because of their poise and command and apparent inner strength; instead of wilting in the spotlight, they can impose their will at just the right moment, even over people with perhaps more God-given talent. People don't think A-rod can impose his will. He has god given talent, but who is he, really, independently of what god gave him, they ask? He’s weak, he's soft, he can't get it done. All those fans out there have the will, but they don't have the talent. How can they not resent someone with the talent but without that ability to impose it? God gives you the cards, but you have to play the hand. A-rod folds with 4 aces.