Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Moving Target

It’s hard to pick out a moving target.

Carl Pavano. Alex Rodriguez. Bernie Williams. Mariano Rivera. Derek Jeter. Mike Mussina. Carl Pavano. Alex Rodriguez. Carl Pavano…

I fell asleep reading Chapter Fourteen and woke up feeling violated and confused.

Violated because they got me twice. I drop three bucks on newspapers every morning, but last night I couldn’t resist Michael Morrissey’s new book – $25.96 with tax – The Pride And The Pressure: A Season Inside The New York Yankee Fishbowl.

Confused because after skipping ahead to Chapter Fourteen: Pavano, I woke up to find Alex Rodriguez on the back pages of my newspapers.

I should have read Chapter Sixteen: Jeter/A-Rod.

The world of 24-hour baseball broadcasts and blogs moves pretty fast for an old newspaper guy.

I can’t imagine what it’s like for Alex. Sure, he’s an easy target. He is the best player in the game, maybe the best player ever, and he’s paid like it. Maybe he even brings some of this on himself. He makes mistakes. He doesn't always get his points across clearly. He is flawed.

I am flawed. I’ve made, at least, 103 mistakes today and often babble endlessly without ever making a point. There isn’t enough paper on this planet to detail all my mental and emotional troubles and quirks. Maybe that’s why I love Alex Rodriguez.

New York City is flawed, too. The sidewalks are cracked and the buildings are crowded and the trains are smelly and there are millions of people who made the mistake of being born poor, just like Alex was 31 years ago in Washington Heights. Maybe that’s why most of the poor people who walk those cracked sidewalks and live in those crowded buildings and ride those smelly trains love Alex Rodriguez.

Maybe we’re not as polished as the callers and the bloggers and the people who park themselves in front of their wide-screen televisions.

Or maybe we just understand what it’s like to be a moving target.

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