Just Saying, Is All… | The Difference Between Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter

March 4, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

Preference is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Alex Rodriguez is a remarkable talent. He’s also, unfortunately, a relative tool. In 16 big league seasons, the New York Yankees third baseman has amassed Ruthian statistics—which would be better news if he weren’t doomed to be measured against the incalculable charm of Derek Jeter.

Ability is the sum of personal competence.

Applause, on the other hand, is the product of social comparison.

I’m not suggesting that Rodriguez is a total pariah. Last year’s World Series victory improved his image, and no one who’s hooked up with both Madonna and Kate Hudson can really be called a reject. But A-Rod will never match DJ’s Q-rating. In a media culture that adores superficial superlatives, there’s only room for one Everybody’s Favorite New York Yankee.

An unwatered flower never blooms.

An unworshiped idol never bows.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from A-Rod’s aloofness, it’s simply that public accessibility begins with proper cultivation.

Celebrities need fans more than fans need celebrities. Fame, fortune, free drinks at the club—they’re sources of affirmation, proof that a star has shined meaningfully in his moment on the stage. The catch, of course, is that no performer can will his way into the hearts of the masses. Critics will argue that Rodriguez’s awkward attempts at outreach make it awfully difficult to identify with him. I’d counter that the desperate nature of the attempts themselves makes it exceptionally easy to empathize.

It’s hard to be the uncool kid on the schoolyard.

It’s harder to be the uncool adult in the spotlight.

A-Rod may not be the sort of guy you want hanging around with you and your friends, but he at least deserves credit for hanging on all by himself.

Man becomes the world’s opinion of him. To be celebrated is to be called to acts worthy of celebration; to be scorned is to be driven to deeds deserving of scorn. The real difference between Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter is that we love the former less than the latter, and that the lack of our loving has made him all the less lovable. Every hero sets out to win the warm affection of his people. The one who loses the fight should be forgiven for seeking solace in the cool comfort of his penthouse.


You won’t find much fickle tabloid coverage in the Book of Genesis, but there are a few verses about a wholly arbitrary popularity contest:

And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering, but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Which is nothing if not a human reaction.

Because one cold shoulder begets another, and any outcast who claims to be unaffected by exile is either head-over-heels for the face in the mirror or only just saying, is all…

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