Finally, Alex Rodriguez plans to put a lid on talk of his 211-game suspension and focus all his effort on baseball. But when you’re the centerpiece of one of the highest-profile drug scandals in major league history, quieting the rhetoric is a little easier said than done.
“That’s behind us now and I’ve shut everything down,” Rodriguez told reporters prior to Wednesday’s game in the Bronx. “I think it’s the most important thing for us now — out of respect to my team, my manager and my coaches. We’re in the middle of a very important pennant race. We’re playing pretty well right now and we want to keep the focus on the field.”
Developments (or, more often, “developments”) in Rodriguez’s case have surfaced on a daily basis since his suspension was handed down on Aug. 5. Since he is allowed to suit up for the Yankees during the appeals process, the punishment has been topic No. 1 for reporters in each city the team has visited over the last month.
That, Rodriguez says, stops now.
“There are so many great stories going on in baseball,” Rodriguez told ESPN.com on Wednesday. “And for us, we want to just focus on playing good baseball and 100 percent that all of the questions be about baseball. If there are any questions in the future that are not about baseball, the interview will end at that moment.”
This self-imposed media freeze-out also applies to Rodriguez’s legal team and it’s most outspoken member, newly hired attorney Joseph Tacopina. Tacopina first made headlines in an interview with The New York Times last week in which he accused the Yankees of conspiring against Rodriguez and “rolling him out like an invalid” in last year’s playoffs. He was at it again Tuesday, boasting to USA Today that he will “annihilate” MLB’s case against his client in court.
These comments have done nothing to help A-Rod’s public image, and putting a muzzle on his outspoken attorney may be the first smart choice the slugger has made throughout this process.