If any player not named Alex Rodriguez brought his kids to the Dominican Republic team's practice on Monday, it would have been a non-story that perhaps merited a picture in a puff piece about how Hanley Ramirez is handling his ascension to superstar status. When Alex Rodriguez does it, though, it's the family visit that launches a thousand words across New York City's morning papers.
Cynicism reigns supreme with Rodriguez, so each of those papers saw fit to mention that no other players brought their kids to practice on Monday. They also pointed out that Rodriguez was meeting with investigators from Major League Baseball on Sunday. Having your kids around is a pretty good way to make it look like all's right with the world. The pictures of A-Rod and his daughters give that exact impression, full of lightness and smiles and he said that their visit was about nothing more than good timing.
"That just worked out," A-Rod said. "I wish they were around every day."
That things just worked out is a bit hard to believe. A-Rod was also visited by a crisis manager on Monday, according to Jack Curry of the New York Times. With everyone focused on Rodriguez anyway, why not have him playing the role of family man? As Curry wrote, David Ortiz could walk by juggling chainsaws and not one eye would leave Rodriguez. For once, Rodriguez seems to be saying, we'll use all this attention for my benefit.
If he's paying for that advice, he should ask for his money back. That cynicism and downright hostility toward A-Rod makes it impossible for anyone to think he's motivated by anything but self-interest. His public image isn't in a place that's going to change because of a few shots of him playing with his kids. He doesn't come off as a loving father, but as a craven approval seeker and professional image consultants and crisis managers should know that better than anyone.
He's answered the questions of the media and the league; why not just trying to keep your head down and go about your work for a while?