Alex Rodriguez is on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter. Let me say that again. Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez’s boyfriend, is on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter. He’s on TV a lot now, not only as a sports broadcaster and a guest shark on Shark Tank but he’s also doing a pilot for CNBC. There are a lot of people who do a lot of TV, like A-Rod’s doing now that his baseball playing days are over. Not all of them, not even close, get their own cover on The Hollywood Reporter. This is why I’m qualifying his title, as Jennifer Lopez’s boyfriend, because that’s exactly why he’s enjoyed such a high profile the last six months.
The title of THR’s piece, however, is The Redemption of A-Rod Will Be Televised. We are watching him making himself over. And he says the key to doing that is “you have to own your sh-t”. Does he though? There’s a lot of A-Rod positioning in this article. And, to be fair, he does a good job of rebranding himself, hitting his key messages effectively so that the takeaway here is that he’s a hard worker, he’s always prepared, he’s recommitted himself to this next phase of his life, and that he’s earned another chance. After cheating the game that he claims to have loved so much, he's done his time (benched for a year) and he wants you to believe he’s not an asshole anymore. Like I said, it’s a good story. And he’s telling it well. But it’s more of a pivot than it is an ownership of one’s sh-t. The fact that he’s talking to The Hollywood Reporter and, say, not Sports Illustrated kind of ensures that. Of course his job is in front of the camera now, on set or in a studio, and not on the field. So putting THR on his press tour certainly makes sense. It’s also where you go when you’re a celebrity as opposed to an athlete. And A-Rod, even during his time as a professional athlete, has always behaved like a celebrity. I’m special. I’m entitled. I can get away with it. Even when I can’t. I’ll rely on my star power to help me across that bridge.
Still, like I said, if the point was to sell himself in The Hollywood Reporter as an engaged businessman focused on his post-MLB projects with a solid work ethic reintroducing himself as a kinder, gentler, humbled version of persona, A-Rod hit a solid double here, maybe even a triple. Fame is clearly a game he can play.
Part of the fame game though is an increased spotlight on your personal life. That’s JLO. And A-Rod pretends to not want to get into too much JLO in this interview, even though, come on now, his connection to her is the only reason this is happening. Right. But there’s JLO Facetiming him during one of his interviews with the reporter.
Earlier this year, Fox signed him to a multiyear deal as a full-time analyst. But he wasn't looking for a broadcast job when the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs in 2015, partly because he didn't think he'd be good at it. It's a running theme in Rodriguez's life: his inferiority complex. It's his Achilles' heel — and what drives him.
"He needed reinforcement that he was the best," says (Pete) Rose. "Some players just want be told every day how good they are. I mean, Alex was so good, I don't even think he understood how good he was. He always needed that little pat on the back to substantiate that."
Imposter syndrome and inferiority complexes, siblings in the same family. So what role does Jennifer Lopez play? The cheerleader. Sitting in a side chair.