The big buzz around baseball today was the ESPN feature on Alex Rodriguez, written by Pulitzer Prize-winner J.R. Moehringer. I've made no secret that I'm grateful for A-Rod, even if I'm not sure that I like him, and this article is an outstanding read.
There's also a Giants connection, which is why you're reading this. Barry Bonds has been helping Rodriguez with his swing, and there's a brief passage about their time together:
(Rodriguez) plans to take the girls away for Christmas vacation, maybe out of the country, far from all the white noise and scary headlines, but then he hears from his friend Barry Bonds. He's been trying to get in touch with Bonds for weeks, to get together for a chat, maybe a workout, but their schedules are always in conflict. Now Bonds is back in San Francisco, so Rodriguez changes his plans, rents a house in Tiburon through New Year's and begins a series of sessions with baseball's all-time home run leader, the second-most notorious figure of the steroid era.
Second-most? Shoot, when it comes to notorious figures of the steroid era, Bonds is at a 762 and A-Rod is at a 654. There's a small chance he'll catch up, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
There's more to the duo, with a taste of Bonds trash-talking as he throws batting practice, and it's all delightful. There they are, two of the players on baseball's Mt. Rushmore of hate, just irritating so many old white dudes by existing, enjoying each other's company and doing baseball things together. It's splendid.
Oh, right, the headline. Well, Bonds had some life coaching for A-Rod.
The other thing to remember, Bonds tells him: sleep. You can't get enough, especially if you're an older player. Sleep, sleep, sleep.
Which led to this:
So on New Year's Eve, his head swimming with Bonds' words, Rodriguez craves a good night's sleep, but his daughters won't hear of it. They want to stay up. They want to drink soda until their ears bleed and watch Ryan Seacrest and have a dance party with some girlfriends, and also a costume party with Daddy and his friends. And not just costumes-onesies. Rodriguez sends someone to Target to buy onesies, and come dinnertime he's wearing a skintight pale purple Batman onesie, while his longtime pals Jose and Pepi are in Superman onesies, and they all can't stop giggling at the sight of one another.
A-Rod ignored Barry Bonds's advice and wore a purple, skintight Batman onesie. Makes sense to me. Exactly the sentence I expected to type on the day pitchers and catchers reported.
I don't know if Rodriguez will ever be a sympathetic figure to more than just the hardest of hardcore Yankees fans, but sometimes it's worth remembering that he's human. Giants fans always got reminders with Bonds, just because the guy was omnipresent. Here's something that does the same for A-Rod, though, and it turns out that Bonds is a small part of the story.
Also, A-Rod ignored Barry Bonds's advice and wore a purple, skintight Batman onesie. Don't forget that part of the story. It might be the most important part.