A-Rod Still Centaur of Attention

Rodriguez lands back on the gossip pages

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Alex Rodriguez's charmed postseason has come screeching to a halt.

    Someone at US Weekly has apparently been watching the baseball playoffs, or at least noticed that the television ratings for this year's postseason have been through the roof. It's not the kind of reality programming they're used to covering, but they'll make exceptions for things that are popular. But how to tie into the normal Hollywood comings-and-goings that they cover? 

    Through Kate Hudson's relationship with Alex Rodriguez, of course. That puts Rodriguez right into their wheelhouse, and they came up with a doozy of a story to capitalize on the Yankees star's breakout postseason play. It seems they spoke to a former girlfriend of A-Rod's who spilled the beans about the decorative stylings found in his boudoir.

    A former Rodriguez fling remembers seeing portraits of the slugger, 34, as a centaur hanging over his bed.

     "He was so vain," his ex tells Us Weekly. "He had not one, but two painted portraits of himself as a centaur. You know, the half man, half horse figure?"

    Adds the ex, "It was ridiculous."
     

    What's ridiculous about that? What kind of aesthetically challenged dolt doesn't have a portrait of themselves as a mythical creature from Greek mythology? It's common knowledge that Chase Utley's entire house is decorated with pictures of him as a nymph, but he's not dating a movie star so no one cares about that.

    Of course it's ridiculous, as is the magazine's breathless reporting that A-Rod has been rocking Hudson's world as hard as he rocked the pitchers from Minnesota and Anaheim through the first two rounds of the playoffs. It's silliness, but it is well timed silliness. Since A-Rod is so prominent on the sports landscape guarantees it will be picked up in places where Us Weekly stories rarely gain any traction. Like here, for example. Well played, Us Weekly.

    It's also a well-timed reminder of the bad old days. You remember those days, don't you? It wasn't even a year ago that you could hardly go a day without reading a takedown of an aloof, egomaniacal A-Rod making a fool of himself and it was just six months ago that a whole book of assaults on Rodriguez was published to great fanfare. It was quite nice to spend a summer without hearing any of the normal tabloid silliness about A-Rod, even if it did lead to a copious amount of "What's changed about A-Rod" theories but it was probably naive to think that they were gone for good.

    Those were the same bad old days when Rodriguez was a playoff choke artist who couldn't stay out of his own way when the games got more important. We've had a reminder of those days as well this week thanks to Rodriguez's back-to-back three-strikeout performances against the Phillies. He's hardly the only Yankee hitter who has struggled over the first two games, but he's the one he garners the most attention which is why another bad game will give rise to a return of people wondering why A-Rod chokes, no matter what Kate has to said about other clutch performances.  

    He's not going to be able to do anything about the tabloid life, it's an occupational hazard, but he can kill the choker label once and for all with a big weekend in Philly. That may make him even more appealing fodder for the gossip rags, but it's certainly better than going back to the way things were for his first five years in New York.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.