Alex Rodriguez must have had a premonition. \nBefore just about every game he played for the Texas Rangers last year, he put on a recording of Frank Sinatra's greatest hits as he got dressed to go to the ballpark. Now, he's in the center of the bright lights of New York, New York, counted on to bring a World Series title to the Yankees. \n"I just really think it's the greatest city in the world. It's the biggest challenge that a ballplayer can have," he says. "I think when it's all said and done and we're old and gray and fat, it's like the Sinatra song, either you made it or you didn't make it." \nHe'll be under scrutiny like he's never known it. He went 1-for-9 with no RBIs in the opening series against Tampa Bay in Tokyo. A few more games like that, and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner is likely to make his opinions known in the usual manner -- blared across tabloid back pages. \nHis US$252 million contract may not stick out in the Yankees' clubhouse of All-Star multimillionaires the way it did in Texas, but A-Rod still is a lightning rod for attention. If there's no business like show business on Broadway, there's nothing like the Yankees in baseball. \n"Every little thing you do -- and sometimes you don't even have to do anything -- and you're talked about," says Derek Jeter, his new partner on the left side of the infield. "The biggest thing is everything is under the microscope here." \nComing off his first AL MVP award, the Gold Glove shortstop agreed to move to third base in order to get out of Texas and put on the pinstripes. His relationship with Jeter already had been dissected. Rodriguez says he just wants to fit in. \nHe didn't in Texas, especially last year. He tired of the losing, and didn't seem to get along with manager Buck Showalter. \nAt first, it appeared he was headed to Boston. But that deal fell through. Then came the mid-February trade to New York, the city where he was born, up in Washington Heights. \nAll through the offseason, Rodriguez and his wife, Cynthia, seemed a little agitated. He's not used to that. During his time in the public eye, he's always been a model: Slick in a suit or uniform, hair in place, teeth pearly white. \n"For me, it's the most emotional I've ever been in my life," he recalled one afternoon at Legends Field, the Yankees' spring training base. "I try to pride myself to be pretty cool under pressure. My emotions got the best of me there. We didn't know where we were going to go." \nAnd then came the deal on Feb. 16. \n"It happened so quick, and I was so jaded with the Boston [situation], I really didn't believe it," he says. \nWhile he went to Tampa to make the transition to third base, Cynthia came to Manhattan to make the switch to New York. \nSome players don't want to deal with the craziness of the city, preferring to largely limit themselves to leafy suburbs and the ballpark. Rodriguez, like Jeter, Hideki Matsui and Jason Giambi, is a New York kind of guy, looking forward to the restaurants, museums and urban life. \nHe may be one of the few major leaguers to own a Picasso, a portrait of Jacqueline. \n"In the minor leagues, when I first came up, all my teammates would make fun of me because they were all buying two and three and four cars, and here I am saving up my money to buy a piece of art," he says. \nRodriguez and his wife own three cars -- one for each plus a truck they share. But before he got married, he had another passion, one that brought him an outfitting deal with Giorgio Armani. \n"I used to be a clothes horse, but not any more," he says. "The last three or four years, I think my wife has taken a lot of that role." \nCynthia laughs. \n"I have a lot of catching up to do," she says. \nFans are more interested in his style on the field. Just 28, he's already hit 345 homers, including 197 in the last four seasons. He's a seven-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner. \nHis long, lanky swing usually is found with left-handed hitters, not righties. He has 20-10 vision in both eyes, and huge hands -- he wears XXL gloves. He uses his 1.90m, 99kg frame to maximize power through the strike zone. \nIt's easy to tell when he's in the batting cage. He hits the ball so hard, it has a much louder sound coming off the bat, the same as Mark McGwire's in BP. \n"I think my hands have a lot do to with it," Rodriguez says. \nBecause he's a right-handed hitter, his power statistics may decrease at Yankee Stadium, which is more favorable to lefties. He's a career .289 hitter in the Bronx with 14 homers and 32 RBIs in 41 games. \n"It's my favorite stadium in the world," he says. "I wouldn't admit that before, but privately I knew it was always my favorite. I love the energy. I love the background. They have great lights, real, real bright lights.'' \nAnd how. \nFans will be talking about him when he makes his home debut next Thursday against the Chicago White Sox. \nThen comes the first game at Boston, a nationally televised matchup on April 16. \nAnd a week later, the Red Sox play at Yankee Stadium for the first time since New York won Game 7 of last year's AL championship series. \nCompared to this, Dorothy had an uneventful trip to Oz. \n"I've had kind of a weird ability that the more chaotic things are around me, the better I play," he says. "My comfort level is probably in the eye in the storm, perhaps.'' \nSome players take time to adjust. Just ask Giambi, who hit just four homers during his first month with the Yankees in 2002. \n"Learning to set my boundaries was the biggest thing," Giambi says. "You play on a team like the Yankees, you're a rock star." \nYankees' fans are waiting to pounce. They can recite flops like Andy Hawkins, Ed Whitson and Jeff Weaver. \n"There are many players who are traded from other teams to the Yankees or the Mets in the history of baseball and failed in the first year or their second year because of the pressure of playing in New York," says former New York Mayor and Yankees fan Rudolph Giuliani. \nRodriguez pushed for Texas to deal him because he wanted to play for a winner. He made it to the playoffs three times with Seattle but never made it to the World Series. With the Rangers, he finished last three times in three years. \n"In Seattle, it didn't bother me as much because my whole thing is I wanted to emerge as a major league baseball player. I didn't know if I was a major league baseball player, so I had to look in the mirror and say, win, lose or draw, man, I have a family to feed. It's that kind of urgency of survival. \n"In the middle point of your career, now you're trying to establish yourself, and maybe become an All-Star and become one of the better players in the league. And now, you get to a point where you've accomplished all that. Now the next step is to try to become world champions." \nHe worked hard in spring training, arriving at 6:30am most days to work on the shift to third base. He talked about the switch analytically -- perhaps because he spent the offseason reading business books by Jack Welch and Donald Trump. \nDuring the season, when he's not at the ballpark, he watches baseball on television much of the time. \nHe projects the image of a driven player, always with something to prove. At the ballpark, he always seems to be doing something. And when out on the town, he always appears dashing \nHe disagrees with the notion that image is important to him. \n"We do enjoy our privacy," he says. "Image is a word that I don't like. I just think an image can be built over six months and it can be sometimes fake or not authentic. But a reputation is something that Wayne Gretzky and Dan Marino and these guys, they've built over 20 years. And I think that's what the fans get."
Two women yesterday morning attempted to hang a banner from the Acropolis in Athens in protest at the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics, but were detained by Greek police. The women, 18-year-old Tibetan student Tsela Zoksang and 22-year-old exiled Hong Konger Joey Siu (邵嵐), both US citizens, are members of the “No Beijing 2022” campaign, a statement from the New York-based organization Students for a Free Tibet said. They, and a third person, entered the archeological site as paying customers, and then Zoksang and Siu climbed some scaffolding, from which they attempted to unfurl the banner. A security officer rushed to them and took
TREBLE CHANCE: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is eyeing a third title in the California desert after winning in 2014 with Peng Shuai and in 2018 with Barbora Strycova Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Belgian partner Elise Mertens on Thursday cruised into the women’s doubles final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. It took second seeds Hsieh and Mertens just 54 minutes to defeat Japanese third seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara 6-2, 6-0 in the semi-finals to advance to their second final as a duo. Hsieh and Mertens denied the Japanese duo, winners of a WTA Tour-best five titles this year, a spot in their sixth final of the season as they broke serve five times and won the final nine games. “We’re very happy about the performance. Just
It is the world’s longest certified foot race: a 4,989km run that takes participants around the same New York block 5,649 times. Thousands of people have climbed Everest — but just 49 have completed the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race, organizers say. Runners finish more than two marathons a day for almost two months, on less than five hours of sleep a night. They cannot rely on changing scenery to keep them motivated as the route is a 883m loop on a concrete sidewalk around a high school in Jamaica, Queens. To mix things up a bit, they alternate between running clockwise
Sean Wainui, a rising star of Super Rugby with the Hamilton, New Zealand-based Chiefs, died yesterday in an automobile accident. He was 25 and the father of two children. His death was confirmed by family members and by New Zealand Rugby, which said “one of New Zealand Rugby’s tallest Totara trees has fallen.” Wainui played 44 matches for the Chiefs from 2018. He also played nine times for the Christchurch-based Crusaders and was a New Zealand Maori representative from 2015. Wainui scored five tries for the Chiefs against the New South Wales Waratahs in June, a Super Rugby record. Police said they were notified