The time is past for slinging mud at Alex Rodriguez for not being unsure what country he wants to play for in the World Baseball Classic.
Granted, as pointed out by It Is About The Money, Stupid, A-Rod did the "WBC Hokey-Pokey" before the 2006 event. He's predictable as John Gibbons was for leaving a starting pitcher in too long. One larger point, as noted about two-thirds of the way down the the Gordon Edes column linked to in the lead, is that the WBC is very much a promotional tool worldwide for Major League Baseball. Bud Selig and the boys might be crossing their fingers and toes hoping that A-Rod will play for the Dominican Republic, since it's an obvious storyline.
The U.S. team between, Evan Longoria and David Wright, also has two young, telegenic, handsome in a non-threatening way third basemen whom it can use in its would make and it might be hoping A-Rod plays for the Dominican Republic, since that would open up the third base spot for a bright, marketable young star in Evan Longoria.
The other reason not to hate on A-Rod for this is that everyone is a dual citizen nowadays. This is hardly profound. The beauty of living in this day and age (emphasized because at this writing, some jagov on The History Channel is going on about how he'd love to visit 19th-century France and hang out with with Voltaire -- that's great, hope the irony of wanting to live in the past when you're appearing on a cable TV program ain't lost on ya) is that it's particularly easy, especially if the sports is the vessel for that connection with the old country.
It's also a part a defence against that worst disease in life, nationalism. For instance, when Canada is playing in the World Junior Hockey Championship and the shinny jingoism has been put up to 11, it's an easy to cop-out to joke about being "one-quarter happy" if Sweden ends up winning.
As well, for a lot of us, that desire to connect with your roots crops up very strongly in your early 30s. There's that desire to feel a sense of the past -- especially in a world that's been redrawn more in in the past 10 years than it did in the previous 20, often seems strongest for people in their early 30s. You're no longer identifying yourself as someone's daughter and son, and are
It should be no surprise that the one pro athlete who always seems trying to please someone other than himself -- Madonna, New York sportswriters, Yankees fans, Derek Jeter, Scott Boras, not necessarily in that order -- would have the same duality of man thing happening.
That's not see A-Rod is altruistic; just think of the storyline if he ended up facing the U.S. team. It is just two-faced to judge his WBC waffling.
Who knows, maybe he just wants to avoid playing for Team USA, whose three first-round games are in Toronto. Bad things tend to happen to him -- getting caught with a mystery blonde, getting plunked in the leg by Josh Towers in '07 -- when he visits the city.
Plus he doesn't want to lose to Canada again.
(Now, it's off to Sport Chek to a buy a Swedish hockey sweater with No. 13 on the back -- for Mats Sundin, not A-Rod.)
A-Rod to play for the Dominican in WBC (Gorden Edes, Yahoo! Sports; via It Is About The Money, Stupid)