A-Rod And The Power Of The Excuse

We all lie to ourselves.

We’re good at it.

We know exactly how to talk ourselves into things and how to explain our own behavior to ourselves.

We use those explanations adeptly, whenever we’re asked awkward questions.

My dad beat me. My mother was a prima donna. My dog always preferred my little brother.

I am a victim, don’t you see?

That’s why I lose my temper. That’s why I can be rude and uncaring. That’s why I act spoiled.

Nobody ever spoiled me, don’t you get it? That’s why I have to spoil myself.

Society’s latest victim, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, wants you to understand that he’s truly misunderstood.

He’s living a nightmare. The sort of $100 million nightmare that you couldn’t possibly grasp. He’s having his legacy taken out from under him.

There have been those who have tried in subtle, intelligent, even oblique ways to delve into what makes A-Rod a lightning rod for dislike.

So sad.

So sad.

George Vecsey of the New York Times offers that Rodriguez’s dad had inexplicably walked out and never come back.

His conclusion: “He never had that stern voice in his ear that said, “Alex — don’t!”

Others have pointed to his hiring of agent Scott Boras, who had him read a statement to his first employers, the Seattle Mariners, that they were “low class.”

David Brooks of the New York Times wonders whether Rodriguez suffered from vast “self-preoccupation.”

Oh, we all do.

Paul Krugman of the New York Times believes that A-Rod’s reluctance to share his wealth with the New York Yankees is a terrible omen for the economy.

I am so sorry. That may not have (yet) been written.

I wonder, though, whether all of us, when faced with A-Rod’s vast life disadvantages, would behave in quite the same way as he has.

It’s a natural instinct for us to excuse people. We want to believe that everyone has a decent core, that everyone is a little more like we think we are.

And yet not everyone whose father left them when they were nine behaves like A-Rod.

It is even true, I understand, that not everyone who hires Scott Boras immediately begins to cause anal pain to all around them.

I can feel you sniffing for evidence. Barry Zito hired Scott Boras. There is no more upstanding — especially in adversity — ballplayer than Zito.

Sometimes, as we know with ourselves, excuses aren’t real.

They are things we make up to do just that — excuse our weaknesses, our failures and all the things that we just don’t like about ourselves and even our shrinks don’t like about us.

There seems little doubt that Rodriguez has been singled out because there are very few people who like him.

Last night, as he was being pilloried by the righteous, ESPN was showing the very high and mighty hitting coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He is called Mark McGwire. He stalled the Senate with his high and mighty nonsense about not wanting to talk about the past.

Major League Baseball has embraced him like a long-lost friend who was always just around the corner. The people who run baseball obviously like McGwire.

They’ve told him that by approving of his return.

Not realizing why you’re dislikable can be a trait belonging to those from the most stable, comfortable and allegedly well-adjusted homes.

So let’s not make too many excuses for Alex Rodriguez.

Surely he can do that all for himself.

Yesterday, he explained that the last seven months had been “probably the worst time of my life.”

If that’s true, then he has led a very charmed existence indeed.