Purgatory Online

Saturday, February 14, 2004

"ESPN News Services" is reporting that Alex Rodriguez may be dealt to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano, Jose Contreras, and minor league catcher Dioner Navarro. Rodriguez is said to have agreed in principle to play third base.

I am, of course, skeptical. It's not that the Yankees and Rangers have pulled off crazier nonsense, although this would rank way, way up there for both franchises (especially the bit involving Rodriguez playing third, while the much less talented Jeter plays short). But moving a contract that big, as we saw during the Rangers-Red Sox fiasco this winter, leads to all kinds of unforseen consequences. Then again, when you're egomaniacal, rich, and insane - hi, Mister Steinbrenner! - those kinds of obstacles tend to fade into the background a bit.

We'll have to wait and see, of course. In the meantime, though, let me say the following to ESPN:

1. Please hire people who can write better ledes than "The Yankees are in serious discussions with the Rangers to acquire Alex Rodriguez and move him to third base, where he'd play alongside shortstop Derek Jeter, if you are to believe Newsday." If I am to believe Newsday? Is there some Newsday believability scandal I should know about? Also, try to avoid consecutive subordinate clauses at the end of a sentence.

2. The guy's name is "Alex Rodriguez," not "A-Rod." Yes, we all call him that. But not in a straight news story, okay? And the following needs to be sent back to the teacher for an edit or five:

The Red Sox and Rangers talked extensively this winter about a deal involving A-Rod, but could not get it done, thanks to A-Rod's contract. The two teams did agree to a trade in December, but the union refused to approve it, declaring that A-Rod was setting an unacceptable precedent by diminishing his contract's value.

Rangers owner Tom Hicks then announced that Rodriguez would stay with the Rangers, and last month the team named A-Rod its captain.

Thank you.