In response to our light tapping of Alex Rodriguez for playing for the Dominican Republic in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, reader Gerald Smith emails us to set us straight:
[A-Rod] is not the only player who is suddenly displaying national pride none of us ever knew was there. Manny Ramirez is also apparently playing for the D.R. even though he made a huge deal out of becoming an American citizen a few years ago, with running out into left field at Fenway waving an American flag and everything. [Ed. Note: We completely forgot about this.] So I guess Manny just became a citized for the tax benefits? And Barry Zito is playing for Italy - wasn't Zito raised by a couple of hippies in Southern California?
Of course everything A-Rod does is scrutinized more intensely, and to a certian extent I'lla dmit he brings that upon himself (hell, as a lifelong Yankee fan I won't tell you I am completely in love with the guy either). But to be fair the only reason he's getting heat about his comments is because he's the only player so far that has been asked to justify his decision to play for someone else besides the U.S. Go ask Manny or Zito to explain their decisions.
Excellent points, all. We love the idea of Zito hanging out with the rest of the Italian team, with blonde streaks in his hair and a soul patch, asking the other pitchers where he can find some nice spots for surfing. And then they beat his ass.
A-Rod: The World's Free Agent [Deadspin]
(The woman in the picture there with Barry, by the way, is Carolyn Gross, a motivational speaker on issues of office time management and morale boosting techniques. In case you were wondering what those people looked like.)
(Update: Zito has decided to play for the U.S. Which kind of renders this whole post moot. But hey, we like Zito's shirt.)