How A-Rod Changed Everything, And NothingS

Of all the pleasures of this whole A-Rod business — and there are many — the best has been watching media outlets like ESPN and the New York Daily News dance their way around the story while still embracing it and licking its ear. "SportsCenter," in a move that would have been unfathomable five years ago, devoted two segments to the story, though you just know there's going to be an "Outside The Lines" on this within the next six days. (Bob Ley, we love you, man: Don't blame it on the blogs!)

Meanwhile, the Daily News, scooped on the "story" yesterday, more than makes up for it today, with an extended piece just full of drippy goodness. ("A petite stripper at the Hustler Club said A-Rod 'likes the she-male, muscular type. They brought me up to the champagne room one time. I spun around once and that was it. I'm not his type.'" We have to tell you, folks: "A-Rod likes the she-male, muscular type" might be the best sentence an American newspaper has printed since "Holy Shit! Man Walks On Fucking Moon!") But don't dare turn to the sports section: There, Bill Madden gets all "tsk tsk" about the changing media world, and Indignant Boy Mike Lupica is so above mentioning it.

As everybody already knew, there's nothing to be surprised about here: It's an athlete cheating on his wife while he's on the road. Really. The ultimate takeaway from this, however, is probably a good thing: No longer do we have to pretend that because an athlete entertains us by running and jumping, that makes him any different than an actor who entertains us by pretending to be someone else. As we've said before, no one ever says "Let's let Tom Cruise's movies speak for themselves." After this, no one can conceivably use that justification about athletes again. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe that's a bad thing, but it's a fact, regardless of how you want to respond to it. Athletes are paid entertainers, and they're finally being treated that way. And say what you will, but Alex Rodriguez is certainly being entertaining right now. Who said he wasn't worth the money?