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The Slump

Tom Verducci attempts to get inside A-Rod's head during the incredibly dark period between June and August. The article is fairly tough on Rodriguez's non-chalant attitude and chronicles what his other teammates and Yankee legends have been saying about him.

Yet that shyness has been his undoing. Rodriguez suffers from an astonishing lack of competitive arrogance proportionate to his immense skill. Jackson, for instance, hates the way A-Rod does his pretty peacock-preening practice swings and then lacks any physical presence once he steps in. Even his infamous gut reaction to Boston pitcher Bronson Arroyo's trying to tag him along the first base line in the 2004 ALCS -- Rodriguez awkwardly slapped Arroyo's glove rather than bulldozing the pitcher or first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz -- was a window into his softer side.
I have generally managed to be optimistic about Rodriguez's troubles. As with all great sports stars, they eventually come through in big situations. Most people won't remember John Elway's early career getting trounced in the Super Bowl, they'll remember the back to back championship he went out on. Still, I bristle when I see him swing and miss on a ball he should be hammering or shrug off a strikeout that effectively kills a rally. Rodriguez is one of the most talented players ever to play the game and all it takes the right play at the right moment for him to be one of the best ever to play the game.