Reporters are herd animals. That was made painfully clear last week when approximately 76 of us had the same idea: Hey, let's go to that A-Rod park dedication thing Friday night. I mean, I can understand why news cameras were there -- you can't beat a local A-Roid/steroid segment at the top of the show. But why was I there? Did I think A-Rod was going to break down crying, admit he and Michael Jordan injected Albert Pujols in the buttcheeks, and I would get the exclusive?
That was my thought when I first arrived to what was then technically still known only as Mark Light field, and was corralled into a small standing area with the rest of my species. It dawned on me when various speakers began thanking various UM strength and conditioning coaches, and then we watched wealthy benefactors pick at a buffet: This is not an exciting event. I was not the only one suffering from this horrifying realization. Variations of the following conversation were heard throughout the night:
Reporter One: So what are you going to write about?
Reporter Two: I have absolutely no idea.
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But local reporters have written tomes on more but-nothing's-happening happenings before (remember Elian?), and they soldiered through this assignment with equal nobility. Here's the Miami Herald relaying how Rodriguez opened with a joke. Here's the New York Times, um, relaying how A-Rod opened with a joke. And here's the University of Miami's official press coverage: approximately 18 words, and steroids isn't one of them.
My favorite A-Rod quote had nothing to do with the scandal. It didn't make any of the articles, but it illustrates the automaton-esque wierdness of this dude who, try as he might, can't get the public to relate to him. He was at the part in his written speech where he tried to describe his love for UM's baseball environs. "Coral Gables," he began. "Sixty-five degrees. Spirit of competition. That's the gold standard."
Spoken like a true human being.