05/06/08 8:25 PM ET
Interview shows A-Rod in new light
Wife reveals slugger passed out during birth of first daughter
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
In the episode, scheduled to be broadcast on Wednesday at 11 p.m. ET, Cynthia Rodriguez recalls how the 11-time All-Star didn't come up quite so clutch on Nov. 18, 2004, when Natasha Alexander Rodriguez was delivered into the world.
"As tough and big as he seems, he is real wimpy around doctors or any type of medical situation," Cynthia Rodriguez said. "I was, like, not even having a baby; he was the one. The one nurse had a cold cloth on his head, the other nurse had the blood pressure on his arm and my mother was like rubbing his back -- and he is passed out on a couch.
"And I am there, in the middle of labor, and really, I am not being paid much attention to besides the doctor and a couple of nurses. And he is there, moaning. In between pushing, I am going, 'Honey, are you OK?' And are you breathing? Are you OK?'"
Rodriguez discusses a variety of topics in the biographical episode, with excerpts released on Tuesday by YES. Last week in Chicago, Rodriguez alluded to his previous troubles, saying that "the timing came from God" as he arrived 10 minutes after the birth of his second daughter at a Miami-area hospital on April 21.
The episode also detailed how Rodriguez met his future wife at a Miami gym in 1996.
"I scouted her out for a month," he said. "I wanted to see her routine, and I wanted to see what time she came in, see how consistent she was. And sure enough, she was like a machine. She would come in right after work and get on the treadmill and do her abs. And finally, I build enough courage after about 3 1/2 weeks. And I said, 'I know you are going to go do some abs after, and do you mind if I join you?'"
Cynthia said she knew Rodriguez was a celebrity, but she wasn't sure exactly what that entailed.
"I know he played baseball, because everybody in the gym said, 'Do you know who that is? And he plays baseball' or whatever," she said. "I didn't grow up in a sports-oriented family, so I wasn't aware that you could have an entire livelihood off of a sport. So when they would say, 'Oh, he plays baseball,' I always think, 'Oh, I wonder what else he does' -- like, 'That's a nice hobby -- but what does he really do?'"
Rodriguez also reflects on his childhood growing up in Miami, saying his mother, Lourdes, has been the No. 1 influence on his life. Rodriguez recalls that his mother would hold two jobs to make ends meet, working as a secretary in the morning and then coming home to rush off to her evening position as a waitress at "Latin America," a restaurant in the area.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez would spend his time at the Boys & Girls Club, playing basketball and doing his homework.
"I always thought I was real good at mathematics, because I would always count her tip money," Rodriguez said. "And I always remember, Monday through Wednesday, it was a little dry -- it was a little short. And it would probably be $18 to $24 [worth of tips]. But then Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I can remember counting that money, and it would be, you know, $38, $39, $42. If we ever got to 45 dollars, I knew it was one heck of a day."
Rodriguez also revealed that, years later, he campaigned for Yankees general manager Brian Cashman to acquire first baseman John Olerud, whom Rodriguez believes is, pound for pound, the best baseball player he has played with. The conversation occurred in June 2004.
"I said, 'Brian, listen to me. If you get this guy, John Olerud, I guarantee you we'll be world champs this year. I guarantee it. You know, you can take that to the grave with you,'" Rodriguez said. And he goes, 'John Olerud? He just got released! I mean, he can't even play in Seattle!' I said, 'Brian, trust me. Whatever you want me to do. Just give him a chance. Let him come to Triple-A, you know?'
"And then he said, 'We have, you know, two or three first basemen ahead of him.' And I said, 'Trust me. And maybe talk to [Joe Torre], see what he thinks. Just get this guy up here, and we will win.' Sure enough, he had an incredible season for us. [Then] he got hurt, and the rest is history."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.