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Only a few guys get to be The Man.
The Man has to be a) cooler than a Freon plant, b) living in Manhattan, c) the best at what he does and d) so handsome that entire secretarial pools fall off their chairs when he's still three blocks away.
In 2004 Alex Rodriguez is The Man.
The New York Yankees third baseman is the leading All-Star Game vote-getter at his position for the seventh straight year, is one of PEOPLE'S 50 Most Beautiful for the third time and knocks down a creamy $22 million this year. That makes him a hero, a heartthrob and Howard Hughes. That makes him The Man.
So when his people called a few weeks ago and said meet him at one o'clock at his midtown apartment, I figured, Cool! He doesn't even start partying until 1 a.m.!
"Actually—1 p.m.," his manager, Steve Fortunato, said.
O.K., so we get an early start on the suavefest. I couldn't wait to see his crib. I'm thinking mirrored ceilings, press a button and a bar pops out, sable toilet seats. Wrong, Robin Leach. It was lots of highbrow art, priceless china and photos of his stepbrother, Air Force Lieut. Col. Victor Rodriguez Jr., a munitions squadron commander. Big whoop. Where were the revolving beds? The tubs shaped like martini glasses? The home-wrecking French maid?
"Ready to go the ballpark?" A-Rod said.
"Limo, am I right?" I asked. "Or maybe your Lamborghini Diablo? Classic Gull-Wing perhaps?"