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Last Year Is History
TOM VERDUCCI
April 30, 2007
So, too, is this April, but of a much happier kind for Alex Rodriguez, whose overhauled swing has reestablished him as baseball's most feared hitter
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April 30, 2007

Last Year Is History

So, too, is this April, but of a much happier kind for Alex Rodriguez, whose overhauled swing has reestablished him as baseball's most feared hitter

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Rodriguez keeps his iPod headphones on before games while the media has access to the clubhouse, avoiding comment. Where once he tried to be expansive and clever after games, now his postgame responses are cordial but clipped.

" A-Rod is like Picasso," Boras says. "He's like a great artist or performer. When the level of your performance is so great, whatever you do to present yourself to society is never going to match the same level of your performance. So what you say in explaining yourself and your performance will be held against you by others. So you realize that what represents you the best is simply the beauty of your performance. Leave it at that."

In his suite Boras watched on the big-screen TV as Rodriguez, already with two home runs and a double on Friday, fell short in the ninth this time around, lining out softly to second base off Boston reliever Hideki Okajima. (Similarly, Rodriguez would end a Boston series sweep on Sunday by grounding out with the tying run on base.)

"You know what they'll be saying now in New York," Boras said. "' A-Rod can't hit in the clutch.'"

Boras said it with a smile and added a small, knowing laugh. Like Rodriguez, he knows that New York can measure with an egg timer both sides of its love-hate relationships with ballplayers. But he knows, too, that Rodriguez is, in Torre's words, "in a good place and has been ever since spring training." It's a good place, known to few others, that is miles and miles from last season.

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