If baseball were a novel and I had to write one of the characters, I’d have a field day with the Yankees’ current roster alone. Alex Rodriguez could carry a book all by himself. He’s physically magnificent and extravagantly, superhumanly talented — and extravagantly, superhumanly rich — and his life seems to be an ongoing mess. On one level he’s all tabloid all the time, but on another he’d fit a deep, psychological study about pressure and the fragility of personality and performance. So would I pick him? No. He’s the face of the modern game, but his story is essentially very old-fashioned. On reflection I’d leave him to a Fitzgerald clone to write.
Or there’s the gift any bench gives you — the bit player enjoying a couple of unlikely seasons in the sun. Brett Gardner, maybe. Left fielder, speedy base stealer, pesky leadoff hitter, average in most ways, but he’s enjoying a run of luck right now. The little runt is having the time of his life. But that’s a book about chance and pluck, and a hundred people could write it better than me.