- The Washington Times - Monday, July 14, 2008

Alex Rodriguez and Madonna are “just friends,” as the characterization is loosely defined among the representatives of the incredibly wealthy and famous.

Cynthia, A-Rod’s estranged wife, has hired two lawyers to calculate the cost of being “just friends” with Madonna.

Sports Illustrated has estimated that A-Rod will earn approximately $445 million over the course of his baseball career. That is not counting his commercial endorsements, vast real estate holdings and a Gulfstream jet worth more than $30 million. He and Cynthia have two daughters who will be considered in the financial fallout as well.

Three is always a crowd in a marriage, four if you count Madonna’s kabbalah group.

And Cynthia believes A-Rod has succumbed to the influence of the esoteric philosophy.

That makes A-Rod both a cad and a victim.

He apparently is unable to resist temptation and not just the charms of a vixen of a certain age.

A-Rod has a history with strippers and a former Playboy pin-up.

His record of indiscretions is destined to be used against the prenuptial agreement that he and his wife signed in 2002.

Money cannot buy Cynthia marital bliss, but it is a nice consolation prize.

A-Rod follows a long list of well-known athletes with wandering eyes.

That pastime wound up costing Michael Jordan $168 million in his divorce from Juanita.

Who knows what the final cost will be to Travis Henry, the running back with nine children by nine women?

Trying to be the father of our country is not cheap. The cost of diapers alone is significant.

Being committed to spreading the seed of joy takes an emotional toll, as Shawn Kemp discovered. He found solace in drug and drink after siring seven children by six women. Not surprisingly, this proved detrimental to his NBA career.

The 32-year-old A-Rod hit his 537th career home run to pass Mickey Mantle on the all-time list this past weekend. He is accustomed to playing through distractions, as scandals are euphemistically called in sports. He just does not have a grip yet on the distraction of October.

That A-Rod raised anew the name of a legend of yesteryear was somehow fitting, Mantle being a boozing womanizer of colossal proportions.

The loneliness of the professional athlete encourages the occasional slip. The hotel-heavy lifestyle led the wife of Andrei Kirilenko to grant the Jazzman one slip a season outside their marriage. No word on whether he has accepted the offer or is pushing for two slips a season.

The wives of professional athletes usually take two approaches: total obliviousness to the groupie scene or the total policing of it. Doug Christie’s wife embraced the latter. She did not even permit her husband to be interviewed alone by female reporters.

A-Rod being partial to strip clubs is part of the social drill of professional athletes, even if bad things tend to happen to men in strip clubs.

The cornerback formerly known as Pacman Jones now wants to be known as Adam after experiencing a spiritual epiphany in a Las Vegas strip club last year.

“There’s really just a lot of negativity behind [the nickname],” Jones said, starting with his six arrests since being drafted in the first round by the Titans in 2005.

It is not easy trying to live down to a nickname. This is not to neglect A-Rod as Stray-Rod.

He is enthralled with a pop-culture icon who has been around a couple of blocks, plus the block head who was Dennis Rodman.

Consider this: A-Rod made his big league debut at age 18 with Seattle in 1994, when Madonna and Rodman were an item for a nanosecond.

Madonna also is lugging around a spouse, if that small detail matters.

If Madonna commands A-Rod’s attention at the moment, it is not apt to last.

A-Rod cannot change who he is, no ifs, ands or kabbalah about it.

His only recourse is to start loading up the Brinks-like truck in deference to Cynthia.

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