The Washington Times - July 8, 2008, 12:49AM

Every day for the past week, the New York tabloids have been filled with headlines with all sorts of speculation and sensation about A-Rod, his now estranged wife Cynthia, his relationship with Madonna and his interest in kabbalah (not a Coney Island delicacy).

“Poor A-Rod: Cynthia’s mom tells News she pities Yanks’ slugger,” Sunday Daily News.


“Brain-Washed: Has only seen new baby a few times,” Sunday’s New York Post declared.

If A-Rod thinks this has been bad, though, he ain’t seen nothing yet.

Guess who is writing a book about A-Rod? The cavity searcher of American journalism, the great Richard Ben Cramer.

Cramer, who lives on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, told Delmarva Reports magazine that he is currently working on a book about A-Rod, who Cramer declared is “the greatest baseball player alive right now.”

Richard Ben Cramer writes tomes — 600-page books that take great pains to reveal hidden truths. His book, “Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life,” made a nation turn its lonely eyes to DiMaggio with the legend and lore of the American icon stripped away to reveal a very flawed hero. The only thing he missed was Joe D’s obsession with hanging out at Dinky Donuts.

Cramer managed to do that to a subject who had built a fortress around himself and had plenty of loyal followers who would protect DiMaggio behind those fortress walls. He had to peel away the layers of protection to reveal the private tortures of DiMaggio.

Now he has a subject who as most of the public already knows is shallow and self absorbed, and who has no such protections — in fact, it is doubtful that A-Rod will have many people watching out for his legacy, besides the ones that he pays. Cramer must be going crazy just trying to keep up with the daily developments in A-Rod’s life. He had at least one and maybe more chapters unfold in just the last week.

And consider the parallels — Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe; A-Rod and Madonna.

We are watching the movie unfold before our very eyes. But I can’t wait until the book comes out, because whatever Cramer comes up with, it will have to be pretty compelling to trump the daily A-Rod exploits that are today’s tabloid fodder.

- Thom Loverro