A-Rod On The Couch

New York Yankees' alex Rodriguez walks back to the dugout after striking out in the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox Monday, April 19, 2004, in Boston. The Red Sox won, 5-4.
This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor Harry Smith.
When we were kids we wanted to be big league baseball players. It became even more attractive over the years as the salaries went up. Imagine being paid millions of dollars to play a game you love.

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But, there are costs too. In New York if you play lousy the fans happily boo you: "Get outtta here, ya bumb." A bad game lands you a full page photo on the back page of the News or the Post. A slump is even worse -- sports radio is merciless.

So imagine the sensation this week when Alex Rodriguez -- a really good baseball player who gets paid $25 million dollars a year -- announces he sees a shrink to help him cope with the pressures of playing for the Yankees.


New Yorkers are dying to pounce on this guy, but Rodriguez is leading the league in home runs, and the Yankees are red hot.

These days sports stars make headlines for using steroids, or for punching their wives. Now A-Rod says the couch is a better place to lose your troubles than booze or drugs.

People used to say real men don't eat quiche. Do real men talk to shrinks? Richard Nixon used to talk to the portraits of the presidents in the White House. Baseball pitcher Mark Fidrych used to talk to the ball. A confession here -- I've talked to some shrinks myself and while it's helped with anxiety I still can't hit the curve.

So what if this works and A-Rod carries the Yankees back to the World Series? You'll have to call a scalper to get a session with a psychiatrist.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith