Alex Rodriguez, 2005 Topps
What makes a classy emissary? Excellent question, me.
Emissary is defined by the Internet as "A person sent on a special mission, e.g., as a diplomatic representative, or a shortstop turned third baseman." Classy is like when you are formal but without even trying or whatever. Put those two together and you have one classy-ass emissary.
Say it's 2004. Who do you think are the classiest emissaries of baseball right now? Remember, it's 2004. Billy Crystal? Ozzie Smith? Craig Counsel? All excellent, albeit wrong, guesses. Let's look at the back of this Alex Rodriguez baseball card and see if there are any clues. Why an Alex Rodriguez card? That in itself is a clue. Try and stay with me here.
Upon leaving Texas for NYC in an astonishing 2004 trade
Quick aside: I was in IKEA with my wife the day after the trade happened, and it wasn't until I walked past a copy of that day's Daily News while making my way through a barrage of fake kitchens did the trade really sink in GET IT? Neither here nor there, but I mention this only to remind everyone that IKEA is the worst.
Alex was called by Ranger's manager Buck Showalter "a good man with a pure heart."
That sounds like faint praise for a neighbor who was accused of shoplifting socks rather than a parting shot for a baseball player who just completed three consecutive seasons of 50+ home runs. Was it this early in his career that people were playing the role of Alex Rodriguez apologist as it pertained to his motives?
Reporter: Buck, now that he's gone, a lot of guys in the locker room are saying that Alex Rodriguez was a bad person with a black heart and also that maybe he eats kittens. Can you speak to that?
Buck Showalter: Not gonna take the bait, Karl. Alex is a good man with a pure heart.
Indeed, A-Rod is not only a great player, but one of the game's classiest emissaries.
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Alex Rodriguez kneels before MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, head down
Selig: Wearing old British powder wig, holding baseball bat. And I hereby dub thee, Alexander Rodriguez, classy emissary of Major League Baseball. Taps each shoulder with bat.
Rodriguez: Rises slowly. It is an honor and a privilege, good sir. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention earlier ... not sure if it's a big deal or whatever, but ... I kind of did a bunch of steroids a while back ... we cool?
Selig: Hmmm. Were they absorbed in a classy manner?
Rodriguez: Oh no doubt. I wore a bow tie every time while using scientific terms like buttocks.
Selig: Then I see no issue. Now go forth on your special mission as a diplomat of this fine game, and preach its good tidings while maintaining your dignit-- wha ... what are you doing?
Rodriguez: Oh, just kissing myself in the mirror. Why, what's up? Were we not finished?