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Spoofs & Satire

Photograph courtesy of Look At Me

Letters From Cousin Yuri

When Alex Rodriguez identified his cousin Yuri on Tuesday, the media had a new fall guy for A-Rod’s steroid problem.

26 Octubre 2007

Dear Alex,

Long time no see, cousin. Things down here in the Dominican are boring without you. I hope life in the big city is treating you well. And thank you so much for springing for that sweet new ride. My old car was getting a little dusty, probably from all those trips out to La Altagracia to pick up cookies for you from the cookie dealer. I hope that you have enjoyed the cookies I’ve been sending. They are delicious, don’t you think? So full of taste and energy.

Listen, man, you know that opt-out clause in your Yankees contract? Well, I was thinking it would be cool for you to make a big announcement that you are exercising that clause to become a free agent—and to do it during the fourth game of the World Series. Just think of what a genius move that would be. You’re not in the Series, but suddenly you will be. If you think you’re beloved now, just wait until after the announcement. How can you lose? La primera. You’re good-looking, you’re biracial, you make the most money, and you play on the most popular team.

Love always,


* * *

1 Junio 2008

Dear Alex,

How’s it buzzin’, cousin? I have been reading with pride about your great season in New York. The other day, I was in a restaurant, and some guy with a Mets cap came up and started jawing at me about how the Yankees were a bunch of overpaid babies and I said, “What’s wrong with being overpaid, and can a baby do this?” and then I tipped my drink over on him and shoved him once, hard. I made sure to tell him that the message was from you. Did you proud, cousin.

Anyway, I wanted to talk to you about Cynthia. I know she’s the mother of your kids and that you just had another baby. That’s all well and good. But I think you need an upgrade. You’re a big man on the biggest campus of all—New York City—and having a rich, famous girlfriend is the next natural step.

I saw your interview with Peter Gammons. I loved how sad you seemed. It’s like I always tell you: act fragile, and they’ll think you really are fragile.I’m going to assume you agree with me and move on to the step after that, which is picking out your new costilla. Sheryl Crow is too Middle America, I think. Christina Aguilera, while she has Latin roots, is too young. I think it comes down to two choices, really: J-Lo and Madonna. I’d lean toward J-Lo, but because I’m thinking about you, I want to factor in your personal preferences, and I remember how much you loved “Into the Groove” and “Like A Virgin.” So look, suertudo: you should push your love over the borderline, if you know what I’m saying. If you don’t know what I’m saying, let me be clearer: you should unload Cynthia and bag Madonna. Trust me: did I steer you wrong when I told you to start hanging with strippers on road trips?

Oh, also, tell Cynthia I saw pictures of the new baby. I have one clipped to the visor of the new SUV you sent me. Cute girl. Are you sure she looks like you?



* * *

13 Febrero 2009

Dear Alex,

I’m sorry I haven’t written recently. I know it’s been a rough year for you so far.

I saw your interview with Peter Gammons. You did great. I loved how sad you seemed. It’s like I always tell you: act fragile, and they’ll think you really are fragile. Then, just today, I read that there’s going to be a Yankees press conference. I hope this letter reaches you in time, because I have an important piece of advice. Four pieces, cousin:

  1. Be late. Nothing says Star Power more than a 15-, maybe even 20-minute delay.
  2. Start by reading from a prepared statement. Everyone says they want spontaneity and candor, but everyone’s not making $252 million.
  3. At least once, look over at your teammates and pretend to choke up. It doesn’t have to be a minute-long thing; 30, 40 seconds should do.
  4. Finally, and this is important, act the mamey. Make sure the story you tell contradicts earlier stories and leaves out important information. Like if you mention me and say we did steroids together, give the steroid some crazy fake street name like “moli” or “boli” and refuse to give me any name at all. That wouldn’t leave any wiggle room. Remember, who are they to pin you down? You’re the star, panudo!

I don’t mean to make this all about your upcoming press conference. I’m sure you’re curious if I could use a new Escalade. Thank you for asking. The answer is yes.

Love always,

Ben Greenman is a contributing writer for the New Yorker and a bestselling author whose books includes both fiction (most recently, The Slippage and What He’s Poised To Do) and nonfiction (Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard On You, with George Clinton; and Mo Meta Blues, with Questlove). More by Ben Greenman