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Could it be that Alex Rodriguez has let go of the superstitions that most athletes would have you believe decide their fate and instead hopes to achieve inner peace and self-love through self-help books?

One of the more over-analyzed athletes in the business (outside steroid-embroiled Barry Bonds), the $252 million man seemed to drop (and miss) the ball, literally, more than any one New York Yankee should in a season. This all lead to a media firestorm of reporters and sports analysts trying to determine what went so totally off-kilter with Mr. A-Rod, who recently has become a symbol of all that is wrong with the Yankees.

A New York Times writer, giving Alex Rodriguez a piece of friendly advice as the Yankees slip hopelessly into another off-season, offered readers some brief spiritual insight to A-Rod’s troubled state of mind these days in a story published in Tuesday’s sports section. Staring inside A-Rod’s dressing stall, writer Harvey Araton noticed some curious displays of self-help reading: Beside an autographed baseball from Detroit Tigers legend Al Kaline sat “Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World,” a book by noted Buddhist scholar Lama Surya Das. But that’s not all. Best-selling author Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, who the article quotes as advising his followers, “Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing,” has apparently struck an emotional chord with A-Rod, with his book “10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace.”

This small but telling discovery, Araton says, may be further proof that A-Rod was just not made for these Bronx Bombers.

“[Yankee owner George Steinbrenner]–more a slogan-spouting disciple of Churchill and Patton– is no Buddha,” he wrote. “And he probably wouldn’t respond with great enlightenment to the revelation that A-Rod was in possession of an autograph from an old Tiger while Detroit was beating the Yankees’ brains in and A-Rod was, once again, flunking October.”

One might be inclined to applaud A-Rod for taking the time to read a few self-improvement books, as he continues to battle the demons that contributed at least in part to the Yankees unraveling this season. Certainly any of today’s scandal-ridden athletes can stand to gain a modicum of self-awareness from inspirational authors such as Surya Das and Wayne Dyer.

And if you try not to believe everything you hear about the ego-ridden enigma that is A-Rod, it may make just as much sense to conclude that his display of reading materials is a sign that at least this Yankee has decided there may be more to being a great athlete than statistics can reveal.

— Posted by Matt Melucci

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