A beatwriter out of Texas has corroborated -- and NBC's Hardball Talk has immortalized forever -- what those with the ability to read sentences have known since at least yesterday: Former Texas Rangers and current Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler might be kind of a jerk.
Of course, while the idea that he may be kind of a jerk should come as a surprise to no one who read his bridge-napalming interview with ESPN the Magazine regarding his acrimonious exit from the Texas Rangers, the level of his supposed self-centeredness is still eyebrow-raising. According to Dallas Morning News's Gerry Fraley -- in response to an inquiry by the NY Daily News' Mark Feinsand -- not only is Kinsler self-absorbed, he is in Fraley's estimation the most self-absorbed player he's covered in 33 years in the business.
Which may seem ridiculous, especially considering that Alex Rodriguez crossed paths with him as a member of the organization. But, according to Fraley, the difference between the two is "too close to call." And after a closer reading of the Magazine piece, it's easy to see why.
There is, of course the reluctance to help teach younger players, a role he felt reluctantly forced into following the exit of team leader Michael Young following a trade to the Phillies. And while Kinsler claims that he was taken out of context throughout the interview, statements like "They wanted me to lead these young players, teach them the way to compete, when the only thing I should be worried about is how I'm performing in the game" doesn't exactly make the 31-year-old look like anything other than self-absorbed.
That his trouble with management went beyond not wanting to be a leader, and stretched to his reluctance to put the future of the club ahead of his personal also seems to point to that conclusion. Kinsler made it very clear in the interview that, despite being offered an easy shift to first base -- where he would have likely put up numbers comparable to other mid-tier first baseman -- he refused to move in order to make room for highly touted prospect Jurickson Profar at second baseman.
It's his reasons for the refusal that crystallize what Fraley was trying to get across: there may not be an "I" in team, but Ian has one from the very beginning. ""These guys gotta earn it; that's what I did," he said in reference to the proposed move. "I was a 17th-round pick, so there was zero coddling. I had to put myself on the prospect map."
And for their part, the team was more than accommodating to veteran, with Daniels saying "We backed off at that point. We presented it as, 'We would like you to do this,' and we left it up to him."
These are likely just some of the stories that will come out regarding this new and very public perception of Kinsler, who has never come close to the level attention as he has received in the wake of the publication of this story. And, while his former teammates aren't happy, several of those players still on the Rangers like Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre have publicly supported Kinsler, calling him a "buddy" and a "friend".
So, while this story isn't quite a He-said, He-said, there may be more sides to this story than appear. But, for his part, Kinsler should probably lay low for a while, because when your ego's compared to A-Rod's, things have escalated quickly, and really gotten out of hand.