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Sports

Alex Rodriguez balances his life as an MLB analyst, NBA co-owner and advocate for gum disease awareness

Nature

It’s an exciting time of year for Alex Rodriguez. The 14-time Major League Baseball All-Star is part of Fox Sports’ MLB postseason studio analyst team, alongside Derek Jeter, David Ortiz and Kevin Burkhardt.

The former Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees player is also preparing for the 2023-24 NBA season as co-owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Rodriguez and business partner Marc Lore made a $290 million payment in March, the second payment to become owners of the Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx, who now own 40 percent of the franchises.

Amid all of this, Rodriguez added a dental ambassador role to his rotation. He announced in May that he had early-stage gum disease and was one of an estimated 65 million Americans with the disease. And when he first found out, anxiety set in.

“The first thing you do is panic when you hear those words,” Rodriguez said. “My dentist assured me that there was a good treatment and I started treatment. I go there about every three months.

It’s a balancing act that’s not designed for everyone. But it’s also a balancing act that Rodriguez has made routine.

Of all his endeavors, the Timberwolves currently occupy the most headspace. The NBA regular season begins this week, and the Timberwolves open their season Wednesday in Toronto against the Raptors.

“I have my hands full thinking about how we could bring a championship to Minnesota,” he said.

Rodriguez, the businessman, continues to follow a post-sports path similar to that of NBA legend Magic Johnson, whom he considers a friend and mentor. Johnson has been a basketball analyst and now has ownership stakes in the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Commanders.

“He’s my hero,” Rodriguez said. “They say sometimes you don’t want to meet your heroes, but he’s one when you meet him, you’re a bigger fan of him. And 25 years ago, he kind of opened his books and showed me how he got started.

Johnson’s immediate goal was to place businesses in underserved black and brown communities. Rodriguez wants to do something similar while staying close to baseball. Rodriguez added that he aims to expand his platforms in real estate, social media and e-commerce, among other topics.

With a highly anticipated Game 6 of the National League Championship Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Philadelphia Phillies Monday afternoon and an equally anticipated Game 7 of the American League Championship Series between the Astros of Houston and the Texas Rangers later in the night, the sport Rodriguez played professionally for more than 20 years. years will continue to hold his attention. He’s excited about the potential storylines for this year’s World Series.

The entertaining playoff matches were added bonuses to the chemistry and camaraderie Rodriguez enjoys with the Fox team. He has known Ortiz and Jeter for more than 30 years and said Burkhardt was a “star” at Fox.

Continuing his professional journey, Rodriguez became involved in a personal campaign to raise awareness about gum disease. It has partnered with oral care company OraPharma to provide education about the condition and encourage regular checkups and treatment.

A recent study from the CareQuest Institute for Oral Health found that oral health disparities affecting the most vulnerable populations across the United States “particularly impact Latino communities.” Additional studies show that gum disease may be associated with an increased risk of other chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which also have a major impact on the Latino community.

This is why Rodriguez is passionate about this cause: helping to provide knowledge, facilitate access to dental care and combat the factors that impact access to care.

“It’s one of those things where you don’t have to have a scientific reason for it,” said Rodriguez, who also reiterated that he was not a player who chewed tobacco, “just chewing -gum.”

Common gum disease systems include bleeding during or after brushing your teeth and red or swollen gums.

“I know that, at least in my community, we don’t like going to the dentist,” he said. “But you have to go there, be proactive. Make sure you have it or don’t have it. And if you have it, everything is fine. The sooner (you learn), the better. Get it treated. Get in front. Go from there.

As the week continues and the Timberwolves prepare for the start of the NBA regular season, Rodriguez becomes more and more excited about the team’s possibilities. He said he attended about 50 games last season and spoke often with basketball, business and community officials from the franchise.

He likes the potential of a team that reached the playoffs last season as an eighth seed (losing to the eventual champion Denver Nuggets in the first round) and has a budding superstar in Anthony Edwards, in addition to the big man combination of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert.

Rodriguez is also excited about what can happen off the field in the city of Minneapolis, which he called “a very underrated city.” He noted that Minnesota has 15 Fortune 500 companies and that sports in the Minneapolis area have the potential to bring the community together more — especially after the death of George Floyd in 2020.

“Obviously, George Floyd was a huge blow to this community, but I’m starting to see things happening in the downtown area,” Rodriguez said. “People are starting to come back.

“The great thing about the Vikings, Wild, Twins, Timberwolves and Lynx is that sports has the power to bring people together. Music and sport are the pillars that can bring communities together.

(Photo: Steph Chambers/Getty Images)



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