Mark Sanchez Stepping Into A-Rod's Void

New York's new whipping boy has revealed himself

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    With A-Rod celebrating a title, Sanchez has become the most scrutinized athlete in New York.

    Mark Sanchez appeared before reporters on Wednesday and said he would never, ever be so foolish as to share thoughts with people who want to hear his thoughts before they have an opportunity to ask him about his thoughts.

    Press Conferencegate has been out to rest. Now we can move on with our lives.

    At least we can until Sanchez does something else out of the ordinary. It's quickly become clear that the Jets quarterback is going to be given the A-Rod treatment in the media unless and until he can win himself a Super Bowl ring. Don't believe it? Think back to the response to Hot Doggate and the way that something most people responded to with a laugh was treated as a controversial incident.

    You're familiar with the treatment. Step one is taking something goofy but innocuous -- shirtless sunbathing or hot dog snacking -- and make it seem like the incident is a negative stamp on the player's personality and has some bearing on the way they play the game. Step two is using interactions with the media that differ from the normal canned athlete-speak and use it to paint the player as awkward and skittish about playing in the big city. Throw in breathless reporting about their love life, magazine articles and snide remarks about their salary and continue ad nauseum. 

    The biggest difference between A-Rod and Sanchez at this point is that there are actual on-field reasons to criticize Sanchez. His team has lost five of six games, he's had at least one turnover in eight of nine games and, most damningly, he continues to make the same mistakes over and over again. Focusing on those things seems like plenty of fodder without inventing controversies, just as focusing on A-Rod the player always seemed easier than caring about what he wore while laying on a rock in Central Park.

    It's a well-worn storyline that it's harder to play in New York than it is to play anywhere else because of media scrutiny, so well-worn at this point that it's hard to actually tell if the media is tough organically or goes out of its way to be tough to live up to the reputation. The tempest Sanchez caused by doing what people do all the time during press conferences make a strong case for the latter, and an even stronger case that he's going to be playing the A-Rod role of whipping boy. 

    At least he knows how to change the script. Winning, or perhaps Kate Hudson, "cured" A-Rod and it would almost surely do the same for Sanchez. He'd go from being awkward and immature to eccentric and fun-loving in a matter of moments. Winning might take a while for this Jets bunch, though.

    Any chance Hudson has a sister?

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.