TAMPA, Fla. -- The Big Top, er, tent is ready and the podium is set.
Now, with disgraced slugger Alex Rodriguez expected to conduct his first public news conference at 1:30 p.m. EST today, want to know what a (Bronx) zoo this place is?
The parking lot at George M. Steinbrenner Field is jammed. So jammed that, a few minutes ago, a reporter left to make a Starbucks run and was warned by a security guard that he could not guarantee that she'd be allowed back in the parking lot -- that there'd be room -- when she returned. So she bagged the Starbucks run.
Meantime, before the Yankees' morning workout, their clubhouse was crammed with media. If you're the least bit claustrophobic, it wasn't a good place to be.
Veteran pitcher Brett Tomko, in camp trying to win a bullpen job, put it best as he threaded his way from the front door toward his locker in the back of the room.
"It's like going around landmines here," he said of dodging all the reporters. "It feels like playing hoops and you're making your way around defenders."
As of 10:15 a.m., when they closed the clubhouse and the Yankees prepared to go to the field, several key players, including Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon, still were absent. And there was no sight of A-Rod, yet.
Today is reporting day, with the Yankees first full-squad workout scheduled for Wednesday.
See ya after the A-Rod show.