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Sometimes you get beat on a story and just have to tip your cap to the opposition. Every journalist worth calling a journalist was after the big scoop about Alex Rodriguez’s recent trip to the dentist, but only one was going to get it. Well, it wasn’t Defector Media. So congratulations on a job well done to CBS Mornings, which got the exclusive today about A-Rod getting his teeth cleaned.

I can admit now that Defector was hot on this story, at least. I was tipped off that A-Rod did not have a pleasant experience at the dentist, but I could not confirm the story; I do not want to make excuses, but an outlet like CBS has resources Defector can only dream of. I do not want to speculate and say CBS might’ve done some shady stuff to get this scoop, but also, c’mon. It’s a possibility. So much of this business, at the highest levels, is shrouded in secrecy. Who knows what payoffs were made to lock down the story about A-Rod going to the dentist? So maybe you don’t have to tip your cap. Maybe you simply lash out at the outlets that beat you to the story. This story could have been mine, CBS!

But I will move on. I cannot be angry, and I have a job to do. I must actually write about what CBS reported in its scoop. So it turns out that A-Rod has early-stage gum disease. It is obvious this was worthy of a seven-minute segment on CBS’s morning show: The report reveals that 47 percent of Americans over the age of 30, and 70 percent over the age of 65, also have gum disease. Rodriguez himself did not seem to know those figures, and described himself as blissfully ignorant of this quiet national crisis when he sat in the dentist’s chair.

“Looks can be deceiving,” he said, smiling. “I just recently went to see my dentist and not thinking anything about any gum disease. And the dentist tells me the news, and then I come to find out over 65 million Americans have this gum disease.”

It’s a little odd. The only time I am thinking about gum disease is when I am at the dentist, but also I guess I already knew that A-Rod and I are built differently. At least he now knows you should floss. “It’s important for all the viewers watching,” Rodriguez says, “all Americans, all folks, get out there and take care of your teeth. And, uh… yeah!”

And, uh… yeah!

I am happy to report that the CBS Mornings segment on A-Rod's dental appointment almost immediately goes off the rails. A-Rod is asked if gum disease is connected to “all the stuff baseball players put in their mouth.” A-Rod says he doesn’t know, then pivots to talking about how Tony Gwynn, who died of cancer at age 54, in 2016, “passed due to a lot of tobacco use.” Did Gwynn have gum disease? Now the media has another pressing question to chase.

If you have a brain, you have no doubt now guessed that this is all some sort of ad deal between A-Rod and a pharmaceutical company selling some drug that treats gum disease. I’m kind of impressed. It’s not even Oral Health Month yet and A-Rod is getting paid to shill his gum disease diagnosis on a national network morning show. I am also happy to inform Defector readers that the drug company has attached some completely unhinged photos to its press release about the deal.

This is A-Rod, in the dentist chair, blissfully unaware of gum disease. Soon he will receive his diagnosis.

And here it is! A-Rod looks at the drug he’s being paid to promote while a doctor informs him what gum disease is.

I know we are all getting older. But A-Rod has appeared to age 30-40 years since learning what gum disease is.

He’s trying to put on a happy face here, but I can see the pain behind that smirk. A-Rod was no doubt holding back tears when he informed his loved ones about his gum disease diagnosis on a phone call in his driveway. But that private moment must remain theirs alone. I feel a little upset just knowing someone took a photo of him making this call.

That’s right. When you receive a gum disease diagnosis, it is important to keep working out to keep your spirits up. Maybe this ad campaign is really doing some good for the world!

Defector Media will keep readers updated if it learns anything more about Rodriguez’s oral health.

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