A fashion show is the last place Yankee fans would expect to see Alex Rodriguez on game day in New York. But Wednesday afternoon found the all-star third baseman suited up — sans pinstripes — and sidelining a catwalk at Daniel Boulud's swanky Daniel. Such a seemingly frivolous pregame activity — particularly after his near-disastrous seventh-inning ankle drama while sliding into third — demands a good excuse. Rodriguez admitted the game-day event was "one of two in my 13-year career," but he turned out for a worthy cause. The runway show was part of a luncheon hosted by Rodriguez and his wife Cynthia to benefit the AROD Family Foundation, a youth and family organization that promotes mental wellness and education.

"Cynthia is 99 percent responsible for this," said Rodriguez, deferring to his more fashionable half, who enlisted Miami designer Nicolas Felizola to bring the spirit of New York Fashion Week to the luncheon. "I've been a client of Nicolas in Miami, but he hasn't really crossed over from the Latin fashion community," said Cynthia, who wore a short black strapless dress by the designer and copious amounts of Graff diamonds, which also sponsored the event. "I like the fact that you can feel your age in his clothes, but still sexy and sophisticated; I don't want to feel like an 18-year-old in my dress."

Save for a strikeout on the part of the event p.r., who forced fashion press to observe the lunch from the nosebleed section — (and serve yourself while you're at it) — the event was carried by A-Rod's star power. And in his New York debut, Felizola held a captive audience with a lineup of va-va-voom looks shown with $50 million worth of Graff gems. Rodriguez charmed his way through the pre-lunch media maelstrom, fielding a photographer frenzy and questions from the likes of Extra and Univision's Escándolo TV. After all, what's a little ankle pain in light of Rodriguez's Tuesday-night tape-measure home-run rocket? "It was probably the best of my career," said Rodriguez with a smile, which says a lot, given his membership in the elite 500-plus home run club. "That doesn't happen often," he said of the ball's speed and distance.

As for the question on every anxious Yankee fan's mind: How far will they go into October? "To be continued," he said.

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