A-Rod and the magic vial

arod_bible_250_021709.jpgI watched the Alex Rodriguez press conference so you wouldn’t have to, and I have to say that you didn’t miss much. Certainly nothing was said that would convert an A-Rod skeptic or critic into a believer or supporter. Rodriguez hit upon a singularly bad turn of phrase when he said, “I’m here to take my medicine.” However, his answers were basically evasive. He repeatedly fell back on the excuse of youth (he was 25) and naivete, wishing several times that he had gone to college instead of being a Major Leaguer at 18.

That’s fine as far as it goes, but his claims of innocence and ignorance are inconsistent with his other answers. Rodriguez explained that he had little knowledge of the substance he was being injected with, didn’t know how to use it, wasn’t really sure what benefit he received from taking it — he said it was supposed to provide “energy” and did confirm that he felt more energetic — and wasn’t even sure that it was a banned substance. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. At the same time, he felt, he said, that he couldn’t reach out for education, because his use had to be secretive.

These two sentiments seem to conflict. Rodriguez was ambivalent about the illegality of his usage, but felt that he had to conceal that usage. That doesn’t exactly scream “innocent mistake.” Say this for Mark McGwire: he had the stuff out on his locker shelf for all to see, because he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong. One doesn’t take pains to conceal what one does not feel the need to conceal. You ever sneak an extra dessert when no one is looking and carefully throw away the wrapper so there’s no evidence? That’s one Twinkie that just disappeared. Could have been anyone who took it, since there’s no evidence to connect you to the crime, whereas, the legit food that came with dinner, you didn’t sneak under the table to eat it. You had it right out there in front of everyone else.

Now, we all conceal certain things out of fear of embarrassment or ridicule. That is only human — we do not share 100 percent of ourselves, even with our closest loved ones. Maybe you don’t want the wife to know about the time you wound up on the observation deck of the Empire State Building without any pants. More likely, you don’t want the wife to know about the time you thought about being on the observation deck of the Empire State Building without any pants, because that might lead to other, more difficult questions, such as, “So what was it about that scenario that appealed to you?” Her perception of you might change, if only she knew what lurked in the unswept corners of the Id. That’s true of her for you as well, and all of us.

This kind of discretion is distinct from concealing something that you know or strongly suspect is criminal and will open you up to some form of official sanction. If A-Rod was the naf he claims to be, would he have simply taken a random drug for “energy?” One suspects at least a bit of familiarity with the possibilities of such “aids,” just as one suspects a pretty clear understanding of the consequences of dabbling.

There were other inconsistencies, like this apparent need to rehearse his story with the unnamed “cousin” who suddenly became a major character in the story, one who was not mentioned to Peter Gammons or Katie Couric or Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor. These things hardly seem worth commenting on, except to say that today’s conference was about Rodriguez regaining his credibility, and it doesn’t seem like that happened.

Of course, none of these concerns go to the bottom line, which, as A-Rod correctly pointed out, is that he had his best season in 2007, and there has been a testing regimen in place for a few years now, one that seems to have been successful in nailing quite a few players. There remains little evidence that steroids do much more for ballplayers than build muscle, or that Rodriguez’s numbers were affected in any significant way. He remains one of the best ballplayers in the business and also one of the hardest to like. From the point of view of winning pennants, one out of two ain’t bad. 


  1. ronlang44

    All I needed to hear was AROD say he was wrong. No excuses. Instead he tried to blame being young and not going to college. He didn’t appear sincere to me. I am more disappointed in his lack of candor right now than the fact that he juiced. He needs to be a MAN and admit he was wrong….and do it with some sincerity.



  2. juliasrants

    I agree with Ron. Was A-Rod trying to say that people who don’t go to college are more apt to use illegal drugs? The sudden “cousin” in the picture I find troubling. In my state of Massachusetts, you have to have a doctor’s prescription in order to buy needles to be used to inject drugs. (Even the needles my family needed to give our dog her insulin.) I don’t know the laws of Texas – but I would like to know where he got the needles – along with those Dominican drugs – his cousin was injecting into him twice a month. Sadly, I think that all A-Rod did was to give this story even more life. I’m a Red Sox fan, but I really do feel sorry for the Yankees fans today.


  3. tjduddy21

    What about “I’m Sorry” “I was stupid” “I was wrong” do people not see as holding himself accountable. I don’t know what this guy has to do for these A Rod haters. And as for Red Sox fans feeling sorry for us Yankee fans, don’t feel that bad. Ortiz’s numbers without Manny will be more than enough for you to feel bad for yourselves!!! Anyway, back to the subject, Clemens, nor Bonds got it this bad from the media and the fans, and they never even had the guts to admit it!!! All I can say, the Yankees are supporting him, half the Yankee fans are supporting him, and hopefully that will be enough!!!! A Rod needs to get over the fact that no matter what he does, people wlll hate him. He should not worry about it and just play ball, and win a championship, then all will be well in Yankee land, and in the end that’s all that matters!!!!!

  4. yankscynic

    for tjduddy in your last sentence, what you are failing to recognize is that Arod WILL worry about it and can NOT accept that people hate him and it WILL affect his play especially in the post season again. I don’t know why you have such an optimisitic view that everything will be fine when Arod has proven time and time again that he cannot handle pressure. I’m a Yankee fan and saying this.

    As for the Red Sox fan who posted before you….your buddy boy David Ortiz is not “Mr. Clean” like you think. Just because his name hasn’t come out yet and yet he has basically ADMITTED to “probably” taking steroids in his youth sure doesn’t sit well with me, but he knows he has nothing to worry about since those 104 names will never be released.

  5. bern_asoto

    Julia, Michael Kay talked about the cousin on his radio show today. He does exist, according to Kay. He said there are three guys Alex is very close to and trusts completely. One of them is a cousin and Kay deduced that this is the guy, based on the fact that you’d have to trust someone completely to partner up on something like this.

    I wish he’d have done a better job today (been more forthcoming), but I wasn’t really expecting it. Someone who’s used to being a certain way for so long isn’t going to just change in a few weeks.

  6. eric.langborgh@gmail.com

    Being young and naive is not an excuse, but it is an explanation for his guilt, for what was behind his guilty actions. To me, that explanation is quite plausible.

  7. adamdunagan@gmail.com

    You guys have to start reading Peter Abraham’s blog, or Tyler Kepners Blog… Everyone is entitled to their opinion… and so am I… This blog is awful and filled with misinformation….

  8. eric.langborgh@gmail.com

    Name me one other player who has done all the above: 1) admitted and apologized for his steroid use; 2) named the drug, and even offered up another (Ripped Fuel during Seattle days) that has since been banned; 3) described how he got it and even admitted to being injected; 4) is already putting money where mouth is by funding anti-steroid education foundation?

    Alex’s day wasn’t perfect, but come on! As long as more stuff doesn’t surface contradicting his claims, I predict Alex has largely defused this controversy, to a degree no one would have dared hope at beginning of this story.

    If not, he is in a world of hurt.

    But assuming the best — and I think with what Alex volunteered that is a safe assumption at this point — the reasonable among us will be largely satisfied, and the zoo has been cancelled. Only the bloodlust of certain mob-types will remain unsatisfied, continuing to bear fangs and self-righteous ridicule in certain corners of the Internet.

  9. dachshund4

    I believe what Alex was trying to say was that if he had gone to college and been allowed to grow up and get some education he may not have made such a bad choice. I believe he is truely sorry and will have to deal with it the rest of his days. However, he can shut up all the Yankee & A-Rod haters is to have a monster year, win another MVP and the World Series. He is capable of doing it.

  10. pgugliucci@nyc.rr.com

    Last year, Andy said he took HGH because he was injured after just signing a $16 million contract and wanted to heal faster because he felt bad about taking all that money.

    Alex said he took this substance because he felt pressure after signing the $250 million contract with Texas. He did say he was young and stupid, but must have apologized over and over, didn’t sell anyone out, didn’t rat out other teammates, took responsibility for his own behavior and apologized to everyone. What else should he have done? Everyone was fine with Andy Pettitte’s explanation last year. This went much further and it’s still not enough. I guess you guys in the media won’t be happy until he jumps off a cliff.

  11. iamanycguy

    To put things in perspective, A-rod admitted cheating. If your wife cheated on you and confessed, you’d feel bad enough without getting all the details. Does knoowing the details make the betrayal more palatable ? The bottom line is that she cheated, that’s it. The details do not, I repeat, do not matter. The media isn’t to blame for A-Rod cheating, but they are to blame for exploiting it. The details do not matter in my view. He did it. He confessed it. Let it go already.

  12. cobb1909

    I remember reading several years ago that MLB was going to start schools in other countries especially a Dominican Republic school. They were going to stress strength training. I think we see the results of MLBs school with Arod, Sosa, Tejada, etc etc. MLB and its agents pressured these guys to take what they did and they took them to get the money plain and simple. A matter of economics. Without steroids A rod is just another skinny light hitting Dominican kid with average fielding ability struggling to make any club. With steroids he is “Master of the Universe” Which would you be.

  13. ustel

    Every sports in Europe, from soccer to basketball ye voleyball to swimming use some sort of “illegal drugs”!
    People, usually, smile when they hear a “power enhancement /steroid story” and move on. Because they realise that peofessional sport is “show business”! Amateur sports if there is any such animal is left, is another story; where people are less tolerant.
    A-Rod to baseball is what Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks is to world cinema. Do they go through drug tests after their insurance papers are signed? Look ar Robert Downey!
    A-Rod did something wrong; I, as a die hard yankee fan,forgive and realise that he is one of the most import clogs in the multi billion dolar baseball industry. Just let him be; enjoy wayching him hope he hits 100 home runs for the Yankees…

  14. jimlyttle

    “I guess you guys in the media won’t be happy until he jumps off a cliff.”

    I’m sure the media wouldn’t be happy with WHAT cliff he jumped off or HOW he jumped. Maybe they could make a clever “October cliff jumping attempt would be unsuccessful” joke – that’s the usual kind of insightful crap the media provides.

    Guess some Yankee fans still pine for the days of Randy Velarde playing third base – oh wait, he was on ‘roids, too.

  15. aloerch@gmu.edu


    I agree that his story is hard to swallow, but the fact is that he has done much more than any player of his stature has done in regard to apologizing and taking responsibility. I believe, in fact, that there is nothing he could say that would reduce the media pressure on him. And most of the reporting has been emotional and superficial. Not much has been made, for instance, of the substantive statistical analyses that show that there really wasn’t much difference in performance over those years. My wish is that the whole thing blows over. I don’t think that it will happen though. Andy

  16. narrowpiker@yahoo.com

    I chose not to watch and have no opinion on this A-Rod matter… In fact, I didn’t even read the entire bible entry above because I find the media appalling in their continued efforts to exploit human weaknesses and mistakes. The REAL Yankee camp, press conference subject wasn’t even covered… Obviously because the media storm chooses hurricane winds of human misfortune to power their laptops. I am hopeful this comment doesn’t go unpublished or unnoticed herein. The real story is that of Georgie, Mo, Hideki and Wanger. Regardless of the A-Rod controversy, we all know he’ll hit his 30 HR’s and drive in his 100 RBI’s… What is entirely unknown and whart should be addressed in detail, perhaps with indiviual interviews, is the health, physical recovery and projected endurance is, of the four returning veterans. This is the story and these men will collectively, or partially, create the biggest impact on our struggling post season success.

  17. yankscynic

    Actually for the person who wrote 3 entries up from me….Randy Velarde was an extremely solid infielder for us if you don’t remember. In game 5 against Seattle in 1995, he had the go ahead RBI single against Randy Johnson in 11th inning that put us up 5-4 until Black Jack blew it. Has A-rod done that for us? That’s the problem with this team and many of the fans. Too many people are spoiled by having a superstar at every position. The days in the mid 90’s when we were developing as a team we had solid ballplayers at every position who made contact and played defense.

  18. midcoaster@gwi.net

    Where is Sen. Joe McCarthy when we need him? We could have finger-pointing and hearings — any player who is big and strong or had a sudden spike in power could be called before the committee and subsquently black-listed from the game based on circumstantial evidence. How about up and coming players who a little more pop in their bat could be worth millions? Of yes back to the good old days. I think if some people had their way this would be done. I say we forget the past and establish a fool proof system where no one is going to use steroids any more. As for Arod, he doesn’t exactly have warning-track-power without steroids! He hit 56 HRs in Yankee Stadium without them!

  19. whavens@adelphia.net

    The media is never going to be happy with A-Rod no matter what he says. I think everyone is overlooking the fact that the information on A-rod was obtained illegally. So while what A-rod was doing was illegal and he should be held accountable for it, he didn’t break the law to hurt anyone else. The woman from SI on the other hand, obtained information that was sealed by a court in California and was leaked by an insider for personal gain. These are the people we “trust” to tell us the truth about important issues, and they can’t be trusted to save their own lives. They have no care in the world about anyone or how anyone might be effected by this information. Including the children that looked up to A-rod and may have become the next great player as a result.

  20. bakekrukow

    A-Rod needs to return the 2003 MVP. I think alot of people will appreciate that. It will show he is not all about stats and he actually has heart. Unfourtunately, there is no way he would ever do that. If he puts up a monster season and we win the World Series, then I don’t care anyway.

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