Approximately 200 members of the media descended upon George M. Steinbrenner Field Tuesday to hear from Yankees third baseman and admitted steroid abuser Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez, sitting in the first chair to the right of the podium, joined by Yankee GM Brian Cashman and Manager Joe Girardi, looked at the reporters in the audience and said, “I’m a little nervous, or a lot nervous, so bear with me a little bit.”
With that A-Rod read from a prepared statement and told those present he knows he has a long road ahead to try and regain the trust that had been lost when his use of steroids became public. He told the media he needed to do two things. Tell the truth and tell where, what, and when he used illegal substances.
Rodriguez thanked the Yankees, the fans and his teammates for their support before going into detail about his use of steroids. He said that in 2001, 2002 and 2003 he experimented with a banned substance that triggered a positive reaction to a drug test administered in 2003. He stated that he had a meeting with Gene Orza in September of 2004 and was told he was one of a number of players who may have tested positive for banned substances. A-Rod said, “I think it is important to note that the tests that were taken in 2003 were requested and voted by players to determine the extent of the drug problem in Major League Baseball.”
A-Rod said that starting in 2001 he was introduced to a substance by an unidentified cousin that could be purchased over-the-counter that would give A-Rod an “energy boost, and otherwise harmless.” The substance was called “boli” on the streets.
He said he and his cousin, “one more ignorant than the other,” decided it would be a good idea to take it and it was delivered from the Dominican Republic by Rodriguez’s cousin. Rodriguez said the drug was administered by the cousin, but that neither of them knew how to administer it properly. When asked how the drug was introduced into him A-Rod replied, “It was injected.” A-Rod said they both took the substance twice a month for six months over a 3-year span starting with the 2001 season.
Rodriguez told the media, “We consulted no one. It was pretty evident that we didn’t know what we were doing.”
A-Rod said he and his cousin tried to keep taking the drug between them and that his cousin never offered the substance to any other player. Rodriguez stated he stopped using the substance after the 2003 season for a couple of reasons First, he had sustained a serious neck injury and was afraid for his baseball career and his career after baseball and, secondly, because the players voted for a mandatory drug and, “at this time it became evident to me how serious this all was. And, I decided to stop then.”
Afterwards, Rodriguez told the crowd about how often he has submitted to urine and blood drug testing. He also said he understands that he wouldn’t have any control over the opinions of others regarding his career and any records he may influence. He said what he could control was his God-given ability and that, “spring training represents a new start to me, and a chance to win a championship.”
A-Rod concluded his statement by saying how baseball was bigger than Alex Rodriguez. He looked to his right and said, “To my teammates…..” at which point he became obviously emotional and paused for 37 seconds before finishing, “…..thank you. ” Teammates Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada were looking at A-Rod when he apologized to them.
After finishing the statement Rodriguez answered 26 questions from various members of the sports media. It was here a contrite and emotional A-Rod began dodging the hard questions.
When asked if he thought he was cheating by taking banned substances A-Rod replied, “I knew I made a mistake.” He was also asked by George King of the New York Post to identify the cousin and he said the identity of the cousin wasn’t relevant. He said anything the cousin did he did under A-Rod’s direction.
Rodriguez kept putting blame on his naivety, stupidity and youth. He kept referring to himself as being a 24-25 year old guy who didn’t know any better. It is interesting to note that from his first full season in 1995 until 2001 he allegedly remained clean, and from 2004 until the present he has remained clean. So, why was Rodriguez only stupid, naïve and young while playing in Texas?
A-Rod was also asked about his stats and which ones he thought were tainted and Rodriguez skirted around answering the question directly, but said it wasn’t up to him to decide what to do with his numbers.
Throughout the question and answer session Rodriguez appeared to be caught off-guard by several of the questions posed to him. He would pause several seconds and collect his thoughts before answering. Often, he would only answer half of a question, ignoring the other part of the inquiry.
When it was all said and done A-Rod left the crowd wanting more. To me he came off looking less than genuine and forthright in his answers. He said he wanted to get this behind him as quickly as possible and devote his focus to baseball. Instead, what he had done is trigger more questions, which will be asked over and over down the road until Rodriguez decides to stop making excuses or giving politically correct answers and be absolutely, no holds barred, truthful.
That said, A-Rod didn’t blame anyone for his problems, but himself. He admitted he took steroids, said where he got them and how often and long he used them. When asked to comment on the statements of others, such as Jaime Moyer and Commissioner Bud Selig on his steroid use, A-Rod never got angry and only said he was sorry they felt like they did, but he wouldn’t comment on the gist of what was in their statements.
Rodriguez has undoubtedly made great strides in, as he termed it, facing the music. Did he do all he could do at the news session today? He probably hasn’t. This situation isn’t going to fade any time soon, and until everyone is 100% satisfied in A-Rod’s answers he can only expect to hear more of same he got today.
Report: Pettitte talks to feds in Clemens investigation
The Associated Press is reporting that New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte has been interviewed by federal investigators to determine if Roger Clemens lied before a congressional committee looking into steroid abuse in Major League Baseball.
Pettitte, a long time friend and teammate of Clemens in New York and Houston admitted using Human Growth Hormone in 2007. He told investigators in the past Clemens had told him he had use HGH. Pettitte could be a very important witness if Clemens is brought to trial.