Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dissecting the ARod transcript, pt II

Click here for the transcript on ESPN.

PETER GAMMONS: To talk a little bit about that culture. It was an underground culture. A player said to me last summer that he really believes in that period between about '98 and 2004, that the players who didn't do one thing or another were either scared or didn't care. Do you agree with that?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I think you just felt a tremendous need to keep up and to play well. You know, it was hot in Texas every day. It was over a hundred degrees. You know, you felt like, without trying to overinvestigate what you're taking, can I have an edge just to get out there and play every day? And that's what it came down to. I can't speak for everybody who did. I can only speak for myself.

Regardless of what we want to [unintelligible] and say and justify, there's absolutely no excuse for what I did. I'm sorry. If I was a fan, a fan of mine, a fan of the Rangers, I would be very pissed off. And I can't take that back. But just realize that I'm sorry, and I want to do things to change.

I want to do things to influence children and realize they should learn from my mistake because, you know, it's the biggest regret I have in my life because baseball's given me everything, and I have so much respect.

There will be some people that say, you know, Alex is not a great player, going back to high school, I mean, they're just going to have this blanket cloud over my career. And for those, they may have their own point, but it feels good coming out and being completely honest and putting it out there and realizing that the more honest we can all be, the quicker we get baseball to where it needs to be.
Channelling his inner McGwire. I will only believe the "influence children" when I see him on anti-steroids ads. Using the Texas heat as an excuse is just lame. Steroids don't cool your core body temperature. Sure they help recovery and that helps getting out on the field day in and day out, but to use steroids for this purpose is silly.

The "without trying to overinvestigate" comment is again so profoundly absurd, it's amazing that he kept going back to this. Gammons, who knows ARod as well as anyone, should have hammered on this. I'm disappointed he let it slide the way he did. Sure he asked ARod a few times but never said "C'mon Alex. Do you mean to tell me that you injected or ingested whatever someone gave you without asking what it was, what it did, what the effects were?"

PETER GAMMONS: To go back, you were 21 years old. You're saying at that point in your career, high school, No. 1 pick in the country, you're hitting .358 at the age of 21, you were completely clean?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: 100 percent. 100 percent. Even before that I had never even seen or even heard of the idea of taking any substance. I've been very fortunate to come up. I was up at 18 years old. I remember meeting you when I was a few months removed away from high school. I was all of 195 pounds or 200 pounds. That was a special time.

And you put my first year and you put my very last year in New York, there haven't been many peaks and valleys. I had the greatest year of my career in 2007. It's a year that I'm very proud of. Although we didn't win a championship, it was a year that was full of -- you know, it was a very historic year. Just to have 2007, 1996, that for me says a lot.
I can believe most this. ARod hasn't had the pronounced peaks and valleys. His numbers are consistently astounding. But if you're one who likes to look at pictures to determing guilt or innocence, his bulk arrived in Texas. He's even come down in size in NY (not saying he's been clean since arriving, but he's clearly smaller than his Texas days).

PETER GAMMONS: How much of the culture -- how prevalent was this culture in Texas at that time?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: You know, I've always been a guy that raced my own race. And I don't like to look left, I don't like to look right. You just feel there's an energy. To say only Texas, that wouldn't be fair. But overall, you felt that there was -- I felt a tremendous pressure to play and play really well. I felt like I was going up against the whole world. I just signed this enormous contract. I got unbelievable negative press, for lack of a better term, for [Rangers owner] Tom Hicks and I teaming up together...

So I felt that I needed something, without overinvestigating what I was taking, to get me to the next level.
There's more pressure in NY, but I guess as the first guy to break that salary thresholds, the pressures were surely significant, I can't dismiss them. Maybe he has gotten better about handling his pressures.

See above for my thoughts on ARod's "without overinvestigating" comments.

PETER GAMMONS: How long was it before you found out that what you were doing was actually illegal?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Again, at the time of that culture, there was no illegal or legal. It was just -- you have to understand the time. To take you back there, again, people were taking a number of different things, from GNC, to whatever.

To be quite honest with you, the first time that I knew I had failed a test 100 percent was when the lady from Sports Illustrated [Selena Roberts] came into my gym just a few days ago and told me, "You have failed a test."
Cop-out. Plain and simple.

PETER GAMMONS: [Major League Baseball Players Association COO] Gene Orza didn't tell you that? There's a report that says that he told all the players who failed drug tests in 2003.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Gene was very specific in 2004. We had a meeting in September or August. Don't quote me on the date. But he said there's a government list, there's 104 players on it. You might or might not have tested positive.

At that point I said OK. That was five years ago. I never heard anything ever since. In my mind I assumed that, OK, whatever I was experiencing in Texas perhaps was OK, I'm OK. And in my mind, as I did my interview with CBS last year, I felt I haven't failed a test ... And that was my belief. Whether I wanted to convince myself of that or ... That's just where my mind was.

I felt it was important for me that all my years in New York have been clean, and I wanted just to move to the next chapter in my life.
"Might or might not have"? This is very sketchy. I have a hard time buying this. As far as the CBS interview, he lied, plain and simple.

PETER GAMMONS: ESPN surveyed a number of doctors and experts in this field, and they said the Primobolan could never be prescribed by a doctor. But it was accessible?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: First of all, I want to see these tests because I haven't seen them ... I am saying I'm guilty of being naive and not having all the information and being negligent. But I would love to see the tests before I start answering questions that I've never even heard before, probably yesterday for the first time.

So, again, I am guilty of being very naive, and I'm deeply sorry for that.
Lame. Sorry for the short comment, but it's just the perpetrating of this bogus claim that bugs me.

PETER GAMMONS: Now, you mentioned the Katie Couric interview. You were asked if you ever used steroids, human growth hormones or other performance-enhancing substances. You said no, flat-out no. In your mind, that wasn't a lie?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: At the time, Peter, I wasn't even being truthful with myself. How am I going to be truthful with Katie or CBS? Today, I'm here to tell the truth, and I feel good about that. I think my fans deserve that. I'm ready to put everything behind me and go play baseball. You know, we have a great team this year. I couldn't be more excited about the guys that we've brought in, Mark Teixeira, A.J. Burnett ... It's an important time in my life to turn the page and focus on what's next.

"I feel good about that"? Maybe he does feel better with the truth out, but have we heard the entire truth? I am not sure. We heard part of it and overall, it was a very good first step for him.

PETER GAMMONS: So from 2004 on, you have been completely clean?


I want to believe this. I sincerely do. I think that most players had been scared straight. With ARod, I just don't know.

PETER GAMMONS: Have you even been able to check and find out how many times you've been tested?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: I don't know the real number, but I would guess at least eight to 10 times. But I would like to know that number. I know I've been tested quite a bit over the last five years.
I mentioned this yesterday.

PETER GAMMONS: You were tested during the WBC [World Baseball Classic] in 2006, is that correct?

ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Correct. I got tested in 2006. And also this year when I go down to Puerto Rico, I'm sure I'll get tested again in 2009.

Prior to Texas, I really had -- at that time in Seattle, I had never even heard of a player taking a substance, a steroid of any kind in my Seattle days. I mean, I know this lady from Sports Illustrated, Selena Roberts, is trying to throw things out there that in high school I tried steroids. I mean, that's the biggest bunch of baloney I've ever heard in my life. I mean, what makes me upset is that Sports Illustrated pays this lady, Selena Roberts, to stalk me. This lady has been thrown out of my apartment in New York City. This lady has five days ago just been thrown out of the University of Miami police for trespassing. And four days ago she tried to break into my house where my girls are up there sleeping, and got cited by the Miami Beach police. I have the paper here. This lady is coming out with all these allegations, all these lies because she's writing an article for Sports Illustrated and she's coming out with a book in May.

Really respectable journalists are following this lady off the cliff and following her lead. And that, to me, is unfortunate.

The character attack on Roberts has no place here and dilutes anything ARod's trying to accomplish. It's an unfortunate turn. Particularly since Roberts has come out and refuted it all. His "this lady" reminds me, sadly, of Clinton's distancing himself of "that woman, Ms. Lewinski".

Other dissections:


Anonymous said...

Time to detach. There is no utility in parsing Gay-Roid's interviews. You can only assume if something's coming outta the guy's mouth it's some kind of fib.

Doesn't mean he's not a great player, doesn't mean he should be vilified worse than then the tengadzillion players who haven't been outed. We can't know everything he took, when he took it, what he's taking now. He probably isn't taking any steroid easily detected in a MLB urine test, although I don't know enough about masking agents to believe that with any confidence. What we do know for certain is the guy is a serial liar. Parsing lies is a fool's errand, or in this case, a frustrating and ultimately fruitless errand for a true fan who's been hit with ugly news about the best player on his chosen team.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Anon...I know I should. Maybe I will.

I love the phrase "fool's errand" and while parse this stuff, for some reason, I liked the exercise. Sorta forced me to look at every little thing.

Work's busy so if I can finish, I will.