No Closure for A-Crock as Camp Opens
Alex Rodriguez's voice faltered as he tried to compose himself to continue reading his prepared script. He was starting to choke up like an October ninth-inning at bat with the winning run on second. Only three minutes in, he had reached the point in his apology where he was trying to thank his assembled teammates for showing up at his public flogging. Thirty uncomfortable seconds later as still cameras clicked away recording his emotional meltdown, all A-Rod could muster was a weak "Thank you." Flanked by manager Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman (no Scott Boras anywhere to be seen), A-Rod struggled through his speech then limped through some tough questions from an audience of about 130 skeptical media members. The overall effect was perhaps therapeutic for baseball's highest-paid player, but his explanations left observers less than satisfied that the entire story has been told.
Last week he told Peter Gammons in an exclusive ESPN interview, a session his own people had set up for him that he had used steroids from 2001-03. Today he added to the tale, bringing in details about an unnamed cousin who was the transporter from the Dominican and the man that did the mutual injection thing with him. He offered that he had averaged about two injections per month for those three years of a substance that he wasn't quite sure of the name, that he didn't know they were steroids, that he didn't know how to administer them properly so he's not sure if they even worked, that he didn't know what of any effect it had on him, that no teammates in Texas knew about his activity, that he was young and ignorant at the time and that he actually forgot about the experimentation with steroids until he talked to his unnamed cousin in the last nine days, even though he remembered the neck injury in the spring of '03 that persuaded him to stop.
Even though the end result of today's confession was not as satisfying or convincing as Andy Pettitte's similar exercise the year before, really people, it's time to move on. Nothing more can be gained from pounding on the table and demanding that A-Rod give up all the gory details. The moment has passed -- as long as he is now off of the stuff as it seems. The rest of the baseball playing world is becoming very cautious and concerned. We know A-Rod is not going to be punished by the commissioner because of the terms of the original agreement that none of the104 names on the 2004 list of positive tests would be revealed. A-Rod has taken all the drug tests required by the Basic Agreement and annual blood tests for the team and the World Baseball Classic. It says here that this and other coming steroid revelations will lead to a much tougher drug testing and punishment policy in the next basic agreement. That's good.
"Today's not about him being a Hall-of-Famer, it's about him moving forward," Cashman said after the players had all departed. A telling sight was that as soon as the press conference ended, his high-profile teammates streamed out of the tent in a samba-line of relief headed for the parking lot. Andy Pettitte, who had shared the front row over on the side (where a jury box would normally be) with Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada -- Pettitte pulled out his cell phone flipped it open and pretended to take a call to avoid having to speak to reporters. Gold Glove no love.