"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

I Confess

In an interview today with Peter Gammons of ESPN, Alex Rodriguez fessed up:

“When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day,” Rodriguez told ESPN’s Peter Gammons in an interview in Miami Beach, Fla. “Back then, [baseball] was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve. I wanted to prove to everyone I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time.

“I did take a banned substance. For that, I’m very sorry and deeply regretful.”

…”Overall, I felt a tremendous pressure to play, and play really well” in Texas, the New York Yankees third baseman said. “I had just signed this enormous contract I felt like I needed something, a push, without over-investigating what I was taking, to get me to the next level.

“I am sorry for my Texas years. I apologize to the fans of Texas.”

…Rodriguez also said of his 2007 interview with Katie Couric on “60 Minutes,” when he denied ever using steroids, that “at the time, I wasn’t being truthful with myself. How could I be truthful with Katie Couric or CBS?”

Rodriguez is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t but this is a good first step.

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1 Ben   ~  Feb 9, 2009 2:52 pm


I can relate to the theme of self-delusion he's hitting on. I could certainly claim it for myself in regards to past sins. Don't think it's going to fly very well for A-rod here.

I view this whole episode as an unwanted distraction. It's nearly spring training and there's no escaping that the baseball coverage is going to be full of A-Roid stuff and not what I love Spring for...

If Jeter's name ever comes up in relation to this stuff, I'd have to turn off the game until the smoke cleared. Man I hope it never comes to that.

Other untouchables in my book Mo, Maddox, Schilling believe it or not. Who else? Ripkin? It's not the the morality of it for me, it's about how big a hit the game would take. A-rod??? eh, people already love to hate this guy. I think the game will survive.

2 Ben   ~  Feb 9, 2009 2:53 pm

Tony Gwynn? It's a short list, sad to say.

3 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 9, 2009 2:58 pm

Are we all happy now? Can we go back to playing/watching baseball and reading Alex's human interest opuses (opi?) and Cliff's juicy analyses of roster changes and potential lineups, or is this going to be winter for six more weeks? >;)

4 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 9, 2009 2:59 pm

Well, I'm pleasantly surprised. I think he handled it the right way.

Now the benefit is, he might be pissed off enough to prove that what he's done in NY isn't the result of PEDs, and so go out and have a monster year. I'll take that.

5 RagingTartabull   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:00 pm

I think what it comes down to is, no one remembers the language of Andy Pettitte's admission...they just remember that he admitted. No one remembers the exact language of Roger Clemens denial...just that he denied it.

Theres going to be a big chunk of people that this doesn't fly for, but the headlines tomorrow will read as the condensed version which is basically "A-ROD ADMITS IT". It isn't perfect, but its not the worst case scenario either. He's at least put himself in the position to play the "Hey I admitted and apologized, what more do you want from me?" card which I think most people will accept after the initial hub-bub dies down.

6 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:01 pm

[3] Not to forget Diane's decorous linkoramas, as well as Will and Bruce's inside takes of course...

7 Rich   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:02 pm

This is his only shot at eventual redemption.

8 nemecizer   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:04 pm

Good for A-Rod for fessing up. It was the right thing to do. I'd now like to see other players admit their wrongdoing so we can all move on.

Do you hear me, David Ortiz?

9 The Hawk   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:04 pm

I wrote this in the other thread:

Wow, the excerpts from the ESPN interview read like A Rod is spinning hard. Though I didn’t read any claims that PEDs don’t enhance performance. Even he’s not gonna try that one.

10 Yankee Fan in Boston   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:07 pm

Yes. Thank you.

It doesn't make things right, but it was the only somewhat honorable thing to do.

I was cringing, waiting for the denial. He had better hope that he's being honest about when he stopped, though. If anything else surfaces, any goodwill earned through this admission will be long forgotten.

His only shot at the Hall of Fame, which let's face it is something he would desperately want, was clearing the air and playing 9 years of amazing, clean baseball.

Let's hope he can do that.

11 MichiganYankee   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:09 pm

Regarding the Couric denial, has a single player proactively admitted to PED use when not under oath? I would not be at all suprised if the MLBPA or even MLB has issued directives to players to take all measures, including outright lying, to avoid confessing.

12 Dimelo   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:10 pm

I am willing to bet the farm that in the next 9 years something will come out to show ARod took some PED, post 2004 - his years with the Yanks.

[0] "Rodriguez is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t but this is a good first step." He's not damned if he does or doesn't, he told Couric he never took roids so if anyone is damned he has no one to blame except himself for that "damning".

13 MichiganYankee   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:11 pm

[9] In A-Rod's case, his Texas numbers aren't much different than his Seattle numbers. His physical bulking up came after the move to New York, but he can say that he trained differently for playing third base.

14 Yankee Fan in Boston   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:12 pm

[12] damn...

15 yankee23   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:13 pm

Well I'm glad A-Rod went with this approach. Now, can we get back to what's important?

3 days, 19 hours 'til pitchers & catchers report.

23 days, 13 hours 'til the World Baseball Classic starts.

all together now:
Let’s Go Yan-Kees!

16 monkeypants   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:13 pm

[3] Chyll,

I am neither happy nor unhappy. But I am relieved that stripped away at last are the last vestiges of my naive adherence to the notion of "clean" athletes and my equally naive hope that one such "clean" athlete (A-Rod) might "purify" the record books. Now I my emotional detachment from the game's records and numbers is complete and I can totally stop caring about who puts up video game stats and how.

17 The Hawk   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:15 pm

"A loosey-goosey era" ... Shit, dude.

18 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:16 pm

I think Arod's response is perfectly acceptable. There will be those who still want there pound of flesh, but I think Arod should be able to settle back into his role as the Yankees best player. Hopefully, he'll have a good experience with DR, which will also give the Yankees the chance to have a relatively quite camp without him.

19 Dimelo   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:20 pm

[17] Not only that, he's using the naive card to say he didn't know what he put into his body. This is the same ARod where all we hear are reports that he watches everything he puts in his body.

Leave it up to ARod to mess this up, too. I hope nothing else comes out, but I have a sneaky suspicion that the daily news has their special steroid investigative team in a room looking to disprove everything he just said.

20 MichiganYankee   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:27 pm

[13] I'll take a bit of that back. I just checked the stats and saw that he did experience a significant power boost upon his arrival in Texas. This boost could, however, be attributable to park effects and physical maturity.

Note also that A-Rod's 2001 teammates included Pudge, Palmiero and Caminiti.

21 knuckles   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:27 pm

I’m sorry I don’t post all that often anymore. Work is nuts.

But I just wanted to throw in a hearty “Who cares?” on this issue.

It was wrong- yes.
It was against the rules at the time- no.
It was supposed to ne anonymous that year- yes.
The “journalist” who outed the story isn’t doing so for personal gain- no.
Everyone has an agenda- yes.
We would be surprised who the other 103 names are- no.
Unless it’s Mo.

22 UKRoss   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:27 pm

i agree with what is being said... that this should put it to bed.

the one thing that doesn't sit well with me tho (so i guess i'm not quite putting it to bed yet) is that A-Rod said he felt the pressure of the contract and producing in Texas, well isn't the pressure of not producing in NY even more reason to get on the Juice? it seems odd if you would juice in texas and then stop when he came to the biggest pressure pot in all of baseball.

anyways. he needed to speak. and he has.

23 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:27 pm

[16] (patting you on the back, my friend)

24 The Hawk   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:27 pm

[19] He's really quite a specimen. I mean, how many people could do the right thing, but do it so ... wrong? He needs someone to write him a script for stuff like this, and just stick to it.

25 Simone   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:30 pm

Alex is so full of BS. He was taking the most expensive PEDs and he doesn't really know what he was taking? What a joke. All these guys, liars and cheats to the end. I hope he plans to answer the Feds more truthfully if they come a'knocking.

26 rbj   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:33 pm

[24] At which point he'll be attacked for being scripted.

At least he did the intelligent thing and confessed now, hopefully it will be blown over by the time spring training starts so it won't be a huge distracting story for the whole team.

27 The Hawk   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:34 pm

"I don't know what the hell I was taking. And there's no proof they work anyway. But I'm still really sorry. Reeeeeaaaallly sorry."

28 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:43 pm

[26] As expected, even an apology wont appease the moral masses who still demand their pound of flesh, so Arod is really in a no-win situation. Hopefully, he realizes that absent falling on a sword, these type of people will rant and rave from their high horse. If he does that, I think he'll settle back into his routine and his playing career will go forth smoothly. If he tries to appease the angry mob, however, then he'll be mired in this for some time.

29 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:47 pm

Jim Kaat is making so much sense in an interview right now, that the morality police may issue a warrant for his arrest.

30 Jeterian Swing   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:47 pm

[28] If the apology is riddled with half-truths and outright lies, why should ANYONE be satisfied by it? What good does this do anyone?

31 boslaw   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:48 pm

Wasn't the actual question Couric posed more along the lines of 'did you take HGH, steroids or other performance enhancing drugs'?

ARod could argue that Parabolin (or whatever it's called) isn't performance enhancing, it's a weight loss drug. That is, if he wanted to get into the semantics game. I think it would be a bad move to go down that path (sort of like a backhanded apology where you apologize but then say you didn't do anything wrong) but I wouldn't have been surprised if he did that. Instead, he came out and probably told the whole truth - I felt a lot of pressure, it was a different time then, I took the drug, I was stupid and I'm sorry but I can't change history.

I think he handled it the best way it could have been handled. He didn't really justify - he said he did it because he felt the pressure to perform the best that he could, and thought that this might help him live up to his contract.

What would really help move past the whole steroids issue is if the top player-reps of the union came out and admitted, collectively, that x% of players used steroids, probably up until 2007, and it was a bad thing for them and for baseball, but now they're all tested regularly, etc. It won't satisfy the public blood lust but it might diffuse the situation a bit - maybe make it a bit easier for people to admit without fearing repercussions. If 80% of players were using, it's kind of hard to keep someone out of the HOF based on their own personal use.

32 tommyl   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:51 pm

I think we are overlooking the most disturbing thing about this: It means Conseco was right! Dear lord, anyone remember who else he named and we all said, "No way, he's making that up."?

33 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:55 pm

[30] Right...and the judge and jury of those "lies" and "half truths" would be who? If Arod admitted to taking steroids since birth, people who claim he was blaming his problem on his mother. There will always be people riding a high horse...there's no use trying to out run them.

34 Jeterian Swing   ~  Feb 9, 2009 3:58 pm

[33] YOU be the judge and jury, William. Do you believe him when he says he didn't know what he was putting in his body?

35 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 9, 2009 4:03 pm

[34] That's not what he said...he said he didn't know what he tested positive for and he admitted to experimenting over a 3-year period. That sounds perfectly plausible to me. Do people really think that these athletes know the exact chemical names (or their variety of aliases) and properties of the substances they were taking. Besides, why does it matter. He has admitted to taking substances that were banned.

36 The Hawk   ~  Feb 9, 2009 4:23 pm

Let's talk about the moralizing of all the baseball-loving kids out there, on their high horses obviously, because they're disappointed their hero is a cheater. Crocodile tears, I say! Self-righteous cads, right down to the last 10 year old with an A Rod poster on his wall ...

37 The Hawk   ~  Feb 9, 2009 4:26 pm

As far as an apology not satisfying the self-righteous masses calling for A Rod's head - the irony is if he had actually just apologized without hemming and hawing and equivocating, it probably would have gone a lot further. At least that's how it looks from up here on my steed.

38 UKRoss   ~  Feb 9, 2009 4:33 pm

[35] i guess the point Jeterian swing was making was that you have to question the validy of what he said, because this is a guy who has been big on fitness/nutrition his whole career and it seems a bit out of character to think that he would just inject some random shit in his body that he knew nothing about and didn't know the name of. which to me suggests there's more to it.

even when Gammons suggests the time period of 01 - 03 A-Rod is pretty vague, i think he says something like.. "that sounds about right."

on a positive note (no pun intended) i think this will free up A-Rod from feeling like he can;t let people down etc and just go out there and produce.

39 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 9, 2009 4:34 pm

[35] Moreover, he's the first superstar current player to straight-up admit it without being under oath or subpoena. Not that this makes it all right, but it might lead others to come out themselves. If that happens, I'll bet most fans would quickly put all this crap to bed. What would you want from these guys? Banishment? Hari kiri? If Canseco was absolutely right about the percentage of ballplayers using PEDs, you might as well shut down the sport altogether and refund everyone the money they spent for the last twenty years in order to appease the every single baseball fan in existence.

So what d'ya say? Shut down baseball until you've weeded out all the users, past and present? Use replacement players until the users have rehabilitated and cleansed their bodies of all evil? Institutionalize them for a set term or until they repay their debt to society? Accept that PED use is rampant and uncontainable, so decriminalize it and level the playing field for all athletes?

It's our move now, people.

40 The Hawk   ~  Feb 9, 2009 4:36 pm

Mike Francesa mentioned this and I assume he's being accurate cause I didn't read it but - I love the idea that A Rod told Couric he hadn't done anything because at the time he didn't know he tested positive. Amazing - he figures he got away with it therefore it didn't happen as far as anyone else is concerned. That's just delusional. Well, I guess he copped to being delusional but still.

The best thing I've read so far is this comment on mediabistro: "Well the media got another one! Gotya! That is what happens when you played for a GW Bush owned team"

All right A Rod apologists, I want you to top THAT conspiracy theory.

41 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 9, 2009 4:37 pm

[36] Yep...10 year olds are just crushed I'm sure. Like Amy Carter, I am sure that after they cry on their pillows about steroids, they'll hide under the beds in fear of nuclear war.

I forgot...it's always about the kids.

42 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Feb 9, 2009 4:43 pm

From where I sit, William is hitting it out of the park on this, pretty much. Of COURSE I can believe that an athlete doesn't know or remember the chemical or trade name of a product he takes ... we see it too often. It is a PED, end of his questioning. Maybe 'will it give me breasts?' There's a guy in the clubhouse 'helping' a few teammates, Rodriguez signs up. But, as William says, why does it matter if he knows the name? Put another way, why would he LIE about that, when the names are out there? The smart thing to do, if you are playing games, is memorize the damned name and say it in the interview, even if you DIDN'T know back then.

And, for the high horse brigade, try being smoothly media perfect at a time like this knowing the baseball planet is all over it. Frankly, if he WAS media perfect, he'd get indicted for THAT. He only confessed when caught. Right. Any of the other 103 giving interviews this week?

I'm saddened by all this, as Alex clearly was, and part of it was a naive (that word) hope that a clean player would help the sport recover by breaking records in NY. We'll all have to move on from that one ...

43 The Hawk   ~  Feb 9, 2009 4:45 pm

[41] Obviously it's not since no-one had mentioned it ... Nah you're right. Fuck 'em! It's their parents' fault anyway, teaching them values and whatnot. Why the hell is A Rod apologizing anyway? He's got nothing to apologize for. He didn't know what he was doing, everyone was doing it and whatever it was, it didn't do anything anyway. The game isn't adversely affected, his health isn't adversely affected, baseball fans - no matter how young - don't care, and neither should they! There was no ethical lapse, there was no weakness of character, he's a target, people are self-righteous, confidential information was leaked, the reporter is a bitch, he played for a Bush-owned team, he had a lot of pressure, and ... and he's "the best player in the game". Damn this is much ado about nothing!

44 The Hawk   ~  Feb 9, 2009 4:47 pm

Can we get an Alex Rodriguez/Christian Bale variety hour, stat? Call it "Honey and Vinegar". I am ready NOW.

45 Jeterian Swing   ~  Feb 9, 2009 4:53 pm

[42] Actually, according to William, it wasn't so much that he didn't know what he took but what he tested positive for, which are two different things, but I'm not sure I find either one entirely plausible. And I DEFINITELY don't believe that A-Rod, for three years after signing the biggest contract in baseball history, was simply injecting whatever drug the clubhouse pusher was offering.

FWIW, I take no moral issue with the use of PEDs because it's far too complex and multilayered for my notions of morality. I'm just saying he comes off like a liar in his explanation, which is so frustratingly typical of A-Rod.

46 Bama Yankee   ~  Feb 9, 2009 4:53 pm

[41] Maybe they could just televise all this steriod stuff on FOX during the same time slot as the World Series or with the same Saturday blackout rules... that way the 10 year olds would never even hear about it.

[39] Since we're talking about baseball players wouldn't it be "Harry Caray"? (making them wear those big glasses and signing at Cubs games might actually be a good punishment)...

47 Simone   ~  Feb 9, 2009 4:57 pm

[32] Speak for yourself. I read that book and believed Canseco. Anyone who didn't wanted to stick their heads in the sands.

48 Jeterian Swing   ~  Feb 9, 2009 5:04 pm

Honestly the quote is so vague that I can't figure out what he means:

“It was such a loosey-goosey era. I’m guilty for a lot of things. I’m guilty for being negligent, naive, not asking all the right questions,” Rodriguez said. “And to be quite honest, I don’t know exactly what substance I was guilty of using.”

Does he not know what drug he was FOUND guilty of using? (FYI, Alex, it was two drugs: testosterone and primobolan. Happy to help!) Or does he not know what drugs he was using?

And how does either explanation seem plausible?

49 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 9, 2009 5:10 pm

Not really on topic, but tonight is the first time in 3 years I will watch SportsCenter without it being the Giants having won the Super Bowl or someone (Scooter, among others) dying.

I look forward to seeing the whole interview, and not analyzing a bit of it.

50 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 9, 2009 5:11 pm

[46] You had to come back in with that? (Well, at least you responded... >;)

51 Bama Yankee   ~  Feb 9, 2009 5:43 pm

[50] Sorry, that's the best I could do... I have been reading all this stuff and it doesn't really matter too much to me. I don't care if every player in the league admits to using steriods. If they broke a law, then arrest them. If they broke a baseball rule, then penalize them. I realize that it is a complicated issue and baseball probably felt it would be difficlut to clean it up quickly. They made some mistakes along the way, the players made some mistakes along the way. However, now there are rules and testing in place. I prefer to move on.

As for the stats, does anyone really think that the stats from different eras are that comparable anyway? I mean, the equipment has changed, the rules have changed, the players have changed (even without the roids), the diversity of the game has changed, the length of seasons have changed and expansion has diluted the talent. Heck, even the baseball itself has changed... remember 1987 when the ball was supposedly juiced? So, comparing stats over different time frames has always been somewhat problematic to me...and this is no different.

Maybe I'm being too simplistic. But what I like about baseball has not been tarnished by any of this stuff. I just can't wait to smell the green grass and hear the pop of the ball in the mit. Spring means baseball and baseball means spring...time for things to start to grow again, time for a new start. Play ball.

52 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 9, 2009 5:48 pm

I'm not at all a fan of this stupid "I didn't know what i was putting in my body!" BS, but actually admitting the intent to cheat puts him a step above Andy Pettitte's pack of lies.

53 Simone   ~  Feb 9, 2009 6:02 pm

Wow, I'm surprised that Kornheiser and Wilbon didn't buy Alex's crap about being young and naive. After listening to stupidity of the" Around the Horn" panel, it was great to hear two quality reporters refuse to believe his lies.

54 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 9, 2009 6:06 pm

I'm younger now than Alex was then. Young and naive doesn't really cut it for me.

55 rbj   ~  Feb 9, 2009 6:16 pm

8 - 10 tests over the last five years. Twice a year doesn't sound like a lot to me.

56 The Hawk   ~  Feb 9, 2009 7:11 pm

After watching the interview, I'm ready to re-trust him for now. He was all over the place, very A Rodian, but somehow I ended up feeling all right about it. Fish gotta swim, etc. He is, gloriously even, what he is. And maybe now that being the "greatest player ever"(*) is a highly questionable pursuit for him, A Rod's karma will transform him into the ultimate clutch player and champion. Make it so!

57 rbj   ~  Feb 9, 2009 7:15 pm

Just a hunch, but I don't think Selena Roberts should wait for a valentine from A-Rod.

58 SteveAmerica   ~  Feb 9, 2009 9:12 pm

Like half the pitchers weren't on something too? who cares. let them all juice.

59 SteveAmerica   ~  Feb 9, 2009 9:12 pm

[53] What lies?

60 SteveAmerica   ~  Feb 9, 2009 9:16 pm

Also for everyone who gets on the apologizers for being vague, consider this:

Alex: I'm gonna do the right thing Scott, I'm going on with that assbag Gammons and I'm gonna admit it.

Boras: Ok, good call, but just one thing, you have to be vague about what you specifically took, and what your intent was. If you are too specific you open yourself up to civil or criminal litigation. Don't give anyone the shovel to dig your grave. Be vague about you intent and the specifics of what you knew. Got it champ.

Alex: Cool.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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