Feb. 17 -- We're supposed to believe this?

8:17 PM

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Alex Rodriguez says he was young and stupid.

Well...he's not young anymore.

But he's stupid as hell if he expects us to swallow what he was serving up this afternoon in Tampa.

Enough already with the half-truths and made-up stories. This thing about how he and his "cousin" dabbled with over-the-counter injectible drugs they could only get in the Dominican Republic, at a time when he was entering his athletic prime and, presumably, watching everything else he put into his body just doesn't hold water.

And even if you bought it, it still leaves open too many questions:

-Is his unnamed "cousin" a doctor? And if not, is Alex insane? He was feeling pressure to perform at the beginning of his record-breaking contract, and so he and his cousin walked into some random Dominican drugstore and picked up something that they didn't know how to administer and didn't know whether it would be effective and just started taking it twice a month for three years? If this story is true, then Alex is a stone-cold moron. If it's not true (which is where the smart money is), then it's a bad, bad lie. Because it's impossible to believe.

-Was he such an outcast in the Rangers' clubhouse that he really didn't talk to other players in there about steroid use? It seems, from everything we've learned, that pretty much every single play on those Ranger teams was doing steroids. Alex never had a conversation with a teammate in which this stuff came up? What are you taking? Do you think it's helping? That kind of stuff?

-Is he really, truly sorry for what he did? Does he really think he made a mistake? Is he really interested in telling kids his story and keeping them off the stuff? Because for a guy about whom all of that is true, he seems awfully concerned with making sure everybody still thinks of him as a Hall of Fame baseball player. All you hear is how good he was before 2001, how good he's been since 2003. How he still wants to go to the Hall of Fame. I'm not sure, if a man is feeling real remorse, that that would be such a high priority.

Alex cares deeply what other people think about him. He's a textbook case of a kid who didn't have a father and spends his life desperately seeking attention, affirmation and approval. In a lot of ways, that's the sad part of his story -- a real reason, if you're so inclined, to pity him.

But the problem is always the same with Alex. He doesn't come off as sincere. Even when he's being sincere, he doesn't seem it. And that kills him in terms of public perception.

A year ago, Andy Pettitte sat in the same spot and answered questions for 55 minutes about his appearance in the Mitchell Report. Several times during that session, Yankees media relations director Jason Zillo tried to cut it off and Pettitte told him not to. Before and after the session, Pettitte approached reporters who'd covered him for years, individually, and apologized for "putting you in a position to write bad things about me." Pettitte could have been lying through his teeth that day, but for some reason all of his actions had a genuine feel. He's a more genuine person, and a more likable person, and for him that's the biggest reason 2008 went as smoothly as it did after February.

Alex won't be so fortunate, for way too many reasons. But the biggest reason is that anybody who watched that fiasco in Tampa on Tuesday has to still be wondering what the whole truth is. And as long as we're all still wondering that, this won't be over.


1 Response to "Feb. 17 -- We're supposed to believe this?"

Drew Sarver said :
February 18, 2009 at 12:49 PM
Dan, sorry you're gone from the Ledger, but glad to see you here.

What did you make of A-Rod sitting the entire time rather than standing at the podium. I'm guessing his PR firm told him to.

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