Tuesday, January 14, 2014

In Other Words: A-Rod and 'The Legacy' - Part One

Rodriguez Takes His Case to the People – Keeps Mum in Hearings

"I know that I am in a position where I have to earn my trust back. And over time, I am confident that, at the end of my career, people will see this for what it is -- a stupid mistake and a lesson learned for a guy with a lot of baseball to play.” - Alex Rodriguez, during 2009 press conference where he admitted to using PEDs from 2001-03.

JAN 14th, 2014-Well, well, well.

Everyone's favorite Yankees third baseman is in the news, again. Shockingly, the current situation does not show him in a good light.

Let's take a look back at 2009, when Rodriguez found himself in a similar situation: A-Rod was dealing with the accusation (which he vehemently denied) that he had used PEDs during the 2001-03 seasons while a Texas Ranger. After a great many assertions from both the accused and the accusers, Rodriguez finally came clean (or, at least, as clean as he could be):

"As I discussed with Peter Gammons, in the years 2001, '02 and '03, I experimented with a banned substance that eventually triggered a positive test.”

As he put it initially in an admission that was rather late in coming, he 'experimented' with a banned substance. He doesn't just come out and say 'yes, I purposely used what I knew to be an illegal, banned substance', nor does he state what the aforementioned substance happened to be. More on that, later.

What he does say, however, is every bit as interesting:

"Going back to 2001, my cousin started telling me about a substance that you could purchased over the counter in the DR [Dominican Republic]. In the streets, it's known as 'boli' or 'bole.' It was his understanding that it would give me a dramatic energy boost and [was] otherwise harmless. My cousin and I, one more ignorant than the other, decided it was a good idea to start taking it. My cousin would administer it to me, but neither of us knew how to use it properly, providing just how ignorant we both were.”

In this part of the statement, it seems pretty obvious that he's trying to paint a picture of two naïve young men who were using a substance they didn't fully understand. I guess it's just hard for me to swallow; if I were a pro athlete making 25 mil a year (or more), I think I'd want to know every detail about every 'substance' that went into my body. But I guess that's just me.

Anyway, it almost seems like Rodriguez wants the public to believe that he might not have known just how serious was the situation in which he put himself. But then comes this gem:

It was pretty evident we didn't know what we were doing.”

To whom, exactly? Moving on:

"I stopped taking it for several reasons: In 2003, I had a serious neck injury and it scared me half to death. I was scared for my career and truly my career after baseball -- my life out of baseball. Secondly, after our voluntary test, all the players voted for a Major League Drug Policy. At that time it became evident to me how serious this all was (emphasis added) . And I decided to stop then. Since that time, I've been tested regularly. I've taken urine tests consistent with Major League Baseball and blood tests for the World Baseball Classic. Before walking in here today, I took a test as part of my physical, and I will take another blood test next week for the Classic.”

'At that time'”, he is quick to acknowledge, “'it became evident to me how serious this all was.”. So it was only then that you realized just how serious things had become?

He's asking us to believe that he was, essentially, led down this path by an outside influence. The blame lies somewhat more heavily on those who were involved in convincing him to take these substances, right?

And by the way, what was it that he took? Rodriguez says that the street name for the substance is 'boli'. T.J. Quinn of ESPN wrote an analysis of that statement on February 25th, 2009:

'If boli refers to Primobolan (a brand name for methenolone), it can't be purchased over the counter in the Dominican Republic (emphasis added). So how did they get it? The black market?'”

I think the emphasis is, in this particular statement, especially important. It seems to me that critics of PED use seem more often to focus on the potential benefit these drugs offer to the players who use them. The fact that obtaining said drugs without a prescription or by methods which don't involve being under a doctor's care is glossed over in favor of shining the spotlight on stats and records.

A transcript of A-Rods news conference was posted on MLB.com on Feb 17th, 2009. Rodriguez gives a curious response to one question posed to him by the MLB reporter in which he was asked why he stopped using PEDs (supposedly) when he came to the Yankees in 2004:

'I keep going back to -- I entered the game when I was 18. For a lot of people, if I had a son I would definitely recommend going to college and having an opportunity to grow up. And I didn't. I felt like I said in my statement that after I had my neck injury and after I realized MLB was implementing tests that this was serious business. It was time to grow up. Since, I've realized that I didn't need any of it.'”

Ah, so now we have the reason A-Rod used PEDs: immaturity. In essence, he suggests that entering pro ball as a teenager somehow inhibited his ability to grow into a mature, responsible adult. I don't even know how to respond to that.

He goes on to blame his PED use on being 'young and stupid', which is a point I'm not even going to attempt to refute. He most definitely was, in some ways, young and stupid for being involved with what he himself tells us was something he didn't fully understand. He even says that he didn't KNOW that the substance in question was steroids:

"'I didn't think they were steroids at the time. Again, that's part of being young and stupid. It was over the counter...

OK, that's a lie. If it WAS Primobolan, then it most definitely was not over the counter. But I digress:

'...it was pretty basic and it was really amateur hour. It was two guys, we couldn't go outside, who couldn't ask anyone, didn't want to ask anyone. We went outside team doctors, team trainers. It was two guys doing a very amateur and immature thing. We probably didn't even take it right. Like I said in my statement, we used to do it about two times a month...'”

To me, this is a veiled attempt at suggesting that he shouldn't be held fully accountable because he was too ignorant to know how to take the drug that (again, I say) he readily admitted to not understanding fully. Moving further on:

'I don't even know if that is proper. So when this gentleman asked me about how it affected us -- I'm not sure we even did it right to affect us in the right way. All these years, I never thought I did anything that was wrong.'”

In other words, he wants us to believe that what he DID take, in the way he took it, wasn't enough to cast doubt upon his statistics. Are we kids, or what?

A-Rod wants us to believe that he was seeing the professional sports world through the eyes of a child; that he, as I said previously:
  1. Didn't know what he was taking
  2. Didn't know it was wrong, and
  3. Didn't even know if he was taking it properly
Does anyone else find this hilarious? I've been told that I have a quirky sense of humor, but I think it's a laugh riot.

I could go on and on with the farcical sideshow that was Alex Rodriguez in 2009, but I don't see the need. I mentioned all of these statements to set the groundwork for analyzing his most recent attempt at defending his naivete.

It gets even more hilarious from here.

(To Be Continued...)
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