By Joe Christensen
I was highly skeptical today when the Alex Rodriguez press conference began. I thought he’d dodge specific questions and tell more half-truths to leave loopholes for whatever evidence might surface against him in the future.
But A-Rod was pretty candid. Despite his past lies, he seemed somehow believable. By the end, I felt like it was a pretty good cleansing for this chapter of baseball history.
A-Rod said he never took HGH. (Not sure we can believe him, but at least he didn’t dodge the question.) He said he did take Ripped Fuel, a stimulant that has since been banned by MLB, when he was playing for the Mariners.
Then, from 2001 to 2003, with his cousin’s help, he began injecting a steroid that can be bought over-the-counter in the Dominican Republic.
A-Rod sure seemed forthcoming for those of us who’ve suffered through Mark McGwire (“I’m not here to talk about the past”), Sammy Sosa (“No hablo Ingles”), Rafael Palmeiro (and his infamous finger point) Jason Giambi (“I made a mistake, but my lawyers won’t let me tell you what it is”), and the repeated denials, despite all evidence, by Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
A-Rod followed the script Andy Pettitte used one year ago at the start of spring training for the Yankees, insisting he was putting all his cards on the table.
Why should we believe A-Rod now after the way he lied to Katie Couric? Why should we trust him after the way – just last week in his interview with Peter Gammons – he disparaged Sports Illustrated reporter (and proud Star Tribune alum) Selena Roberts?
Those are fair questions, and I still have my doubts. But I’m ready to move past this now. I’m not saying I’ll vote Rodriguez into the Hall of Fame someday, but as of right now, he’s higher on my list than McGwire, Bonds and Clemens.
And if my daughter was old enough to understand all this — at six weeks, she’s got a whole different view of supplements – the part I’d reinforce with her tonight is the importance of honesty.
Steroids have given baseball a foul odor. The lying has only made it worse. But today, truth was in the air – or at least I hope it was – and it sure felt refreshing.