A-Rod Apologia Part 25,701,932,947,462,514,234

Groan

A-Rod has his big press conference today. It’s pretty grim. He says evil cousin Kevin gave him the drugs and he took it unquestioningly. We’re all having our credulity stretched to breaking point, but that was the gist of it. It’s so stupid that it creates more questions than it solves. Considering he had a bunch of people advising him how to handle this press conference, it looks like it was a bit of a stinker.

This is A-Rod’s Statement.

Here’s the NYT’s take from Tyler Kepner.

Rodriguez began the news conference by reading a prepared statement and took questions for about 30 minutes. He paused for 38 seconds near the start when he tried to address his teammates, from stars like Derek Jeter to rookies like Phil Coke. “Thank you,” Rodriguez finally said.

“I saw tears in his eyes,” said Manager Joe Girardi, who sat at a table with General Manager Brian Cashman and Rodriguez. “I thought he was disappointed that it’s come to this. For him to look over and see his teammates, he was moved. I think he really felt like they were part of his family.”

The Yankees are tied to Rodriguez through 2017, after signing him to a 10-year, $275 million contract in December 2007, when Hank Steinbrenner was more visible atop the organization. (Steinbrenner attended the news conference but his brother, Hal, did not.) Rodriguez has stressed that he has been clean since joining the Yankees in 2004, and said he had never taken human growth hormone.

He did admit to using an over-the-counter supplement called Ripped Fuel when he played for the Seattle Mariners, his team from 1994 through 2000. Ripped Fuel contained the substance ephedra, which increases energy and burns fat.

In 2003, Steve Bechler, a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, died after he had been using ephedra. The federal government banned the over-the-counter sale of ephedra in 2004. Major League Baseball added it to its list of banned drugs in 2005 and began testing for it a year later, along with other stimulants.

It is not clear what substance Rodriguez was referring to when he said that he had used the drug “known on the streets as boli or bollee.” Rodriguez said his cousin bought the drug legally in the Dominican Republic.

What can you say? Cousin Kevin who straps Tommy to a chair injected him with steroids? Here’s a blog entry from Peter Abraham about how Brian Cashman was handling this situation.

Then we have Brian Cashman, who clearly would like to find a Wayback Machine, go back to 2007 and get rid of his third baseman.
Here is what Cashman said when asked about A-Rod saying he was young and stupid:
“Those are the facts he gave you, it doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. I like the fact more that he was stupid rather than young or naïve. It was a bad decision that may cost him on so many levels.”
Then there was this:
“We’ve invested in him as an asset. And because of that, this is an asset that is going through a crisis. So we’ll do everything we can to protect that asset and support that asset and try to salvage that asset.”
An asset? Brrrrrr.

Yeah that would be right. I imagine Brian Cashman feels a deep betrayal, and it’s goin to take one heck of a MVP season from A-Rod to get himself out of Cashman’s doghouse.
I also want to link to this piece which kind of gives you insight on how gormless Bud Selig has been about this issue.

In a lengthy telephone interview Monday, the commissioner of baseball strongly disputed the widely held perception that he was in any way complicit in the proliferation of steroids in major-league baseball during the past 15 years.

“I don’t want to hear the commissioner turned a blind eye to this or he didn’t care about it,” Selig said. “That annoys the you-know-what out of me. You bet I’m sensitive to the criticism. The reason I’m so frustrated is, if you look at our whole body of work, I think we’ve come farther than anyone ever dreamed possible.”

Selig pointed to the reduction in the number of positive steroid tests among major- and minor-league players during the past three years, as well as the institution of amphetamine testing as evidence that baseball’s 2005 drug policy is working.

He also defended his efforts to stop the use of performance-enhancing drugs as far back as 1999, the year after Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, two now-suspected steroid cheats, staged a seasonlong home run derby that helped pull baseball out of the tailspin it went into after the work stoppage of 1994.

“I’m not sure I would have done anything differently,” Selig said. “A lot of people say we should have done this or that, and I understand that. They ask me, ‘How could you not know?’ and I guess in the retrospect of history, that’s not an unfair question. But we learned and we’ve done something about it. When I look back at where we were in ’98 and where we are today, I’m proud of the progress we’ve made.”

Selig said he pushed for a more stringent drug policy during the labor negotiations of 2002 but ultimately settled for a watered-down version out of fear that the players association would force another work stoppage.

“Starting in 1995, I tried to institute a steroid policy,” Selig said. “Needless to say, it was met with strong resistance. We were fought by the union every step of the way.”

It’s a bit like a guy arriving late by train claiming the train broke down, but he jogged in the direction of the destination while the cariage was being fixed. This is the same Baseball Commissioner’s office that had Kennesaw Mountain Landis unilaterally ban the Black Sox back in the day.

Why didn’t Bud get tougher? Why did he wait all those years before he gently nudged the subject towards the Union? It wasn’t as if the warning signs weren’t there. It should have been one of the non-negotiables. When the premier slugger on the premier team gets busted for steroids, it’s a little late, don’t you think? The Yankees are having to wear a lot of the Steroid smear thanks to the players it signed on the basis of their steroid fueled performances. If I were Hank and Hal, I’d be a little pissed off about how Bud’s timidity in tackling the issue ended up as the Yankees’ PR nightmare.

As a guy who roots for the laundry, this is just all too alienating. It also brought this question to mind: If a model inflates her boobs and ends up on the Sports Illustrated calendar, does anybody cry foul for her performance getting enhanced?

It’s professional sports. It’s not amateur sports or the Olympics. The records are all tainted, so those don’t matter. Maybe we’re all barking up the wrong tree? Maybe what needs to happen is a way in which PEDs are administered rationally and reasonably to help Pro athletes perform with PEDs without coming to harm?

Jose Canseco is now vindicated. He wants an apology.

Jose Canseco believes he was the only player telling the whole truth about steroids. Who used and when. For how long.
He was called a liar and a huckster for admitting in two books he juiced for nearly the entire length of a 462 home run career and describing how he injected teammates with illegal anabolic steroids and human growth hormone.
Now that players he named in his tell-all memoirs, like Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro, have admitted using performance-enhancing drugs or flunked drug tests, Canseco wants an apology from baseball for treating him as an outcast.
“It’s time for somebody in baseball to say to Jose Canseco, ‘We’re sorry you got treated the way you did,”‘ said Canseco’s attorney, Dennis Holahan.
The former Bash Brother wants more than forgiveness from baseball. He wants to educate the sport, too. Canseco offered to help baseball move on from the steroid era and end the use of banned substances with education about the dangers of drugs, starting at the high school level.
Holahan sent a letter last week to union head Donald Fehr and Gene Orza, the union’s chief operating officer, offering the former slugger’s assistance.
Holahan’s letter explained how Canseco regretted writing his 2005 book, “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big,” and wanted to restore his “good name.”
“Nevertheless, after being vilified and labelled an informant and a liar, all allegations, in both of his books, have now been proven to be truthful, including the recent news about Alex Rodriguez,” Holahan said in the letter obtained by The Associated Press.
Holahan held a conference call on Friday with two union lawyers, including Steve Fehr, and spoke again with Fehr on Tuesday to discuss the letter.
“We want some kind of joint response to the situation and some plan to move forward where Jose is included, instead of excluded,” Holahan said Tuesday night.

Frankly, I don’t blame him. If Bonds was allowed to hit his home runs on PEDs and everybody turned a blind eye, and Canseco had to limp away with 36 homers to go for 500, just because he was vocal and open about steroids, the man deserves an apology from somebody. It wasn’t like he couldn’t play any more at that point. They, as in the owners and front offices shunned him to put a lid on the steroid talk, hoping he would go away. Clearly, they betted wrong.

What a fucking mess.

I found this on BTF. The original’s been edited back, but it’s worth grabbing the full quote.

Group mentalities are easy. Too easy. We’re the Yankees, we all wear the same uniform, we all have one goal, we all will man up and support our guy. Blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s the same blather you hear from high school football coaches; from college basketball coaches; hell, from Klan leaders and gang leaders. We are one. We stand together. Be a man. Fight the power.

Bulls$%#.

Being a man (which, for the record, is one of the dumbest phrases ever; is “being a man” different than “being a woman?” Are we tougher, stronger, more courageous than women? Hardly) means having guts to go against the uniform and the expected behavior. Of course the Yankees are going to stand behind Rodriguez—because 95% of these boobs have never taken a stand in their lives. The foundation of their existences centers around repetition and precision; doing as told and being robotic in response and output. That, more than anything, is why I’d rather my daughter and son become bowling shoe cleaners than pro athletes. I want them to be blessed with conviction and decency, not mindless adherence.

So, New York Yankee players, line up behind a man who cheated; who lied; who shamed the game. Line up behind someone who has shown you and your profession no respect.

Line up behind him—because he would line up behind you.

Totally agreed. It shits me quite a bit that the Yankees are trotting out their star players to ‘support’ A-Rod. Support him for what exactly? To hold his hand through this tough time, having cheated and totally fucked up the public trust for the game, the franchise and any respect somebody might have had for the rest of them? This reflects badly on EVERYBODY – the players, the owners, the front offices, the coaches, the MLB, the MLBPA, the agents, the journalists who covered them and the fans. Yeah, us, the fans.

I want to close off with this photo of the guys from Peter Abraham’s blog:

Yankees Rodriguez Baseball

Interesting expressions on the dynasty four, huh? Mo, Andy, Derek and Jorge. Imagine what they’re really thinking.

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