So, Alex Rodriguez took steroids ? (yawn).
Am I the only person who doesn’t feel like I just got punched in the stomach? Am I the only person who doesn’t think the game of baseball is forever ruined? And am I the only person who doesn’t feel like the world just threw me a surprise party?
If you were surprised by the latest controversy stemming from the game’s most controversial figure, then you don’t know Alex Rodriguez very well. At least not the “real” Alex Rodriguez.
Monday night, the world got to see the Alex Rodriguez that only the tri-state area knows — the “real” A-Rod. Not the A-Rod baseball fans outside the tri-state area see on SportsCenter circling the bases after a mammoth home run that nearly hits the Major Deegan.
I’m talking about the A-Rod that I and every other New York Yankees fan has grown accustomed to over the past five summers (and sometimes the fall).
I’m talking about the Alex Rodriguez whose mannerisms define superficial. The A-Rod who flips his helmet and pops a bubble after taking a called third strike as if he didn’t know he just collected around $40,000 for that at-bat. The A-Rod who pulls his hamstring trying to beat out a 6-4-3 double play, when he shouldn’t be hitting into double plays in the first place. The A-Rod who tries to fit the word “team” into every other sentence in postgame interviews, when we all know he couldn’t be farther from trying to be part of a team. The A-Rod who claims he only cares about winning world championships, when everyone knows all he cares about is the structure of his contract and where he is going to get his tips frosted next.
That is the Alex Rodriguez I know and the Alex Rodriguez that anyone who watches the Bronx Bombers knows. But Monday night, everyone who tuned into ESPN got to experience the “real” Alex Rodriguez front and center with Peter Gammons.
You could just sense discomfort glowing off A-Rod’s nervous face when Gammons asked him a question that would need an honest and intelligent answer. A-Rod would pause for a moment, pucker his lips, and stare at the floor, preparing to choke up as if Gammons represented a runner on third with less than two out. A-Rod beat around the bush like it had thorns on it and failed time and time again to give a direct answer. Alex spoke of being naive and negligent and not asking the right questions, but really, what are we to make of his latest public appearance?
Are we suppose to believe his newest confession? I believed him when he told Katie Couric he “never” used PEDs. Should I believe him now? Or in three years is he going to be sitting down with Brian Williams and telling him that he did take steroids in New York and that he wasn’t being honest with himself, so how could he be honest with Peter Gammons?
And what about the Selena Roberts situation? Here is A-Rod telling the nation that she was trying to climb down his chimney and trying to get a few sets in on the bench next to him at the UMiami gym and then moments later John Saunders interrupts to tell viewers Selena Roberts never did any of those things. But only moments before that, A-Rod was ready to go get police citations involving Roberts off his kitchen table to show Gammons.
How can you, or I, or anyone who sat and watched A-Rod talk to Peter Gammons believe a word that came out of his mouth? How do we know he wasn’t just bluffing like Johnny Chan, the same as when he talked with Katie Couric? And how are we supposed to believe he only took banned substances from 2001-03? Because the last time I checked, being “pretty accurate” when describing a period of time when you used illegal drugs isn’t very accurate at all.
Maybe A-Rod did only take steroids from 2001-03. The only person who really knows is him and if that information isn’t accurate, we will never know. But I know one thing is certain. If he was using PEDs in 2004, he stopped taking them after Game 3 of the ALCS.
With every superstar who is caught using PEDs comes the discussion of their entry into the Hall. I’m not here to debate whether A-Rod should or shouldn’t get into Cooperstown or if he will or won’t someday read an induction speech with Scott Boras holding his note cards for him. I am here to tell you that it doesn’t surprise me in the least bit that this type of A-Bomb could come from A-Rod. Because if I have learned anything from watching Alex Rodriguez over the past five years, it is to expect the unexpected with him. And if you do that, nothing should surprise you.
Certainly not this.