What's Making Me Talk: Alex Rodriguez, What Else?

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer IFebruary 10, 2009

It's biggest whirlwind to rip through baseball since the Mitchell report.

And I hate it.

Instead of talking about how Spring Training is just a few days away, this has to pop up and give us the bad eye on baseball once again.

It's exhausting and quite frankly, it makes me sick to my stomach.

But as much as I want to, I can't sit back and not talk about it, because then I'd be doing what Alex Rodriguez did for five-some years.

Let me just say that I've watched this entire interview and I couldn't be more disappointed in him if Rodriguez was an axe-murderer.

For all the grief and flack Rodriguez gets and for all the jokes the fans that do not like him or the Yankees make. The one thing we could say about Alex Rodriguez is that he at least plays the game clean.

He was the guy that made Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron's record a little bit easier to stomach. Knowing that soon, Alex Rodriguez would march his way up to that magical number and erase the memory that was Bonds breaking one of the most immortal records in the history of the game, that idea gave people hope.

Now, admission or no admission, however much "relief" and "less-criticism" due to Rodriguez for admitting his mistake, if he eventually passes Bonds, that feeling will still be the same as it was for Bonds.

Ah yes, admission, how wonderful it is for someone to come clean.

Honestly, I can't applaud or say anything towards Alex Rodriguez for coming forward six years after he stopped taking banned substances. Many can because we live in a world where Mark McGuire says nothing and Roger Clemens lies through his teeth.

But I simply cannot. I can tell him he did the right thing by coming clean, but the only way I'd applaud him for admitting what he did is if he admitted it back after he did it.

See that's where Rodriguez's spin-doctors have come in.

I must credit the masterminds that prepped Rodriguez for this interview with ESPN's Peter Gammons. Not mentioning the word "steroids" and basically getting him to talk the way the general public wants to hear him.

Instead of saying something like, "I knew what I was taking, and I knew what I was doing was wrong back in 2001 and 2002." Rodriguez has opted for the sentence that covers him for not just taking the steroids, but not admitting to taking the steroids until this point in time.

"At the time, Peter, I wasn't even being truthful with myself. How am I going to be truthful with Katie [Couric] or CBS? Today, I'm here to tell the truth, and I feel good about that. I think my fans deserve that. I'm ready to put everything behind me and go play baseball. You know, we have a great team this year. I couldn't be more excited about the guys that we've brought in, Mark Teixeira, A.J. Burnett ... It's an important time in my life to turn the page and focus on what's next."

He wasn't being truthful to himself then? So back then for that interview and back when he was taking the substances, he knew what he was doing was wrong, right?

"To be quite honest with you, the first time that I knew I had failed a test 100 percent was when the lady from Sports Illustrated [Selena Roberts] came into my gym just a few days ago and told me, 'You have failed a test.'"

Yet earlier in the interview, he said things about not knowing what he took, but knowing when he was laying by the pool in Surprise, Arizona, that it was wrong?

To steal a line from one Charlie Kelly, this is typical Tammy.

Any sort of expert in the field of this type of stuff can tell you what Rodriguez is doing, and I don’t buy into it.

It makes it worse, even though he's admitting the "truth"; he's still trying to pad things to soften the blow.

That really isn't the only reason that Rodriguez has me sour on what he's saying.

"You know, I've always been a guy that raced my own race. And I don't like to look left, I don't like to look right. You just feel there's an energy. To say only Texas, that wouldn't be fair. But overall, you felt that there was -- I felt a tremendous pressure to play and play really well. I felt like I was going up against the whole world. I just signed this enormous contract. I got unbelievable negative press, for lack of a better term, for [Rangers owner] Tom Hicks and I teaming up together...

So I felt that I needed something, without overinvestigating what I was taking, to get me to the next level."

Alex Rodriguez is a guy who's always raced his own race? We are talking about the biggest narcissist in the game of baseball. The single most fawned over player in the media; the guy people love to hate and hate to love.

He always cares what other people think of him, his public image is the most important thing next to how many home runs he hits, why else would he prepare for this interview, masterfully might I add, and tell the people what they want to hear.

He’s one of the best hitters in the game today, but easily one of the biggest let-downs when it comes to the postseason, point blank, he’s a choke-artist.

And he has blinders on?

"Peter, in our clubhouse, everybody makes fun of me. I'm talking about from the clubhouse kid, to every coach, Larry, Mike, Joe Torre. Every guy on the team. And I like it. I like taking it. I am not a good ragger, but I am a good receiver."

Oh, Rodriguez can be the butt of all the jokes, and it's just fun! I don't buy it or a second and neither should anyone else. He likes everyone in the clubhouse making fun of him? There’s being a cool-customer and then there’s being the class punching bag.

A guy who constantly hits pop-ups on the first and second pitch in the ALDS isn't the same guy who can take abuse from clubhouse kids and be a "good receiver."

This theory of his has so many holes in it, that it makes the rest of what he is saying not very credible.

Now, I'm not here to bash Rodriguez for doing what "everybody was doing" or at least according to him. I'm not here to call him names like "Alex Roidriguez" and "A-Fraud" because quite personally, I don't feel that does any good.

But I do feel that what Rodriguez did is something truly shameful and while I appreciate his willingness to come forward, I'm pretty dissatisfied with his song and dance.

Baseball's Ugly Looking Stain

This puts an incredible stain on Rodriguez, no doubt, but it also gives us the harsh realization that if every good player from that era, even Rodriguez for a three year span, was cheating, then a lot more people were doing it too.

I don't think "everybody" was doing it like Rodriguez was conveying. I mean, 103 other players tested positive back in 2003 in this trial test of sorts to measure just how many players were taking illegal substances.

However 103 is just a small fraction of the players that step on a baseball diamond during one season. Could there have been more that didn't get caught? Sure, but any number close to 103 does not constitute anything close to "everyone."

That thought from Rodriguez was simply one to make it sound like what he was doing, just wasn't that big of a deal for that time period. It's more spin from the masterminds that coached him up. It's something you shouldn't buy as a valid excuse.

Do we want to find out these other 103 names?

Personally, I don't care, but if it was up to me, I'd shred the list and set it on fire. Those other names will just end up being lesser-talented Alex Rodriguezes or lesser-talented Roger Clemenses.

No one came forward back when they knew they did something wrong, so why should anyone pat them on the back now?

Did Alex Rodriguez know he tested positive back in 2003? Probably not, but that doesn't excuse the fact that he knew he was taking something illegal, because according to him, he eventually realize he was doing something wrong and he stopped.

So what makes anyone else different?

I'm not going to sit here and go on a witch hunt for the other 103 players. I'm over it and I don't think it does the game any justice to sit here and speculate about anyone else.

If someone wants to come forward, great, on their own accord is something to pat them on the back about. But if you release the 103 names, then you will have people either acting like Clemens or Rodriguez, and I can't respect either.

The Round-About of Randomness

You might think, like me, that a lot of the silly things that ESPN does are well, silly.

I can probably say this is silly too, but it's rather interesting for someone like me. It's ESPN's Battle of the Budgets. Four ESPN-smart guys build a 25 man roster with just $40 million dollars to work with.

It's interesting to see the strategies of the different managers. Steve Phillips is the one guy who's actually run a major league team and in this situation, probably did the worst out of all of the participants.

He constructed his team around a lot of offense that was high-priced and he did it early. That wasn't the idea. Jayson Stark was able to take an expensive, at least in terms of this game, shortstop with his final pick.

You take the best players that are the cheapest in the early rounds. Not take mid-range cheap players in the final rounds like Phillips did. Ricky Nolasco was his second starting pitcher? Neyer had aces like Felix Hernandez, Francisco Liriano, and James Shields, and I didn't even mention Zach Greinke.

Anyway, these types of things interest me, even if it is a silly thing by ESPN. At least it isn't Titletown or Who's Now and I can read up on it on my own time.

This is the beauty of the offseason though. Had this not happened about Rodriguez, it would be battle of the budgets and random signings of Braden Looper to Milwaukee. Thankfully Pitchers and Catchers are days away from reporting and I can at least attempt to put this entire fiasco in the rearview mirror and get ready for the game we all love.

It really can't, especially now more than ever, come soon enough.


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