A-Roid Gets "Loosey Goosey;" Should We Believe Him Now?

Posted by Bob Biscigliano in ,


A-Roid came clean today like he was Hilary Duff.

Perfect for A-Roid, but it "didn't feel so perfect." When he signed that mega deal with the Rangers in 2001 -- the most lucrative in sports history by almost $70 million -- he felt like he was "trying to fit a square into a circle" and that was no life for him. He felt so much pressure to fulfill that contract, he felt like he was obliged to take something to give him that edge. That edge to prove that he was deserving of $25.2 million a year and the title as greatest baseball player ever. So he took some PED's and in his first two years with the Rangers, he had arguably two of the best consecutive seasons ever by a major league baseball player. (.318/.399/.622/52/135 & .300/.392/.623/57/142 respectively -- freakishly absurd).

Many people have said he didn't need the drugs. He didn't need any "edge." That's exactly why this story has come as a complete shock to so many people. He tested positive in 2003 and he came clean to Peter Gammons today, stating that he used them his entire stint in Texas-- three years. He admitted he didn't need them; he admitted that he was young, naive, and stupid. He claimed to be very regretful of his decision.

His story has as many holes in it now as it did before.

First, which sets the base for the rest of this post is his interview with Katie Couric in 2007. A-Roid flat out lied. She asked him if he ever used steroids and he said no with a lip quiver. She asked if he ever felt tempted to use them and after a dramatic pause, excessive eye blinking, and a pucker of the lips, he said no, again, followed with a lip twitch.

See where I'm going with this?

It should have been known that he was lying then. ABC's "To Catch a Liar" salivates over those type of reactions to questions. But no one wanted to believe it, the numbers didn't really show any drastic difference. For the sake of baseball-kind, it wasn't even an afterthought: A-Rod was clean and he was walking proof baseball records could, and would, be broken without steroids. He was going to be the golden boy.

The last four or five years, I haven't been a big A-Rod fan. Maybe undeservedly so, but, at any rate, not a fan. He's a freak on the diamond, don't get me wrong -- I think what he has accomplished statistically is amazing-- but I was starting to grow tired of his antics, his hollywood-isms (bubble gum pop, limp wrist slap of the glove, emphatically slapping the end of the bat after 'just missing' pitches), stray-rod story, Madonna, and his overzealous desire to fit in. All these just minor reasons, added to the fact he's on a Yankee team that's so loveable to hate, that made me grow not so fond of the artist formerly known as A-Rod.

However, I was warming up to the idea that he could be the golden boy. His numbers are so believably consistent, and his effortless talent all appears so natural. Amidst all this steroid talk, proving A-Rod took steroids seemed virtually impossible.

But we were deceived. A-Rod is A-Roid and he lied to us all. He had us fooled. He was just like any other player that succumbed to the idea that a weekly injection would make everything easier and better.

As I watched his interview with Peter Gammons today, I wasn't shocked anymore, I was angry. I was infuriated because I didn't believe him. He said he was sorry, and I thought "sorry doesn't take the metaphorical needle out of your ass that will remain injected in your image forever, Alex."

Some people are going to praise him for admitting it. He could have easily denied it further or make no comment. He took the high road, some will say. He even went as far as going beyond admitting the one failed test to admit taking steroids for all three seasons while he was a Texas Ranger. Some people will praise him for that.

Personally, I don't buy it.

It wasn't in his facial expressions this time, as it was when he lied to Katie Couric. It was mainly his reasoning that I thought was flawed. He said that going into 2001 he felt "an enormous amount of pressure" -implicitly because of his contract-- and he felt he needed to perform at a very high level to prove that he was worthy of being titled the greatest baseball player. Therefore, he took banned substances to help him perform and live up to that pressure. He conveniently doesn't remember the substances.

How am I supposed to believe, after he lied a couple years ago, that those were the only three seasons he took steroids?

He said the pressure going into his years with Texas -- a last place ball club at the time -- got to him. Yeah, he was making the most money for anyone in the history of the sport, but he was playing out west where typically there's less media coverage for a team that was not any good the year before. I admit there's tons of pressure for him there, and while I don't warrant the use of steroids for that, I can't believe there's anymore pressure in Texas than when he came to New York.

How do we believe he didn't use steroids in New York?

He comes to the New York freaking Yankees in 2004 -- with a very similar contract as the one he was under in Texas-- where he will be scrutinized for every little thing he does, from the hat he chooses to wear in public to his choice of bubble gum flavor. How do we know that pressure didn't lead him to want to take something to "perform" at the highest level? For goodness sakes, SportsCenter has segments on their show whenver a big name signs with the Yankees about how to survive the harsh media and fans. No other city gets painted with that "intense pressure" brush, or receives that type of attention for that matter.

Now look at what he has done in New York.

Year one in 2004 (when he is supposedly off steroids): He hits .286 (second worst in his career) with 36 HR (second worst in his career, only to his rookie season), and 106 RBIs (second lowest in his career). Okay, these are numbers we would probably expect from a guy coming off three years worth of steroid cycles.

Year two in 2005 (when he is supposedly off steroids): He resurges to hit .321 (2nd best in his career) with 48 HR (third highest total, first highest at the time if you discount the three steroid years in Texas-- that is assuming this isn't a steroid year either), and 130 RBIs (fourth highest total. Second, if you discount the alleged steroid years)

Year three in 2006 (when he is supposedly off steroids): He sees a slight dip in some of his stats, although his RBI total is still up there. His 35 HR is a career low.

If you remember, the years 2005 and 2006 were especially tough for A-Rod. He was caught with a stripper, he was bashed for making too many errors, and hit a combined .204 in two post-seasons (that's .133 and .071 combined; an average of .102). I think it's more than safe to say, New Yorkers were calling for his head. He was getting booed repeatedly.

Did that put the pressure on? You'd be a fool to say he wasn't feeling immense pressure.

Year four in 2007 (when he is supposedly off steroids): He miraculously, despite all the pressure and personal problems, rebounds to hit .314, 54 HR (second highest total in his career, sandwiched between the two, and only other, 50+ HR years he had-- both accomplished while he admittedly was on steroids), and 156 RBIs (shattering his non-steroid career high by more than 30 RBIs). Not to mention that this was all done at the age of 32. I think most reasonable people would argue 32 is on the outskirt of the average MLB player's prime years. (Although, I will admit, A-Roid is far from an average MLB player).

Now, I have been told that A-Rod would be stupid to do steroids while he was in New York, especially in 2007, because that was right around when the Mitchell Report was happening/being completed. My only argument for that is his records have been hidden before and I'm sure there are fancy undetectable drugs out there today. Also, MLB drug tests are supposed to be random, however, if someone knew A-Roid failed a test before, maybe someone on the inside could get ahold of when the tests would happen and warn A-Roid. If his tests have been hidden for the past six years, who knows if there has been a conspiracy all along to protect A-Roid's name. That may be stretching it, though.

Another argument thrown my way: A woman from SI is writing a book about A-Roid's apparent steroid usage and has been aggressively researching his entire life. A-Roid's only incentive would be to admit all the years he did it and set the record straight before she does, right?

Maybe.

First of all, this woman is supposedly claiming in her book that A-Roid began using steroids in high school, which he calls a baloney sandwich. However, this isn't Jose Canseco or some nut job pulled out of a senior community to make up some bullshit. This is a writer employee of Sports Illustrated. It would be a pretty bold claim to state that A-Roid began using PED's in high school without some factual backing, especially if you're writing a book about it. Yeah, it's a way to sell copies, but I think Sports Illustrated, a very reputable resource for sports would get their facts as straight as possible before letting a woman reporter advertise their name in such a controversial way. That's my speculation, though.

In summary, I think it's fair to say that no matter how you look at it, A-Roid has tarnished his credibility and crippled his reputation. For someone to have such inhuman ability on the diamond and openly admit he used steroids for three years, after lying about it before, can't help but raise skepticism.

I don't know if he's telling the truth. For the sake of his statistical accomplishments thus far in his career, I hope he is. For the sake of baseball, I hope he is. The game can utilize every broken piece of this "era" it can possibly salvage. Most importantly, I hope he's telling the truth for all the people who are putting their optimistic necks on the line, claiming "A-Rod was so great, he didn't need to be A-Roid to accomplish such great feats. He didn't need steroids, as evidence by his non-Texas years."

Is his story believable? Should we believe him?

UNITY

5 comments

JuiceMonkey   says 2:32 AM

Who cares?? Let him juice it up!! MORE HOMERUNS!! He definitely wasn't on it in Seattle, he looked like a little boy. He got bigger in NY, so he probably was on it.

Anonymous   says 8:11 AM

Texas on the west coast?

Anonymous,
Mistype. I corrected it. Thanks for your acute reading abilities.

Also, I guess that's not much of a point I made there,considering Texas is CST, only an hour behind EST.

-Bob

JuiceMonkey,

You are ignorant.

-Bob

Anonymous   says 8:23 PM

Ken Griffey Jr. is the only real one and the best of my years.

I wish they had performance-enhancing drugs for my job.. O' wait, they do!

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