Tuesday Triple-Play: A-Rod, A-Rod, A-Rod
1. No offense to Peter Gammons, who is one of the titans of my profession, and who I like and respect, but he should have gone further in his probing of Alex Rodriguez when he had the chance eight days ago. Luckily, we, the media, get a mulligan today -- and I suspect these will be the primary lines of interrogation:
*Where and how did you obtain the drugs in question? This is especially important because one of the substances for which he tested positive, Primobolan, is not available in the U.S. even with a prescription. There are plenty of possible reasons why Rodriguez would have evaded this question when Gammons asked it -- the most likely being an unwillingness to implicate anyone else. But if that's the case, Rodriguez should at the very least say exactly that in explaining why he won't answer it, as opposed to rambling on about "trainers" and "GNC stores" and the "loosey-goosey atmosphere."
*When, exactly, did he start using the drugs, and when did he stop? He told Gammons it was "pretty accurate" to say the use occurred in 2001, 2002 and 2003 -- which happened to be the three seasons he spent in Texas. Obviously, this screamed out for a follow-up, and without question that follow-up will be asked today.
*Does he really expect us to believe he didn't know what he was putting in his body?
There are other questions that need to be asked, to be sure -- one that comes to mind is why he falsely accused Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts of criminal acts -- but those three are the biggies.
2. Will the Ones With Rings stand beside Rodriguez in a show of support? Of course they will. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Joe Girardi may despise Rodriguez, but they, along with Andy Pettitte, are essentially obligated to show up, because they all did for Pettitte's HGH news conference a year ago, and to not show up would be a too-obvious bit of symbolism. And despite what anyone in the clubhouse thinks of him, they all also recognize they need a fully focused and comfortable Rodriguez in order to achieve their mission.
3. By my count, this is the fourth time in six years the opening of Yankees camp has been dominated by a PED-related storyline. In 2004, it was Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi, who had been revealed to have been witnesses for the BALCO grand jury. In 2005, it was Giambi's bizarre apology (which was actually delivered in New York a couple of days before camp opened) after his grand jury testimony admitting steroids use was published in the San Francisco Chronicle. And last year, of course, it was Pettitte acknowledging his HGH use.
This doesn't make the late-2000s Yankees the flag-bearers for the Steroids Era -- the late-1990s Rangers, the early-2000s Athletics and the mid-2000s Orioles would all appear to have a stronger claim on the title -- but it is instructive nonetheless.
And we haven't even mentioned Roger Clemens yet.
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