It is now a couple of days since the Alex Rodriguez press conference in which the only real news revealed was the fact that A-Rod’s cousin transported the banned substance, “boli”, the street name for the performance enhancing drug, “Primobolan”, from the Dominican Republic into the United States; and, was the director of a program of injecting A-Rod with the drug, twice a month, six times a year, during the only three seasons Rodriguez claimed he took any performing enhancing drugs, when he played for the Texas Rangers in 2001, ’02, and ’03.
Maybe more could have been learned and revealed about Alex Rodriguez’s involvement with these steroids if the press conference wasn’t so restrictive. The reporters selected from among the over 200 media personal in attendance were allowed to only ask one question with no follow-up questions allowed. Also, the media event should have lasted longer, or, at least, as long as it would have taken to allow many more of the reporters to ask questions.
The press conference was scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m. ET, on Tuesday, February 17, 2009, under a huge tent at George M. Seinbrenner Field, the Yankees winter home in Tampa, Florida. But, Rodriguez showed up 20 minutes late; then, read a very “choppy” ten-minute prepared statement in which it did not seem like A-Rod had read many times before, or maybe, didn’t even prepare himself.
Alex looked very nervous as he started reading his statement in front of the packed media under the tent, with Manager Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman sitting next to him, and about 30 Yankee players also in attendance as a show of support for their teammate. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Andy Pettitte sat in the front row, while Yankees owners, Hank Steinbrenner watched standing in the back of the room; and, Hal Steinbrenner, watched on T.V. in New York.
Rodriguez said this whole situation was very difficult and emotional for him, and his purpose of facing the media was to tell the truth and hopefully earn back the trust of the Yankees organization, players, and fans; and, baseball and baseball fans in general.
A-Rod seemed sincere as he expressed a number of times that he was young and curious about how this substance could help him; and, how both he and his cousin were more ignorant than the other concerning how to use the drug properly.
If Alex is to be believed, he said, “It was his understanding that it [“boli”] would give him a dramatic energy boost and was otherwise harmless. That’s how ignorant both my cousin and I were. We consulted no one, and had no good reason to make that decision. It was pretty evident that we didn’t know what we were doing. We did everything we could to keep it between us, and my cousin didn’t provide it to any other players”.
Rodriguez said he only used the steroid drug during the years he played for the Rangers; and, the reason he stopped taking it was after a 2003 neck injury that A-Rod said, “scared him half to death; and, he was scared for his career and life after baseball”.
A couple of dramatic moments during A-Rod’s reading of his statement came when Rodriguez said, “Baseball is a lot bigger than Alex Rodriguez”; and, then, at the end of the prepared statement, when Alex was very emotional addressing his Yankee teammates. He paused for about 35 seconds, choking back tears and his emotions, in what looked sincere. Then, he thanked them for their support and being there.
The Question and Answer session began about 2:00 p.m., and lasted about 35 minutes.
There really was not much more learned from Alex’s answers as most of what he said was already talked about and heard in the Peter Gammons interview, or A-Rod’s prepared statement. If the press conference lasted about an hour and a half, or two hours, with follow-up questioning, then, maybe, some new information would have been revealed.
But, the viewers of the Alex Rodriguez press conference were only granted “act one” of what should have been a “three act” performance.
The above thoughts are my observations of the Alex Rodriguez press conference; and, as far as I’m concerned, Alex should at least be given credit for coming clean, and being as honest as he has been, up to this point, even though it is way past the fact of his steroid use.
In my view, though, there still seems to be many more questions that need to be answered, especially, about Alex’s cousin, and any other possible involvement, if any, he may have regarding supplying other players with performance enhancing drugs throughout baseball.
* note: It does seem like there is an actual “cousin” of Alex Rodriguez who has been identified today, Thursady, February 19, 2009, I think, somewhere in the Florida area. This story will probably be the major headline in all the sports and baseball media outlets today and tomorrow. So, stay tuned, as “act two” and “act three” should be played out at some point in the near future.
* Special Edit: Friday, Feb 20, 2009 — As reported in the New York Daily News, “The Mystery Cousin of Alex Rodriguez has been identified as Yuri Sucart of Miami, Florida”. A source said, “Yuri is Alex’s driver, and takes care of him all the time. His clothes, his food; he’s with Alex every day”. Also, in the same article, another report claims that “Alex Rodriguez has had a long relationship with a steroid-linked trainer, Angel Presinal, who’s been banned from major league clubhouses”. This claim was made by four independent sources to the NY Daily News.
Angel Presinal has been described by one baseball official as an “unsavory character”, in the Daily News article; and, “MLB has warned players to stay away from him”. “He was banned from private areas of every MLB ballpark after an October 2001 incident involving an unmarked gym bag full of steroids; and, has been tight with Alex Rodriguez dating back to his time with the Texas Rangers, several sources said”.
“Another source said, Presinal accompanied A-Rod for the entire 2007 season, staying in the same hotel as the American League MVP, but in a separate room with the ‘cousin’ [Yuri Sucart]”. “Several people have warned Alex about this guy [Presinal], said a second source”. …
….. The A-Rod reports in the special edit were written by the “Daily News Sports I-Team”, a group of reporters that includes: Mark Feinsand, Christian Red, Michael O’Keeffe, Ian Begley, Teri Thompson, Jim Rich, Nathaniel Vinton, and Larry McShane.
So, the A-Rod press conference as only resulted in more questions that need to be answered by Alex Rodriguez, Yuri Sucart, and Angel Presinal.
Alex Rodriguez has now had his T.V. interview, and Spring Training press conference. And, the “captain” Derek Jeter, spoke out yesterday, Wed, Feb 18th, saying, he was disappointed that Alex Rodriguez and other players have used performance enhanching drugs.
In quotes made in George King’s [Feb 19th] New York Post article, Jeter said, “Everybody is disappointed, including Alex himself. That was one of the things he [Alex] stressed in his statements. Everyone is disappointed. We are going to support him and get him through this. People make mistakes, and you have to move on from those mistakes. But, I would say, everybody is disappointed”.
And, when Jeter was asked if he thought Alex was a cheater, Derek said, “I think he cheated himself”.
But, the main point that Derek Jeter wanted to make yesterday, was that he was annoyed about how many in the public interpret the whole “Steroid Era” in baseball.
The Yankees “captain” said, “the one thing that irritates and upsets me a lot is when you hear everybody say it was the ‘steroid era’, and everybody is doing it, and that’s not true. Everybody wasn’t doing it. Everybody is making a big deal of the 104 players on the list. How many players are in the Major Leagues? Everybody wasn’t doing it. That’s the thing that is irritating. It sends the wrong message to the fans and the kids that everybody is doing it, and that’s not the truth. I understand there are a lot of big name players who allegedly have done this and done that; but, everybody wasn’t doing it”.
When asked about how he felt about the whole “steroids era” in general, Jeter said, “disappointed is the best way to put it. It really has given the game a bad name”.
Derek Jeter also made a point to say, “I never took performance enhancers and never took steroids”.
Regarding Alex Rodriguez, Jeter ended by saying, “I believed him. I always give people the benefit of the doubt. He spoke about and gave details he didn’t have to share”.
So, unless, or until, other reports surface linking Alex Rodriguez to using PED’s at additional times in his career, other than the times he has admitted to using steroids during his Texas Ranger years, then, I will follow the “captain” Derek Jeter’s lead, and “give A-Rod the benefit of the doubt”, at the moment; and, hope that this very sad situation is behind us, as we all look forward to enjoying the upcoming 2009 baseball season.
Only time will tell how all the “Steroid” and “PED” users of the “Steroid Era” will be judged in the future, by both baseball fans and the general public.
Tougher penalities, such as “serious” suspensions and lifetime bans for players who test positive for steroid use, and, or, any other performance enhancing drug use, should be implemented immediately.
But, the ultimate penalty for all PED users will be having “shame” connected to all their names, and not being voted into Baseball’s “Hall of Fame”, for disgracing our great “American Pastime”, Baseball.
— Jimmy Curran, “Baseball, The Yankees, and Life”