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Published:February 10th, 2009 19:32 EST
A-Rod Recants, Confirms Allegations about his Steroid Abuse

A-Rod Recants, Confirms Allegations about his Steroid Abuse

By Christopher HIllenbrand

At one time, there was a hot shot shortstop called the "superstar of tomorrow " who manned Safeco`s turf as proficiently as he wielded a mighty stick. His exploits in his brief first two years weren`t any forerunner but a glimpse for what lie in store for the brash Dominican from New York City. Now close to thirteen years after his first full season started with the Seattle Mariners, Alex Rodriguez seems just another carbuncle with a face on a sport pitted with innumerable other sores.


On Saturday, Sports Illustrated named Rodriguez as one of 104 MLB players who tested positive for steroids during the 2003 season. Why his name, from a plethora of candidates perhaps still earning ungodly salaries for ill-begotten talent, was chosen is a question yet to be answered.


Two days after the news broke, Alex Rodriguez confessed to ESPN that he had used performance-enhancing drugs from the years 2001 through 2003. In A-Fraud`s words: when I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day. Back then it was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young. I was stupid. I was naïve, and I wanted to prove to everyone that, you know, I was worth, you know " and "being one of the greatest players of all time."


During the 3 years he confesses to have been abusing Primobolan and testosterone, he put up Ruthian numbers for the Texas Rangers. His home run totals for 2001 thru 2003 were 52, 57, and 47, respectively.


His final season with Texas, in which he had a .298 BA, 47 home runs, and 118 RBIs; rewarded A-Rod with the 1st of 3 MVP awards he`s won thus far in his career. His other 2 were accolades while donning Yankee pinstripes, which is still the pattern he`s wearing due to his 314 million dollar obligation to George Steinbrenner.


This admission contradicts the statement he adhered to in an interview conducted on CBS`s "60 Minutes" back in December of 2007. When asked whether or not he ever used steroids, human grown hormone or any other performance-enhancing drug, he emphatically stated:  "no" to Katie Couric and millions of viewers watching at home.


Later, in the same interview, Rodriguez attested that he knew for a fact that higher-ups were aware of the infamous list. Gene Orza, the union head for MLB players, was implicated in Rodriguez` expose as the "inside man" ehoinformed ballplayers about who was going to be drug tested. According to Rodriguez, Orza was privy to the knowledge that federal investigators had confiscated the 104-player roster sheet from MLB offices. He (Orza) said there`s a government list. There are 104 players on it. You might or might not have tested positive," Rodriguez said in the words of Orza as the latter told him personally in August or September 2004.


Alex Rodriguez was on track to become the first legitimate contender to be baseball`s all-time leader in home runs. Barry Bonds, another player embroiled in the steroids scandal, is currently the leader with 762 career home runs. Relatively, Rodriguez isn`t too far behind with 553, 12th all-time, at the age of 33. The fact that steroids can stay in the bloodstream for an undetermined amount of time also affixes a tentative asterisk to his numbers since 2003.


This story is only the most recent outbreak in a saga of ongoing investigations into MLB players suspected of steroid use in the past and/or present. Three weeks ago, Mark McGwire had been further incriminated as a user by his brother, Jay.


It`s no surprise that, wherever there`s a steroid scandal to be covered by the media, Jose Canseco, the former slugger, isn`t far behind. He had spoken about referring A-Rod to a dealer in his memoir: Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and The Battle to Save Baseball."  Like A-Rod said about Orza, Canseco insisted that the steroid cover-up starts from the very top and trickles down.


In a text message sent to The Associated Press, Canseco stated: they are looking in the wrong places. This is a 25-year cover-up. The true criminals are Gene Orza, Donald Fehr and Bud (referring to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.) "Investigate them and you will have all the answers."


In reference to the Commissioner, Selig has been the subject of criticism for his laissez-faire attitude towards dealing with the problem of banned substance use amongst MLB players. In the past couple years, the fact that Selig has claimed salaries far greater than that a MLB Commissioner should ever receive, has been disconcerting for those questioning the man`s integrity. Rumors suggesting that he`s been bribed to keep a lid on players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs have circulated around media circles, though they haven`t been verified.


Alex Rodriguez was scheduled to attend a ceremony dedicating the new baseball stadium in his name at his alma mater, University of Miami , on Friday. The brand-new state of the art baseball complex built mostly from the 3.9 million dollar endowment given by Rodriguez will subsequently be named The Mark Light Field at Alex Rodriguez Park. In spite of the controversy, University of Miami officials announced the facility will, nonetheless, be christened after him. Representatives of Rodriguez say he will still be in attendance at the ceremony.


Editorial from the Writer


And, A-Fraud stands as the lone whipping post for those, including myself, to be flogged for his tawdry arrogance and cold condescending demeanor to fellow teammates (with lesser, but more organic numbers, I might add.)  I said for now "because it won`t be long until he has company as more players are identified as subversives to the grand old pastime."


  As a side note, this isn`t the first time a Yankee, former or current, has had their ignominious closet cleaned out for the delight of anyone who wanted to view its contents. In the whirlwind of Congressional inquiries into substance abusers in baseball, Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi had both failed systematic drug tests and later confessed to their transgressions without as much as an expulsion from the game. Gary Sheffield had also tested positive for a banned substance as a Yankee but has never publicly apologized for his misconduct. Seven-time AL Cy Young winner, Roger Clemens, is presently being investigated by a Federal Grand Jury There could be a relationship between the biggest and most merciless market in baseball in New York, and the All-Star players resorting to steroids, hormones and other illegal contraband. But, one must induct one key aspect into what differentiates amateurs and pro-ball players: professionalism.


As professionals, they must behave as such, and I`m speaking for players as well as those in the front office protecting their swollen hides from disciplinary action. As one famous swimmer had also demonstrated, professional athletes need to act ethically and responsibly especially when their blank checks should depend on a show of character.


Looking back at the young up-and-comer who mesmerized Seattle fans as a rookie back in 1996-- a year in which he won the batting crown with a .358 batting average and the Major League Player of the Year award-- I can simply sigh. Only when the heat was ignited under him did Rodriguez recant his statement, a statement that would have come out eventually, anyway. It was a convenient moment for him to save face, had he been an upstanding kind of guy in front of the cameras. But he`s always been an aloof Pri-Madonna (that was intentional if you`re aware of the story) even with his youngest fans, so I can`t forgive this forgery as ever amounting to anything more.


Furthermore, what about his infancy years in Seattle before 2001 and his years as a Yankee since 2003? If he were young and stupid at 25, for Pete`s sake, then what junk would he have injected into his veins earlier?  Will someone step forward, perhaps a conscientious friend from Seattle or New York like Ken Griffey Jr. or Derek Jeter, and spill the news to having administered the drug into him personally?


Even if nothing else comes out, no one will ever look at Number 4`s uppercut swing the same way again.