What, you thought A-Rod would give up the spotlight that quickly? Once again, a media appearance designed to answer all questions only raised more of them. We met a new character in the A-Rod soap opera - the cousin A-Rod says got him the steroids and injected him. Actually, we didn't quite meet him - didn't even get his name - but what's a good soap opera if answered questions don't lead to more questions?
Even if A-Rod had named the cousin, the story was still full of holes, several of which were caught by questioners in the news conference. A-Rod didn't think he was doing anything wrong, yet he still kept it carefully hidden. A-Rod didn't know if it helped him at all, but in his opening statement said he used the substance about twice a month over a three-year period.
I might have found the story more credible had A-Rod admitted that he varied the dose - once a month, once a week, etc., since he was supposedly experimenting. But then he would have had to admit that he thought it did some good. And maybe then he could have admitted that he was cheating.
But according to A-Rod today, he didn't think he was cheating and didn't think he was doing anything that helped his performance.
Many baseball players have superstitions. Wade Boggs ate chicken every day because he thought it helped him hit. Boggs probably couldn't explain why chicken helped him hit any more than Oliver Perez could explain why jumping over the foul line helps his pitching. But because it's clearly a superstition, the public accepts it. We don't demand to know why it's chicken and not pork. Or why it's every day and not twice a day or once a week.
But unless A-Rod wants to come up with a story about a lucky syringe, he's going to finally have to admit that he was taking steroids because he thought they would help his performance.
A-Rod mentioning that he had taken a blood test in 2006 for the WBC and would be taking one again in 2009 should have scored points. But by not saying yes when asked if he were willing to be tested more than other players, he raises questions as to what happens in the years he doesn't take a blood test. Maybe it's a coincidence, but 2006 turned out to be a down year for A-Rod, while '05 and '07 were MVP years.
For all of his new advisors and PR people, A-Rod stuck to many of the same points that didn't work all that well in the interview with Peter Gammons. Once again, A-Rod pointed out that he was young and naive. This time, A-Rod also kept mentioning that he had not been to college.
If going to college automatically makes you more mature and less likely to use illegal substances, that would be great news for the NFL, where just about every player in the NFL has spent multiple years in college. But that hasn't prevented a steady stream of pro football players from running into problems.
In terms of maturing, surely six years of major league experience must count for something.
I only caught this when I listened to parts of the interview a second time, but it sounded as if A-Rod ultimately refused to clarify his answer of "pretty accurate" when Gammons asked him if he used PEDs from 2001 to 2003. A-Rod said today,"When it started, it was probably in the middle of '01. When it ended, it was '03."
A-Rod says "probably" so quickly that it comes out as "prolly." And maybe others will interpret this differently. But it sounded to me as if A-Rod left another loophole in his story.
Finally, this is a small point, but when A-Rod talked about facing the media to address what he had done, did he have to say "I'm here to take my medicine"? He said this not once, but twice. Or maybe that's part of the problem - A-Rod may have convinced himself that was all he was doing.
Saying "I cheated" would have been a bigger headline, but it also would have gone a lot further toward putting this story to rest.
Squawker Lisa, I know you wanted to watch the news conference live so you could see what you called the "A-pology," but don't worry, this probably won't be the last one.