February 10, 2009
If you thought watching A-Rod bare his soul about steroids to Peter Gammons was fun, imagine how much enjoyment watching it over and over while writing down every word must have been. I don't have to imagine it, because I did it last night.
Makes a guy want to run out to GNC for some transcriber-enhancing supplements.
So, in case you didn't pay your cable bill and ESPN was blacked out, or if your interwebs Video Player isn't working on your Web Browsing Machine, all you need to do is read the rest of this post to learn all about A-Rod's true confessions.
In addition to the back and forth among G-Mon and A-Rod, I added comments in italics when appropriate. Or inappropriate. No matter, if you're a hard-core junkie for A-Rod (or Gammons, I suppose), this is your one-stop interview shop.
First, here's a quick count of A-Rod's key words and phrases:
• Mentions "God": three times.
• Says "honest": 13 times.
• "Truth": 12.
• "Steroid": three.
• Says "I": 324 times.
• "Me": 37.
• "My/self/ish": 16.
• Calls himself "stupid": nine.
• "Naive": six.
• An "idiot": once.
• Says "baloney": once.
• "Culture": nine.
• "100 percent": nine.
• "Lady": eight.
• "Selena Roberts": five.
• "Stalk/er/ing": two.
• Uses the invented words, "over-investigate(d)": twice.
With that, here's all 5,000-plus words of Gammons v. A-Rod (three stars, out of five):
Peter Gammons: Alex, this weekend Sports Illustrated reported that, in 2003, you tested positive for testosterone and an anabolic steroid known as Primobolan. What's the truth?
Alex Rodriguez: When I arrived at 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.
(Why did you let your agent have the Rangers bid themselves up to $252 million when nobody else wanted to go north of $200MM if you couldn't stand the pressure of earning it?)
Back then it was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid. I was naive. And I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time.
I did take a banned substance and, um, for that I am very sorry and deeply regretful. And although it was the culture back then, and, uh, Major League Baseball overall was very... I'm just, I just feel that, um, you know, I'm just sorry. I'm sorry for that time. I'm sorry to my fans. I'm sorry for my fans in Texas.
It wasn't until then that I ever thought about a substance of any kind. And since then I've proved to myself and to everyone that I don't need any of that.
(Wait, proved what to whom? We just got here. Court just started. No jury findings yet, kemo. Sit down and have a Diet Coke or something.)
PG: So, you're saying that the time period was 2001, two and three?
AR: Mmm, that's pretty accurate, yes.
PG: What kind of substances were you taking?
AR: Peter, that's the thing, I mean, again, it was such a loosey-goosey era, that... I'm guilty for a lot of things. I'm guilty for being negligent, naive, not asking all the right questions and, to be quite honest, I don't know exactly what substance I was guilty of using.
(Professional athlete. Top of his sport. A fitness freak. Doesn't know what he's consuming? Don't believe him. Even if he' truthing and let himself get taken in by a "trainer" why wouldn't he consult the trainer, ask him, "What am I taking here?" A-Rod might be a lot of things, but naive?)
PG: Where did you originally get the substance?
AR: Again, at the time, um, you know you have nutritionists, you have, you have doctors, you have trainers, um. That's the right question today: ‘Where did you get it?' That's... we're in the era of the BALCO and Mitchell era. Back then, it was just about ‘what' and, and...there's many things that you can take that are banned substances. I mean, there's things that have been removed from GNC that today would trigger a positive test. I'm not sure, exactly, you know, what substances I used, but whatever it is, I feel terribly about it.
("Whatever it is, I feel terribly about it." Perhaps the lamest mea culpa since, "I apologize if what I did offended you." Plus, you can't get the substances A-Rod got nailed for in a GNC, though that's not exactly what he said happened. Slick. Like his fielding. And his frosted-tipped hair.)
PG: When did you get the wake-up call?
AR: It wasn't until 2003. I was laying in my bed in Surprise, Ariz. We were doing a team conditioning down by the pool in Arizona and I suffered a very serious neck injury that went all the way down to my spine, and it wasn't... I missed about 2 1/2 weeks of spring training. And I was scared that I was going to miss time. I also had a streak of about 400 games consecutive played, or 300, I'm not sure what the number was.
But it was at that point in bed that I realized, ‘What am I doing?' Not only am I going to hurt my baseball career, but I am going to hurt my post-career. It was time to grow up, stop being selfish, stop being stupid and take control of whatever you're ingesting. And for that I couldn't be, I couldn't feel more regret and feel more sorry because I have so much respect for this game, you know, and the people that follow it and respect it. I have millions of fans out there that are, you know, will never look at me the same.
(I don't understand the story. He injured his neck by the pool taking steroids and had a vision? The heck you talkin' 'bout, Rod? The only thing I like about the tale was that it happened in "Surprise!")
PG: Let's go back. How were you introduced to these substances? Was it at the gym, was it from other players?
AR: The culture, it was pretty prevalent. There was a lot of people doing a lot of things. There was a lot of gray area, too. Back then, you could walk into GNC and get four, five different products that today would probably trigger a positive test. It wasn't a really dramatic thing that, once I arrived in Texas something monumental happened in my life. The point of the matter was, I started experimenting with things, that, today are not legal, or today are not accepted. And today you would get into a lot of trouble for.
(He tells the story like a parent telling his kids about the '60s. "It was the culture of the time to drop LSD, son — we had a war to stop." Yeah, don't understand life back then, five years ago. Someday, anthropologists will decode the texts and graphics of the day.)
Ever since that incident that happened to me in Arizona, in Surprise, I realized that — You know what? — I don't need any of it and what I have is enough. I've played the best baseball of my career since. I've won two MVPs since and I've never felt better in my career. So that, I'm very proud of.
PG: So, the test that was failed in 2003, that came off what you were using at the beginning of spring training before you got hurt?
AR: I'm not sure exactly of the timing of everything, because it has been a long time — it's been almost six years — but I do remember thinking, in my bed in Arizona, ‘What am I doing? Wake up. Stop being selfish.' And you get to a point where you get tired of being stupid and selfish and not being honest with yourself. And that's what I realized in '03.
I am sorry for my Texas years. I apologize to the fans of Texas and there's absolutely no excuse and I really feel bad about it.
(The players union would never allow it, but if A-Rod cut Tom Hicks a check for his "Texas years," maybe this statement would be something more than hilarious. Sorry, Texas!)
PG: Talk a little bit about that culture. It was an underground culture. A player said to me last summer that he really believes that, in that period, between about ‘98 and 2004, the players who did do one thing or another were either were scared or didn't care. Would you agree with that?
AR: Well, I just think you felt a tremendous need to keep up, and to play well and to play... you know, it was hot in Texas. Every day, it was over 100 degrees. You know, you felt like, without trying to over-investigate what you're taking, it's, can it have an edge just to get out and play every day?. And that's what it came down to.
("It was hot in Texas." Isn't that how Conrad Hilton's biography starts? Put that quote down for "10" on the unintentional comedy meter. "Every day, it was over 100 degrees." Al Roker, can that be possible? It was hot, so I took steroids. Why not try some water first?)
I can't speak for everybody who did; I can only speak for myself. And, regardless of what we want to mask and say and justify, there's absolutely no excuse for what I did. I'm sorry. And if I was a fan, a fan of mine, a fan of the Rangers, I would be very pissed off. And I can't take that back, but just realize that I'm sorry and I want to do things to change. I want to do things to influence children and realize they should learn from my mistake because, you know, it's the biggest regret I have in my life because baseball has given me everything. I have so much respect...
There will be some people that say that, you know, ‘Alex is not a great player going back to high school.' They're just going to have this blanket-cloud over my career. And for those, they may have their own point. But it feels good coming out and being completely honest and putting it out there and realizing that, um, the more honest we can all be, the quicker we get baseball to where it needs to be.
(OK, here we go, the first spin on whatever else Selena Roberts — or, as A-Rod continuously refers to her, "the Lady" — has to report on pre-Texas PED use. I like the phrase "blanket-cloud." Very Frank Herbert in "Dune.")
PG: To go back, you were 21 years old and hit .358; you're saying at that point in your career — high school, No. 1 pick in the country — when you're hitting .358 at the age of 21, that you were completely clean?
AR: One-hundred percent. One-hundred percent. And even further than that, I never even seen or even heard of the idea of taking any substance. I've been very fortunate to have come up... I was up at 18 years old. I remember meeting you when I was a few months removed away from high school. And I was all of 195 pounds or 200 pounds... that was a special time. If you put my first year, and if you put my very last year in New York, there hasn't been many peaks and valleys. I had the greatest year of my career in 2007 and it's a year I'm very proud of, although we didn't win a championship, it was a year that was full of, um... it was a very historic year. To have 2007 and 1996, that for me said a lot.
(This is a key brick in the wall of A-Rod's Hall-of-Fame defense. He's assuming we'll believe he was clean in years other than 2001-03. Well, it's not like he fudged the truth on that in a CBS interview in 2007, or anything.)
PG: How much of the culture, how prevalent was this culture in Texas at that time?
AR: You know, I've always been a guy that raced my own race and I don't like to look left, I don't look right, you just feel there's an energy. To say it's only Texas, that wouldn't be fair, but overall you felt... I felt this tremendous pressure to play and play really well. I felt like I was going up against the whole world. I had just signed this enormous contract. I got unbelievable, um, uh, negative press — for lack of a better term — for, you know, Tom Hicks and I teaming up together. And we were all bad at the time.
(First there was Butch and Sundance. Later, Batman and Robin. Then, there was Hixie and A-Rod. He's right about the Rangers being bad from 2001-03. Arlington fans, send your refund requests to Alex Rodriguez, c/o the New York Yankees, Bronx, N.Y., 10451.)
So I felt like I needed something, a push — without over-investigating what I was taking — to get me to the next level.
(He sounds like a drug addict there, doesn't he? Over-investigating is not a word, BTW)
PG: How long was it before you found out that what you were doing was actually illegal?
AR: Again, at the time, of that culture, there was no ‘illegal or legal.' It was just, you have to understand the time, and to take you back there, again, people were taking a number of different things. From GNC to... whatever. To be quite honest with you, heh, the first time that I knew I had failed a test, 100 percent, was when this... the lady from Sports Illustrated came into my gym — just a few days ago — and told me, ‘You have failed a test.'
("The lady from Sports Illustrated. She told me that my subscription lapsed and I wasn't going to get my fleece, and..." A-Rod's use of "lady" is a discrimination code. He's got no respect for Selena Roberts, so he calls her "lady" instead of "reporter." I'm no feminista, but that's code for "know-nothing woman." OK, maybe I am a feminista.)
PG: So, Gene Orza didn't tell you that in... ? ‘Cause, in the Mitchell Report, it says that he told all the players who failed drug tests in 2003.
(If this were a movie and Gene Orza came on, I'd go, "I don't like that guy." Never met him.)
AR: Gene was very specific in 2004; we had a meeting in September, or August, don't quote me on the date, but he said ‘There's a government list. There's 104 players in it. You might or might not have tested positive.' At that point, I said ‘OK.' That was five years ago. I've never heard anything ever since. In my mind, I assume that, OK, whatever I was experimenting with in Texas, perhaps, was OK. I'm OK. And in my mind, as I did my interview with CBS last year, I felt ‘I haven't failed a test. I haven't done a steroid.' And that was my belief, whether I wanted to convince myself of that or... that's just where my mind was. I felt that it was important for me that all my years in New York have been clean and I wanted just to move to the next chapter of my life.
("Next chapter. Done. So, can I go now?" ... Orza told the group that one "might or might not have tested positive" and A-Rod decodes that to mean, "I'm in the clear!" Either he's got the IQ of a resin bag, or he thinks we're not paying attention. Or maybe he got lost in his own story.)
PG: Because ESPN surveyed a number of doctors and experts in this field and they said that the Primobolan could never be prescribed by a doctor.
AR: Mmm, hmm.
(Full disclosure: at first, I thought Gammons was saying "Primo Bolla," and that it sounded like something Rosemary Clooney would sing. Were she alive.)
PG: But it was accessible?
AR: Whatever... first of all, I want to see these tests; I haven't seen them, in fairness to me. I am saying I was... I'm guilty of being naive and not having all the information and being negligent, but I would love to see the test before I start answering questions that... I have never even heard this word, probably yesterday for the first time. I am guilty of being naive and I am deeply sorry for that.
(I have never heard this song, "Primo Bolla." Is it a Dick Contino tune?)
PG: You mentioned the Katie Couric interview. You did say, you were asked if you had ever used steroids, Human Growth Hormone or other performance-enhancing substances and you said, ‘No.' Flat out, ‘No.'
AR: Mmm, hmm.
[FLASHBACK to Couric interview from Dec. 2007. Doodlie-doo, doodlie-doo, doodlie-doo, doodlie-doo]
Katie Couric: For the record, have you ever used steroids, Human Growth Hormone or any other performance-enhancing substance?
KC: Have you ever been tempted to use any of those things?
AR: [Considerate pause] No.
KC: You never felt like, ‘This guy's doing it. Maybe I should look into this, too. He's getting better numbers, playing better ball...'
AR: I've never felt overmatched on the baseball field. I've always been in a very strong, dominant position. I felt that, if I did my work, since I've done since I was a rookie back in Seattle, I didn't have a problem competing at any level.
(What a Lying Liarson A-Rod is. No, it's not surprising. It's just so... obvious, seeing it in black and white and red all over.)
[FLASHFORWARD to Gammons interview. Doodlie-doo, doodlie-doo, doodlie-doo, doodlie-doo]
PG: In your mind, that wasn't a lie?
AR: You know, at the time, Peter, I wasn't even being truthful with myself. How am I going to be truthful with Katie or CBS? Today I'm here to tell the truth and I feel good about that. I think my fans deserve that, and I'm ready to put everything behind me and go play baseball. And, you know, we have a great team this year. I couldn't be more excited about the guys that we've brought in, in Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia. And I think it's an important time in my life to turn the page and focus on what's next.
PG: So, from 2004-on, you have been completely clean?
PG: Have you even been able to even check and find out how many times you've been tested?
AR: [Chuckles] You know, Peter, that I don't even know the real number but I would guess, at least eight to 10 times. But I would like to know that number because I know I've gotten tested quite a bit over the last five years.
PG: And you were tested, with blood tests, during the WBC in 2006, is that correct?
(When you played for the Americans. Dominicans. Americans. Dominicans. My sister. My wife. My sister. My wife.)
AR: Correct, I got tested in 2006 and also this year, when I go down to Puerto Rico, I'm sure we're going start getting tested again in 2009. And remember, prior to Texas, not only did... I really had... at that time... in Seattle, I hadn't even heard of a player taking a substance, you know, a steroid of any kind, in my Seattle days.
I mean, I know this lady from Sports Illustrated, Selena Roberts is, is trying to throw things out there that, in high school I tried steroids. I mean, that's the biggest bunch of baloney I've ever heard in my life. And, I mean, what really makes me upset is, that Sports Illustrated pays this lady, Selena Roberts, to stalk me.
(All I know about Selena Roberts is, she found out that A-Rod tested positive and he confessed it was true. That's batting 1.000 in baseball.)
This lady's been thrown out of my apartment in New York City. This lady has, five days ago, just been thrown out of the University of Miami Police for trespassing. And four days ago, she tried to break into my house, while my girls are up there sleeping, and got cited by the Miami Beach Police — I have the paper here. And this lady's coming out with all these allegations, all these lies, because she's writing an article for Sports Illustrated and she's coming out with a book in May, and really respectable journalists are following this lady's lead and following her off the cliff and following her lead and that, to me is unfortunate.
(ESPN and Roberts have refuted these charges of stalking and trespassing and general nuisance-ing. I don't care if they're true. Sounds like she's doing her job, being a jerk reporter. That's probably the best kind for stories such as this one.)
PG: How do you go about making people believe you?
AR: Well, a few things. I mean, I think, coming into the league at 20 years old and coming in second to Juan Gonzalez in MVP is one good indication. And then, you know, 14 years later, in 2007 having the greatest year of my career, is another.
The other thing is, I'm going to have a sample of 14 years past this Texas era, where I get to show and prove to the world, you know, who I am as a player. Hopefully, I'm part of a championship team or two and, uh, I also, more importantly have a chance to tell this story to kids so they can learn from my mistake, because there's a story to be said here. And I'm looking forward to that challenge.
(His logic: I cheated, but it was only from 2001-2003. The other years of my career, I was A-Rod, clean and sober and the best player you ever saw without cheating. Maybe it will work with the Coopertownies, but it's so cold and calculating. I'd say A-Rod has icewater in his veins, but I've seen him try to swing a bat in a playoff game so I know that's not true.)
But to me, '09, now I'm excited going to spring training. When you take this gorilla and this monkey off your back, you realize that honesty's the only way. I'm finally beginning to grow up. I'm pretty tired of being stupid and selfish and... and... about myself. The truth needed to come out a long time ago; I'm glad it's coming out today.
PG: Two years ago, when Barry Bonds was passing Henry Aaron, it was written in a lot of places, ‘Well, the great thing about when you pass Bonds, we'll finally have a legitimate home-run champion. When you read those articles, did you worry a little bit about all this coming back to haunt you?
(When people refer to Hank Aaron as Henry Aaron, it bothers me. Like they know a secret code I don't. Is that like the "Dick Allen/Richie Allen" thing?)
AR: You naturally have to worry. I mean, again, there's such a gray area. That era wasn't about facts. That era... those words you just mentioned, I guarantee you that half the guys that did that, in any sport don't know what that is. You basically end up trusting the wrong people, you end up, uh, you know, not being careful about what you're ingesting... and, yeah, it worried me completely, absolutely.
(Another veiled reference to a third party and drugs. Who helped A-Rod juice? Was it a team trainer? Gammons, drifting back to a Boston concert in '77, does not ask.)
And today, although I know that people are going to be very disappointed, just like I am, um, I feel good about moving forward and doing things the way I been doing it the last five years and the way I did it prior to be being in Texas. And that's a very important point for me.
PG: Now, a lot has been said about the fact that the union did not get those, those... those samples destroyed, which involves over 100 players. Are you bitter at all that the Union didn't get those tests destroyed?
AR: No. I mean, God is doing this for a reason. There's a reason why. I could care less about what the union did, I could care less about what Selena Roberts did. I mean, this had to come out, this is very important. The most important thing for me in my career is to be honest and forthright, and to go into my '09 season as part of the greatest organization in the world, as one of the guys to go out and try reach our goal. And when you have that monkey on your back it's really hard to be, um, the person you know you can be. It's really to fulfill your potential that way.
(I wish people would get it straight: they mean to say, "Could not care less." I judge you when you use poor grammar. Or, in this case, syntax.)
PG: Over the years, have you talked to anybody about this?
PG: You haven't talked to Scott Boras, you haven't talked to a teammate?
AR: Not one word. Not one word.
(Boras and A-Rod had a falling out during the contract renegotiation, but if A-Rod did this interview solo and without any input from the agent, my name's Billy Martin.)
PR: How much did you learn from Andy Pettitte coming forward and essentially admitting what he did last year?
[FLASHBACK to Andy Pettitte presser from Feb. 18, 2008. Doodlie-doo, doodlie-doo, doodlie-doo, doodlie-doo]
Andy Pettitte: [In Harry Connick accent] I want to apologize to the New York Yankees and to the Houston Astros organizations, and to their fans, and to all my teammates and to all of baseball fans for all the embarrassment I have caused them.
(Isn't Pettitte the one who's embarrassed?)
[FLASHFORWARD to A-Rod. Doodlie-doo, doodlie-doo, doodlie-doo, doodlie-doo]
AR: It was very commendable. I mean, I love Andy like a brother. He's one of my best friends on the team. And I know he went through a very hard time. But the one thing is, all of us, 1-through-25, we supported him. We love him, we didn't judge him. And, through this process, Andy's been texting me four or five times.
(He's guilt-tripping folks ahead of time. "You can't judge me, you can't boo me, because that's not how you did it with Andy." A-Rod's a smart cookie. "Didn't know what I was taking," my bruised and pierced buttocks.)
You know, one thing I'm learning as I get older and hopefully a little wiser is — honesty — that the truth shall set you free. I'm just proud that I'm here sharing my story, regardless of what the Union... this is no one's fault. This is my fault. I'm responsible for this. And I'm deeply sorry for this.
PG: Given the opportunity. would you like to go to Major League Baseball and say, ‘OK, what can I do to help kids across the country?'
AR: One-hundred percent. I mean, that's what I've done with the Boys and Girls Club my whole life. I was born in Washington Heights. I would love to really get into that community and do things that are real, that are going to make a difference. And I have an opportunity here to help out a lot of kids.
(Jeez, A-Rod. You've been a Yankee since 2004 and you only now realize that you were born in Washington Heights and that the community could use a hand? Rings hollow.)
I have nine years and the rest of my career to devote myself to children and the future and to really bring awareness to where we need to head as a game and I think we are headed in the right direction.
PG: Would part of your message be, that your best years were clean?
AR: Well, 100 percent. The one message is, ‘What you have is enough.' Hard work is the most important thing, having a clear mind and realizing that, you know, having certainty is the most important thing. Believing in yourself. And I've proven that in my career.
(These pipes... are clean! Name the movie)
At 18 years old, when I came into the big leagues and, at 20, being second to Juan Gonzalez in the MVP — probably my best year of all time — you know, followed by my 2007 year. And again, no peaks and valleys. There's some peaks and valleys, but my career overall has been very consistent, not only in games played but in being out there for my team and performing at a high level. I will hang my hat on that.
(You mean you hang your big, oversized steroid hat on it? Just kidding. A-Rod's head looks about the same as always.)
I just ask the American public to look at those three years as something that... was an aberration. I screwed up in those years. I was stupid, I was naive. Ever since, I've been doing the right thing and proud of that.
("I screwed up." A-Rod saw the Barack Obama-Tom Daschle thing, didn't he?)
PG: Have you talked to Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman about this?
AR: Yeah, I've talked to our front office. Mmm, hmm.
PG: And what did they say?
("Joba should be in the starting rotation." Oh, wait, that was Hank Steinbrenner.)
AR: They're supporting me. I think, overall, they just want me to be truthful and be honest, what happened six years ago, happened. Six, seven, eight years ago. And, you know, they're ready for bigger and better things — which is winning a championship, running a great franchise, we're moving into a new stadium this year... Our fans have been very patient with us. They're ready for us to turn up the heat a little bit, and I think we have a team that's ready to do all of that, and I'm going to be a part of that team and do my best.
(That part should have been sponsored by YES, or introduced by Suzyn Waldman, or both.)
PG: Everyone cares about what other people think.
AR: Mmm, hmm.
PG: This weekend, there was a quote — it was an unnamed Yankee front-office official who said, ‘His legacy is now gone.' It was the lead, Billy Madden's in the N.Y. Daily News started out, ‘Now it appears that Alex Rodriguez really was "A-Fraud." Alex Rodriguez can forget about having his run at Barry Bonds' all-time home run record taken seriously. Like Bonds, Rodriguez can probably forget about the Hall of Fame, too.' What do you say to that?
AR: Well, I'm sorry if Bill feels that way. I mean, again, he's one of the journalists that I respect in New York and, again, I hope that people don't follow this Selena Roberts lady and take their lead. I hope they look at it and get a time and realize that it's three years that I'm not proud of. It's three years that I'm throwing out there. But to really judge me on, you know, prior-Texas and post-Texas. That's all I want. And also, I also have nine years remaining in my career where I can still do some pretty special things, I think.
(Does the Bermuda Triangle go through Texas? It's home to all sin!)
PG: You worried at all about what it's going to be like in those nine years in New York?
AR: Look, I think New Yorkers like honesty. I think they like people that say the truth. I also think they like great players that know how to win. I think winning's the ultimate medicine we can take here. If we can win a championship, if we can play well, if we can play well down the stretch, I think New Yorkers love to forgive you. And, right now, I made a mistake, I was stupid, I was an idiot, all these things. I think New Yorkers can probably relate with every that once in a while. I think they want to see me, now that I've come forward, continue like with Andy Pettitte, be a great player again.
(Did he just call New Yorkers idiots? That's how I'd interpret it if I was in Gotham.)
PG: One of your goals all along has been to be in the Hall of Fame. Do you think that a player who has tested positive, or admitted to taking illegal substances, is disqualified from Cooperstown?
AR: I hope not. I hope not. I mean, think every case is different. I think you have to look at the data. If you take a career of, you know, 25 years, and you take away three, or you take away 2 1/2 or you take away one, I think, overall you have to make a decision.
I don't have a Hall of Fame vote. It would be a dream to be in the Hall of Fame and I hope one day I get in, but my biggest dream right now is to win a world championship and to be the last team standing on that field.
PG: Now, we go back to Jose Canseco... talked a lot in his books about you. He claimed, in his last book, that he hooked you up with a guy that was very, um, well-acquainted with performance-enhancing drugs here in Miami. Is that true?
AR: That couldn't be more false. That's 100-percent not true. You know, it's kind of interesting how ESPN and SportsCenter still quotes this guy. No, it is 100-percent false.
("The only honest man in baseball." That's how I'd introduce Canseco. But not if he's wearing one of those mesh shirts. Then I'm just going home.)
PG: What do you think the drugs that you took in 2001 through 2003, what do you think it did for your performance?
(Great question. Not gonna get a great answer.)
AR: [Long pause] You know, I'm not sure. I know that I've always enjoyed hitting in Texas. I think it's a wonderful place to play, it's a great place to hit. But I don't know. It's really hard to transfer ‘X' with your performance. ‘Cause then I go back to what happened when I was 20 years old, and what happened two years ago in New York, and then four years ago when I won my MVP — two MVPs post — so I think overall, my consistency says a lot.
PG: What do you think is the best evidence that you have been clean since 2004?
AR: Well, I'll go back further, Peter. When I was 20 years old. I was 210. And today, I'm 225. I gained a pound a year for 15 years. That's not a lot of change. I'm also going to be on trial for the next nine years. So, 14 years post my Texas era. I think there's a great sample there, for someone who has a Hall of Fame vote to say, ‘OK, I have 20 years of clean baseball.' And then make up their mind.
PG: Do you think it will be hard in the first couple of years to deal with people who bring up ‘Cheating.'
(Not that I will call you a cheater, even though I could. Not gonna do it.)
AR: Well, the truth is the truth. Again, I think it's important to get it out there. It might take five years, it might take 10 years. It may never go away. Being honest is the only thing for me to do right now.
PG: Do you think that, sometimes... I mean, let's face it. You're one of the kings of the tabloids, your private life, you see a divorce, whatever. Do you start to get tired of being a celebrity?
AR: It comes with the territory. It really does. I mean, I wouldn't trade my life for anybody. I think I'm really the most fortunate. I have such appreciation and, even on a day like today, I feel very grateful for what God's been able to do for me. With that, there's been some challenges that are necessary for me to get through — this being one of them. This being the biggest one of my life. Divorce was another major thing. It's been a rough couple, 15 months here for me but I have great certainty that I'm going to overcome this and become a better person for it. And a better father.
(Worse than divorce? Single guys, take note!)
PG: When they get a little bit older, what will you tell your daughters?
AR: I was stupid for three years. I was very, very stupid. And I hope that, again, the Selena Roberts of the world do not try to go back to when I was 15 years old, or whatever nonsense she's going to report in her book or whatever nonsense... she's... whatever information she's collected through stalking me for the last three or four years, to ruin it more than I've done for myself. I've made more mistakes than anyone, and for that I'm very sorry.
(You see? You see? Your stupid minds! Stupid, stupid! Name the movie.)
PG: What will you tell kids around the country?
(Someone wake Peter. It's the third time he's asked this.)
AR: "Work hard. What you have is enough. Believe in yourself and don't make the mistake that I made."
(Don't do drugs. Mr. T couldn't have said it any better.)
PG: As you've been living with this, has this been more difficult than what came out in Joe Torre's book?
(No, Gammons, this is easier than that stupid book. Pete ran out of gas three questions ago.)
AR: This is, by far, the most serious thing that's ever happened in my life, along with, you know, with my personal life, what happened, you know, with my breakup of Cynthia for the last, you know, 13 years. I mean, she was an integral part of my life and we have two beautiful children.
Then you have, ever year about this time, somebody else is coming out with a book, you know, talking about me. Again, I think God had a reason for everything. I'm sorry we have to be in the middle of these controversies but at the end of the day, I feel good today about coming forward and being honest and turning the page to the next chapter in my life.
(What is God's reason for making this interview run nearly 45 minutes?)
PG: Did you feel betrayed by Joe Torre?
(That is SO last week, Gammons. Let's wrap this up 10 minutes ago, you aging rocker wannabe.)
AR: No. I haven't read the book, either. To even comment on the book wouldn't be fair to Joe, it wouldn't be fair to myself.
PG: Did you hear people call you, ‘A-Fraud'?
AR: Never. I mean, the one thing is, first of all, let me say I've always had a lot of respect for Joe as a manager. Actually, the year when he left, in '07, I really thought we had a huge turnaround. I thought we got along really well. I actually thought that we were, you know, pretty close. So I don't have any problems with Joe. I will not comment on it, not now or in spring training. Until I read the book, I won't comment on it.
(N.Y. media: "A-Rod and Torre hated each other until '07")
Peter, in my... in our clubhouse, everybody makes fun of me, I mean, I'm talking about from the clubhouse kid to every coach — Larry Bowa, to Mike [Something] to Joe Torre to every guy on the team. And I like it. I like taking it. I'm not a good bragger but I'm a good receiver. And I like having fun. To me, that's really a compliment when guys feel that comfortable that they can actually make fun of you at any time.
("My clubhouse." All you need to know about A-Rod.)
Did I hear ‘A-Fraud'? Yeah, we joke about a lot of things. I mean, listen, 25 guys have 25 different nicknames. So to me, there's no harm, no foul there.
PG: Are you worried now about how often you're going to have to answer those questions about those three years?
(Can he just worry about answering these questions for the next three hours? Isn't there a guitar that needs pickin'?)
AR: Well, I'm answering them here today. I hope, soon enough, we're going to put it in a vault and move forward. I mean, I know the consequences. I know. But the truth is the truth.
PG: Can baseball ever be as much fun for you as it was when you were 21 and hitting .358?
AR: [Chuckles] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I haven't been part of a world championship team. That's the ultimate goal. That's where my only focus... I get to start a new chapter in my life where I can only focus on baseball, my team, the fans of New York and recommitting 100-percent of my focus.
I can't wait to get to spring training, because to play with... going through a divorce, this gorilla on my back, not being 100-percent honest and forthright, and being transparent, I get to go out and play baseball, the game that I love most. That's my savior, the game of baseball. So, yes, it can be as much fun as never before.
(A-Rod's transparent? How do you pitch to that strike zone?)
PG: When some young player, or some kid, comes up to you and says, ‘All right, you knew that what you were taking was illegal, why did you do it?' How do you answer that?
(He already answered the frigging question about kids!)
AR: Well, I've answered that. I think it comes back to the culture was much different. It had a lot to do with me being stupid and selfish, naive and just, you know... I got caught up in this ‘Everybody's-doing-it' era, so, you know, why not experiment with X, Y or Z? There's absolutely no excuses. I feel deep regret for that.
PR: Do you think that it's possible over the next nine years to prove your innocence after 2003?
AR: Um, I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I'm going to take it one day at a time... count my blessings every day for having the opportunity to play Major League Baseball and continue what I've done the last five years, which is play very good baseball past all that, you know, era.
PG: For the good of the game, would you like to see all of those 104 names released from the positive tests in 2003?
(Or, Gammons could ask, "Who else did steroids that you know of?")
AR: I don't have any interest in any of that. I mean, obviously, I will defer to Major League Baseball, the commissioner's office and the union to deal with those matters. The one thing that I'm proud of is coming forthright about my own situation, which is the only person I govern.
(For the good of this interview, should Buster Olney have conducted it?)
PG: How do you think this got leaked out?
(Jeter did it.)
AR: Peter, it's really not that important. I don't know. I don't know. I'm glad it's behind me. I'm glad that I'm addressing it, and I will continue to address it, and hopefully at some point we can put it behind... behind me and focus on playing baseball.
PG: Thank you.