So Alex Rodriguez finally confessed to having used steroids. What a shocker. He had no choice, because he had so clearly lied previously when he absolutely denied using the muscle-enhancing drugs. But, then, they say that steroids can shrink your balls, so his previous lack of courage is really no surprise either.
And now the Yankee who will forever be known to New York sports fans as “Roidriguez” or “A-Roid” says he wants to “help kids.” Here’s an idea for this expectant Mother Teresa: He can plow back a large share of his $25 million a year salary into the country’s economy.
Naturally, like most other athletes, he thinks primarily of going to schools and preaching to them about the evils of steroids. How about spending some of that ridiculous money to help keep libraries and rec centers open?
In other words, spare us the message and spend the cash — especially during what Barack Obama now calls the “winter of our hardship.”
Aiding and abetting Roidriguez’s bullshit performance was ESPN’s Pete Gammons, who, befitting his role as one of the high priests of baseball, lobbed questions at the pampered jock on the subject of what is commonly called “giving back to the community.”
This is where repentant athletes get to show themselves off as people who are just here to help the rest of us. This is how they seek their absolution — by continuing to seek the adoration of their fans during heavily promoted speaking tours instead of perhaps anonymously doing good works.
Did Gammons have to participate in this charade by throwing Roidriguez some fat ones right down the middle of the plate? No, but he did, because most baseball writers owe their first allegiance to the game, not to their readers. It’s the rite of professional sports for jocksniffing writers to play Ed McMahon for these Johnny Carsonesque stars.
ESPN’s Selena Roberts broke the story, and Roidriguez accused her of all sorts of nefarious, “stalking” behavior. But Pete Gammons is a powerful member of baseball’s establishment, practically an adviser to Commissioner Bud Selig. Was Roidriguez expecting these softball questions from Gammons? No doubt; it’s part of the ritual. Here are two such questions — and Roidriguez’s bullshit answers:
PETER GAMMONS: 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?”
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: 100 percent. I mean, that’s what I’ve done with the Boys and Girls Club my whole life. You know, I was born in Washington Heights [N.Y.]. 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. And I have nine years and the rest of my career to devote myself to children in the future and really bring awareness to, you know, where we need to head as a game. And I think we are headed in the right direction.
PETER GAMMONS: Would part of your message be that your best years were clean?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: 100 percent. One message is that 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, at 18 years old when I came to the big leagues, and at 20 being second to Juan Gonzalez being MVP, probably my best year of all time, you know, followed by my 2007 year. And, again, no peaks and valleys. I mean, there’s some peaks and valleys, but my career overall has been very consistent, not only in games played, but being out there for my team and performing at a high level.
I will hang my hat on that. And I just ask the American public to look at those three years as something that — as an aberration. I screwed up in those years. I was stupid. I was naive. And ever since I’ve been doing the right thing and proud of.
His best years were clean? Not by the one measure that steroids seem to affect: home-run power. When it comes to Roidriguez’s “peaks and valleys,” he’s still lying.
ESPN’s “Tale of the Tape” info box shows that during the three seasons Roidriguez says he took steroids he averaged 52 home runs a year. In his 10 other seasons, apparently without the muscle-building drugs that helped him and other players hit unusual numbers of homers, he averaged 39.2 homers a year. In other words, steroids apparently helped him increase his home run production by 33 percent. At least we know the drugs do work.
Guess he’ll have turn his higher-power lie over to a higher power, too — perhaps Gammons, one of the sportswriters who will decide whether Roidriguez will be blackballed from the Hall of Fame.
If Roidriguez continues to wear sackcloth and obediently go along with the sports establishment, maybe that’ll buy him a ticket to Cooperstown.
Otherwise, he’ll just have to settle for continuing to fuck Madonna. Advice to Roidriguez: Lay off the steroids.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 9, 2009