After viewing an excerpt of ESPN’s exclusive A-Rod confessional with Peter Gammons on my iPhone in class today, I rushed home to sign on for work and watch the talk in its entirety.
As I sat on my sofa chair, I wondered how Pulp Fiction’s Pumpkin (aka actor Tim Roth) — now the star of FOX’s Lie to me* — might inspect A-Rod’s tell-all. What of his averted eyes and seemingly blank stare? How about the way he thumbed at his nose, clearing away boogers that really weren’t there? And what about the indignation with which he accused Selena Roberts of stalking him?
I don’t commend A-Rod for coming clean (pun recognized, not intended). Let’s not forget, he bold-faced lied to Katie Couric and baseball fans everywhere just a couple years ago when asked about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. Now, presented with indisputable evidence, he comes forth with a definite admission peppered with circumstantial ambiguities, chalking his use to naivity and stupidity, and cushioning it with the proclaimation that he was ignorant as to exactly what substance was putting in his body, as well as the outrageous claim that he was not aware of the prevelance of PEDs in baseball during his days in Seattle.
OK, so A-Rod at least had the decency to admit he used the good (or is it bad?) stuff, unlike, say, Gary Sheffield and Roger Clemens, both of whom have vehmently denied it despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Time will tell whether his other assertions were true, but if history’s any indication, we should brace ourselves for another bombshell before this guy’s career is out.
Other curiosities and observations from the interview:
– Call me juvenile and perverse, but I thought it strange when A-Rod said of his ribbing with teammates: “I like taking it,” and “I’m a good receiver.”
– Was it just my TV, or was there something funky going on with the footage? The brights were really bright.
– A-Rod drank a lot of water — the expensive stuff, of course — Fiji.
– Nothing personal against ESPN or Peter Gammons, but this interview would have been a nice score for the MLB Network and Bob Costas.
– In Gammons’ first question, he prompts A-Rod for the “truth” regarding SI.com’s report. A-Rod then responds with his long-winded explanation, which ran for about one minute, 30 seconds.
– As the interview wears on, A-Rod curiously grows more
comfortable in commending himself for coming forward with his story —
as if he were doing it by his own volition and hadn’t been humiliated
by a gang of investigative journalists (one of whom he accused of
– Often chided for his stilted demeanor, A-Rod didn’t do much to shake his automaton image by saying “100 percent” six times.
– GNC can officially invest its advertising dollars elsewhere for 2009. A-Rod references the health store three times.
My dad sent me the A-Rod news via text this morning at about 11 a.m. I then relayed to Nelson, my best baseball friend and a devout Yankee follower.
The following conversation ensued via text message:
Me: CNN reports arod tested positive for roids in 2k3.
Me: Look, this is solid investigative journalism in my opinion.
Nelson: There goes the hof.
Me: I mean is this bad for baseball at this point? I think so. Even still, I don’t mind seeing this fraud raked over the coals a bit.
Me: Tomorrow’s Post hed: “A-roid”
Nelson: I think this is bad for baseball period. It really makes me angry.
Nelson: All the arod apologists including myself have to seriously reconsider our allegiances here.
Nelson: Hypothetically, if this were dwright, how would you react? Sincere question. I feel like I don’t want to watch baseball anymore.
Me: No I understand. I’d be crushed if dwright tested positive.
Nelson: I feel betrayed on a deep level right now … don’t even have a logical reaction.
Nelson: Fwiw he wasn’t a yank in 03.
Nelson: The whole game is a sham, bud has to out every single player today, this can’t continue. I refuse to be a fan if I’m going to get sandbagged with old evidence six years after the fact. I blame mlb for covering this up.
Me: Yep. I agree
Nelson: I’m sincerely done with it. That’s the end for me. I feel betrayed by the game.
Whether Nelson’s sentiment is shared by the majority of baseball fans, I cannot say. I wish things were different, of course. I wish this were not an issue, that every player had already been cited and we’d moved on.
But, regardless of the resolution, I’m already offering baseball my clemency. I’m not a despondent lover about this. I need baseball in my life; it provides me an income, sure, but it also gives me something to do on humid July evenings.
It’s supplied me countless memories over the years, like going to Shea in 1992 for the celebration of Tom Terrific’s election to the Hall of Fame, and witnessing the now-infamous “Matt Franco” Interleague game between the Mets and Yanks in 1999 when the eponymous pinch-hitter extraordinaire ended the riveting back-and-forth battle with a clutch base hit off none other than the immortal Mariano Rivera.
I memorized the stats from the back of my favorite players’ cards as a
kid, and emulated their swings as a Little Leaguer. I played the game
with my friends on dusty lots, dreaming of being something when I grew
up the odds said was nearly impossible. Tough losses have ruined many a
day, but I’ve come back the next day, in need of the distraction and
entertainment and otherworldliness of the game.
I trekked from school in North Carolina to Washington, D.C., in September 2005 with The Former Mrs. to watch a couple of meaningless games between the Mets and Nationals. We saw David Wright hit a grand slam in the first one, and Mike Piazza slugged the final longball I saw him hit as a Met in the second. We also went to a pitcher’s duel that spring that was the inspiration for a short story I wrote in one of my fiction writing classes. The following season, we witnessed Piazza’s return to Shea — as a Padre.
I need baseball, imperfections and all.