However, he came a lot closer than many analysts and journalists had speculated.
While appearing on networks such as ESPN and YES, Alex read a prepared written statement before answering questions.
A-Rod began by acknowledging how intensely nervous he was, but one of the most telling images of the afternoon occurred before Rodriguez ever opened his mouth.
The cameras panned over to the Yankee players that were in attendance for support, and the lens was barely wide enough to capture the entire group.
Virtually every single member of the Yankees’ roster and organization was present, including new arrivals and those who use interpreters for their own interviews. It was a truly powerful moment, and one that Rodriguez seemed moved by.
In his prepared statement, Rodriguez stated that he “has to earn trust back,” but that he is confident in his future efforts to reacquire that luxury.
He went on to clarify the source of the steroids. A-Rod claimed that his cousin had introduced him to a substance sold in the Dominican Republic used to vastly boost energy levels during workouts.
Though he would not give specifics about his motivations, aside from naivety and curiosity, he did clarify aspects of the use itself.
Rodriguez attested to being directly injected with the substance at least twice a month, and that he felt a defined boost in energy as a result.
However, he did downgrade the effects in saying that it “is 50% mental,” and that “if you believe it will make you better, it probably will.” He was partially attributing the drug’s benefits to a placebo effect.
A-Rod earned a lot of credibility and respect among reporters by confessing to the use of a recently banned amphetamine during his time in Seattle.
This was a substance not banned until recent years, and represented an admission that Alex easily could have withheld. His candid response to the question asked of him was a big step in the right direction toward reacquiring his lost trust.
Possibly the most contrite message of the press conference was delivered toward his teammates. Having to stop at once point due to his emotions, Rodriguez apologized and stated that this would “have been impossible without you all here.”
A-Rod went on to assure his teammates that 2009 would “be the best season of our lives,” and that this “was the perfect opportunity for him to become a better teammate.” He feels that the team will come through the crisis as a closer family than ever before.
Rodriguez also showed maturity in refusing to deflect the blame onto others, or even toward recovery from an injury like his teammate Andy Pettitte did.
He took all of the blame solely onto his shoulders, and even resisted the urge to blame the culture in Texas for his problems. He stated a clear message that it was not where he played, nor who he played with; it was him that was responsible.
It is to be expected that all of the intimate details were not going to be released, and that some answers would be vague and somewhat enigmatic. That being said, A-Rod did much better than anticipated in answering the bevy of questions thrown at him.
Rodriguez’s press conference went a long way in repairing his image and showing true remorse by the presence of Don Hooten. He has agreed to form an anti-steroid partnership with Don, a man whose family was torn apart by the steroid use and ultimate death of his son Taylor.
A-Rod has admitted his mistakes, and is ready to move on. He hopes that he can put this all behind him, and return to a focus on baseball. Of course the New York and national media outlets will never allow this to happen.
He ended the conference with expressing his desires to be ‘judged from this point forward.”
It remains to be seen if what was said today was the whole truth, or if there are more chapters of his steroid story waiting to be written.
Either way, A-Rod managed to hit one in the stands today while in front of the microphone. We will pretend that we didn’t watch it bounce over the wall.