Alex Rodriguez met with the media on Tuesday in Tampa and read a written statement that offered much needed insight to his steroid use. He said his cousin told him in 2001, about a substance called "Boli" which was sold over the counter in the Dominican Republic. Rodriguez said he and his cousin began using the drug, which was injected, for three seasons.
"It was his understanding that it would give me a dramatic energy boost and otherwise harmless," Rodriguez said. "My cousin and I, one more ignorant than the other, decided it was a good idea to start taking it. My cousin would administer it to me, but neither of us knew how to use it properly providing just how ignorant we both were."
Rodriguez wouldn't name that cousin, which should spark quite the manhunt among people looking for the next story. He also wouldn't say who brought the drugs back from the Dominican Republic when asked to do so by George King of the New York Post. The question raised the spectre of a criminal investigation somewhere down the road, although there are enough specifics missing that it is hard to say anything definitive.
By the timeline offered today, the two men used the substance twice a month for six months during the season, and continued using it until he suffered a neck injury in 2003. He said that he was "scared for his career" and for his life after baseball. That, coupled with the implementation of a stringent testing system in Major League Baseball, caused him to stop using the drug.
The questions of what A-Rod used, how he got it and how often he used it were essential to today's press conference. A-Rod answered those questions, but he tried to couch his admission by claiming that he and his cousin were inept in the way they used it. A-Rod said it was "pretty evident that we didn't know what we were doing" and said that he wasn't sure they were even using it the correct way.
Rodriguez did his best to evade questions about why he kept using the drugs when he wasn't sure what they were and wasn't sure if they were helping his game. He also repeatedly noted how young and naive he was, to the point that he wasn't even positive there was anything wrong with what he was using. Despite that, Rodriguez admitted he "knew we weren't taking Tic Tacs," and that they kept the whole program a secret.
Hours after the confence Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks revealed that Rodriguez had called him last week.
"He didn't ask me to accept his apology, and I didn't," Hicks said. "But he did apologize."
Hicks said the two men talked for about 25 minutes, and he described Rodriguez as "embarrassed."
But after listening to Rodriguez today, Hicks sounded like he wasn't exactly convinced the slugger laid all the truth on the table.
"Just because Alex Rodriguez said today that he started using steroids in 2001 doesn't make me necessarily believe that," Hicks said. "This is still early in the process and I don't know what the truth is."
At the press conference, A-Rod also addressed his teammates, most of whom were clustered just off the dais where Rodriguez was speaking. It was an odd moment, as Rodriguez began to address them, stopped, smiled, drank some water and then finally said "thank you." The pause, awkward as can be, was timed at 37 seconds.
Rodriguez seemed eager to move past the steroid issue, clearly thinking that he could just play the stupidity card and be done with everything. He said that "baseball is a lot bigger than Alex Rodriguez," and that he wants to be judged from this day forward. That seems as naive a thought as whatever led him to start taking steroids in the first place.