On Saturday, Sports Illustrated broke the story of A-Rod testing positive for anabolic steroids in 2003. Sports radio hosts have been frothing at the mouth all weekend. Every sports radio station in the country will be talking about this story in some fashion or another. Sports radio will have every imaginable voice to give their two cents.
The one person who made the most sense to me over the weekend was Curt Schilling. He thinks MLB should release the other 103 names on the 2003 list. Otherwise, everyone in MLB will pretty much be guilty by association and that’s unfair for the many players that are clean.
On a side note, I covered A-Rod in Seattle for a few years when I worked as a producer for KJR. He was fake nice but ultimately a douche. For a whole year I tried to get him on the radio station and he made me go through his marketing guy out of Atlanta. Ultimately, we didn’t get him on during the season. In the off-season of 1999, the Super Bowl was in his hometown of Miami and we thought maybe we could get him there in a more relaxed setting. I called his marketing agent and he told me if we were able to get A-Rod and his then best buddy Derek Jeter tickets to the Super Bowl that he would do an interview with us down in Miami. Granted, he would pay for the tickets, but asking a peon producer like myself to track down Super Bowl tix for him and Jeter was insane. I was able to land 50 yard-line seats and A-Rod agreed to do an interview. I had to meet him at the arena the Heat play at where he was playing in the Magic Johnson/Backstreet Boys charity hoops game. He grudgingly gave the station less than five minutes in a corridor with awful cell service (especially in 1999) and the interview was barely audible. From that day forward, he went from fake nice to really weird to just a big douche.
Sorry for the tangent, but I always wanted to put that story in writing.
Below are a cornucopia of interviews regarding Alex Rodriguez. It’s fascinating to hear so many different views and angles on this story. You’ll hear from current players, former players, current managers, former managers, senators, lawyers, analysts, writers, and many others.
I will keep updating this post with more interviews throughout the day.
After a few days of silence, A-Rod was wise to admit he took steroids. He spoke to Peter Gammons earlier on Monday.
Peter Gammons, Hall of Fame baseball writer for ESPN, has been the only reporter to conduct an interview with Alex Rodriguez to date. Peter says, “If he is sincere, and I have every reason to believe he will be, that from here on in, he’s going to be a spokesman for what not to do. I think that sets him free. He hopes Major League Baseball lets him go out to kids and tell them he screwed up and was wrong.”
Listen to Peter Gammons on ESPN Radio with Mike Tirico (about 6 minutes into the podcast)
Selena Roberts and David Epstein of Sports Illustrated broke the story on Saturday. Selena said this started out as a profile piece on Alex Rodriguez and his roller coaster year both on and off the field. She would not answer Dan’s question on if she has the rest of the 103 names on the list. Selena said, “He certainly was taken aback by the evidence that was posed to him.”
Buck Showalter, former Alex Rodriguez manager with the Rangers, and current ESPN Analyst knew something was wrong when relief pitchers would come back six months early from career threatening injuries.
David Segui, former MLB player and admitted user of steroids (and next to Jay Buhner, the biggest bully I ever covered in a locker room), talks about teasing A-Rod about his lack of weight lifting strength when they played together in Seattle. Segui sounded angry, but might have been the most interesting interview I listened to all day. Segui on A-Rod, “Whether he did use steroids or not, that doesn’t change what kind of person he is. Not in my eyes.” He also said, “When I came out and told the truth, guess what, #1 people didn’t believe me, #2 people still attack you personally.” When discussing the topic of purity, “Explain to me when the game was pure” When the host said Hank Aaron was pure, Segui responded, “How do you know he didn’t cork his bat. Corking the bat was highly prevalent back in that period of time. There’s been cheating in the game forever, you just don’t want to hear it.”
Mark DeRosa, formerly of the Braves and Cubs and recently traded to the Indians, is one of the few players that talked about the A-Rod story. He’s a bright guy who went to the University of Pennsylvania. He remembers taking the survey test in 2003. He’s mad that these names didn’t stay anonymous. He also says, “It was supposed to be confidential. What are we doing as a players association . I’m all for cleaning up the game. I think the game is clean. I’m sure there’s guys that want to do their things and go out of their way to get a competitive edge.”
Buster Olney of ESPN thinks at some point the other 103 names on the confidential list will come out. Says at some point people in MLB need to be held accountable for letting this steroid culture fester in baseball.
Mike Scioscia,current Angels manager, applauds A-Rod for standing up to his mistakes. Scioscia also says, “We’re all very confident that the playing field is going to be level.”
Former major league catcher Alan Ashby thinks the game is changed forever due to performance enhancing drugs.
Evan Grant who was the Rangers beat writer for the Dallas Morning News in 2003 thinks people will suspect everyone is guilty until the union and MLB come clean with everything.
Harold Reynolds of the MLB Network knew something wasn’t right when small middle infielders started hitting massive home runs in batting practice like they were Bo Jackson. Says he heard that the reason MLB held on to the list of 104 names was they wanted to re-test them because they couldn’t believe so many guys tested positive.
Senator Arlen Spector is sad that kids’ heroes are going up in smoke. Wonders how the list was kept secret since 2003. Also talks about economic stimulus package and the fact it’s an international emergency
Lance Williams, co-author of “Game of Shadows”, thinks that his book got a slice of the story, the Mitchell report got a slice of the story, but there’s so much more to this steroid era that will continue to come out. Thinks Mitchell didn’t do a complete job. Also discusses how Greg Anderson continuing not to talk and going in and out of jail is similar to a guy not testifying against the mob. Says if Anderson talks, some much of this speculation could be over.
John McLaren, former Mariners manager, and was a coach with A-Rod on Lou Piniella’s staff, doesn’t think any of these 104 names should have been leaked. After listening to so many of these interviews, there is still some anger that these names got leaked. I think fans have a right to know who was cheating and who wasn’t. Screw the company line. I just want one of these managers or players other than Curt Schilling to rip into these cheaters!
Eric Karros, former Dodger and current Fox Analyst, said he didn’t do steroids, but might have under certain circumstances: “I can’t say if it was the difference between playing big league ball or toiling in the minors, I don’t know what I would have done.” He later said, “If you think it’s only happening in baseball, you’re naive.”
Joel Sherman, national MLB writer for the New York Post, thinks if this is true that Alex should not only admit to taking steroids, but explain why. Thinks guys like A-Rod started taking steroids because they had problems with guys that are worse than them catching up to performance-wise on the field.
Chris Young, Padres pitcher and a MLB player rep, doesn’t agree with Curt Schilling that the other 103 names should be released; “I don’t know if that’s for the best thing of the game. A the time this was done it was in confidentiality. You’re not achieving anything in doing that. After 2004, it was agreed that anyone that tests positive has their name out and open to the public.”
Sean Casey, newly retired MLB player and new analyst for the MLB Network, thinks testing was important to even the playing field. “Fans need to know we’re headed in the right direction Everything we talk about with steroids happened years ago. Now we have the strongest policy in place, you’d be crazy to do it now.”
Legal Analyst Lester Munson thinks Alex Rodriguez could sue the union, but won’t because his life would become an open book. Thinks the information link came from the US Government. Said “Someone in government is angry with baseball, is angry with its self-righteous tone, and they decided to bring them to their knees.” Thinks the honest approach Andy Petitte and Brian Roberts took is the way to go.
Frank Viola, former Twin and Met, thought that A-Rod was one of the guys that did it right. He had this to say about the players in MLB; “All these players act like they’re ignorant, but all these players know what they’re doing and putting into their body.” Viola had this to say (simple but brilliant), “Nobody is going to fess up until they caught.”
Listen to Frank Viola on KFAN in Minneapolis with Dan Barreiro (A-Rod talk starts about 6 minutes into podcast)
Jeff Passan, baseball writer for Yahoo Sports. Jeff said, “I’ll be honest, people kept saying they weren’t surprised, I was a little surprised. The Yankees gave him $300 million dollars, MLB attached its cart to the horse that was Alex Rodriguez. A lot of people were saying he’s going to be the savior. If there’s knowledge out there that he tested positive for steroids, what are they doing. How stupid are they!” His sources say Scott Boras is going to try to be a bulldog with this story.
John Kruk, former player and current ESPN MLB analyst, is one guy I’m 100% sure didn’t do steroids. Here’s his initial thoughts after hearing the A-Rod interview with Peter Gammons, “He was young he made mistakes, I don’t know if I’m going to buy all that. He was old enough to sign a contract for $250 million. He would have gotten better advice from the people who advised him to take the 250 to say you know what, you don’t need that stuff you’re already a great player.”
Listen to John Kruk on ESPN Radio with Mike Tirico (15 minutes into podcast)
Ken Singleton, of Yes Network who’s been a color analyst for Yankees games for years, is bothered by the fact that A-Rod is the only name of the 104 names that has been leaked. “The only way for baseball to get beyond all this is to get everybodys’ name out there and just move on.”
Todd Walker, former player for a number of teams, still thinks that the other 103 players on the list should remain anonymous. Also said, “It wasn’t readily available for me. I never saw anybody take it. It was so quiet through baseball that I never even heard anybody come up to me and say they were doing it.”
Jeff Nelson, former reliever who played with the Rangers, Yankees, and Mariners like Rodriguez, although only played together briefly in Seattle, initial response was, “Why, why did he need to do it. This guy has unbelievable talent. He’s by far the best player in both leagues. He out of anyone, why does he need to do it?” On A-Rod in the clubhouse: “He’s not a leader, he’s a follower, it wasn’t the pressure of his contract, I think he saw other guys doing it and said let me try it and got caught up in it.” On steroids in general, “They’ll never clean it up because there’s always that next lab, there’s always that next masking agent.”
Tom Grieve, former MLB player and Rangers TV analyst for the past 15 years, was around for A-Rod’s Ranger years. The Ranger have arguably been the team that has had the most high profile players linked to steroids in Jose Canseco, A-Rod, Pudge Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, and Rafael Palmiero. When asked about that, Grieve talked in circles, which is somewhat understandable as these guys are actually employees of the team.
Tags: Alex Rodriguez, Arlen Spector, Buck Showalter, Buster Olney, David Epstein, David Segui, ESPN, ESPN Radio, Fox Sports, Harold Reynolds, Jose Canseco, KBME, Lance WIlliams, Lester Munson, Major League Baseball, Mark DeRosa, MLB, MLB Network, New York Post, New York Yankees, Peter Gammons, Sean Casey, Selena Roberts, Sports Illustrated, Texas Rangers, WFAN, WIP, Yahoo Sports