A-Rod Bunts in PR Press Conference

Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankee 3rd baseman, from New York Daily News, Feb. 18, 2009In his anti-climactic press conference yesterday at Yankee spring training camp in Tampa, Florida, Alex Rodriguez released some new information and hedged and maneuvered to put this all behind him. He chose to bunt instead of swinging for the fences – another lost opportunity for a high profile athlete to come clean and set a real example for contrition and re-birth.

The New York tabs have not been kind. See He Must Think We’re All Fools and The Truth Be Told, A-Roid Just Can’t (NY Post – graphic below right) — Alex Rodriguez Needs Dose of Truth Serum and A-Rod’s presser a laugher that wasn’t funny (NY Daily News – graphic left)

The tone of the press conference was set by Yankee media relations director Jason Zillo who would not allow follow-up questions from reporters. The press conference lasted a little over a half hour, far less than the 55 minutes Andy Pettitte was grilled at last year’s Yankee steroid shame-fest.

Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankee 3rd baseman, from New York Post, Feb. 18, 2009According to Tyler Kepner, The New York Times:  “Ben Porritt, a former spokesman for John McCain’s presidential campaign and a partner in the crisis-management firm Outside Eyes, sat off camera as Rodriguez explained and apologized.”  Add one more to the A-Rod coterie of PR consultants/image makers/handlers and agents. You wonder if Alex Rodriguez is capable of an honest emotion or thought that is not filtered through consultants.

The press conference was streamed live from several sources such as ESPN, MLB, and YES. What was the point, then, of the live blogging from many news organizations that amounted to a blow-by-blow of what we saw live?  The best live blogging on the event came from Alan Schwarz at The New York Times Bats blog. Schwarz added bemused color commentary that portrayed the event as a highly manipulated media circus.

1:52 p.m.
Yankees PR chief Jason Zillo just announced, “There will not be any follow-up questions … to keep this as efficient as possible.” That does not bode well for any revelations, folks. A lot more Q than A.

2:13 p.m.
Freudian Slip of the Decade: “I’m here to take my medicine.” Alex Rodriguez, Feb. 17, 2009

2:19 p.m.
First really good question (and a form of follow-up) came from Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post, who asked Rodriguez why, if he didn’t think what he was taking was wrong, was he so secretive and so reluctant to ask about proper procedure during the 2001-3 seasons. Rodriguez paused for a while, clearly cornered, and said: “That’s a good question. I knew what we were taking weren’t Tic Tacs. I knew that it was, potentially could be something that perhaps was wrong.”

I guess it all depends on what your definition of “was” was. 

2:27 p.m.
Joel Sherman of The New York Post tried to tie Rodriguez down on the matter of how in the world a $252 million athlete who otherwise takes great care of his body could be, if Rodriguez’s account is accurate, so foolhardy as to not know what he was taking or how to take it. Rodriguez repeated his “young and stupid” defense.

And what is this ‘bole’ that A-Rod said he injected into his body? From Brian’s blog:  “Bole” is clearly the Dominican slang for Primobolan.” A-Rod repeatedly said that his cousin secured the drug and they were both young and foolish. I guarantee that several reporters are in the Dominican Republic right now hunting for that cousin who A-Rod would not name.

This story will go on and on, and the damage will continue. A-Rod stepped up to the plate yesterday and struck out. I have a horrible feeling that for all their talent and all their money the Yankees are in for a miserable season, to the delight of baseball fans outside of New York. 

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