The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

A-Rod spins the story a little too much

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Feb 20, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Ah, the wonderful world of Alex Rodriguez.

During his meeting with reporters today, the subject of PEDs came up and Rodriguez said he was tested nine or 10 times last season.

While that sounds good, that many tests would indicate a problem. Players are usually tested twice: once during spring training and at some random time during the season. There are 600 additional random tests during the season spread out over 1,200 players or so.

There is little chance that one player would be selected randomly seven or eight times. That many extra tests would usually indicate that the player tested positive for a stimulant and was being subjected to extra tests.

As reporters started to check out the mysterious number of extra tests, the Yankees went back to Rodriguez. He has since admitted that he exaggerated the number of tests he underwent.

The Yankees, I’m told, will be releasing a statement later this evening to clarify his remarks.

UPDATE, 7:20 p.m.: Here is a statement from Rodriguez:

“My quote from earlier today was taken literally. I was not tested nine or 10 times last year. I was just using exaggeration to make a point.

“My intent was simply to shed light on the fact that the current program being implemented is working, and a reason for that is through frequent testing.

“I apologize for any confusion I may have caused.”

UPDATE, 9:11 p.m.: Nothing like A-Rod to get people talking. Nearly 100 comments already. A few points: While I realize the natural reaction of fans is to blame the media and make excuses for the players, listen to the audio that is available exclusively on this blog.

Alex was not laughing or joking when he said he was tested nine or 10 times. He said it as fact. The interview, which lasted only eight minutes, ended a few minutes later.

As we were writing our stories later in the day, some people noticed that 9 or 10 tests would indicate that A-Rod was being singled out for extra testing for amphetamine use. Do you think maybe that would be a story? Um, yes.

So people made calls. Brian Cashman, MLB, the MLBPA, Scott Boras. The irresponsible thing would have been to just rely on what Alex said and write the story.

When we checked it out, it turned out Alex had exaggerated and the Yankees issued a statement.

What did the media do wrong? Nobody asked Alex how many times he had been tested, he volunteered the information. If he had said, “I was tested 100 times” everybody would have known he was kidding. But a player being tested for stimulants would get tested exactly nine times.

In this climate, with Congress lurking, the best player in baseball has to watch what he says about drug testing. Alex should have known better.




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