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Alex Rodriguez: “I’m fighting for my life”

Aug 5, 2013, 7:02 PM EDT

New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez speaks during a news conference in Chicago Reuters

On the heels of MLB announcing a 211-game suspension earlier this afternoon, Alex Rodriguez held a press conference this evening at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. If you were looking for any major revelations in regard to his alleged PED use and Biogenesis, you were probably disappointed. Not surprisingly, he declined to discuss any of the details. However, he did have some interesting things to say.

Rodriguez began the press conference with some brief opening remarks, during which he expressed his relief to be back in a Yankees uniform, not only after the Biogenesis investigation but also a tough rehab process following hip surgery in January.

“The last seven months have been a nightmare. Probably the worst time of my life, for sure. Obviously for the circumstances that are at hand and also dealing with a tough surgery and rehab program and being 38. I am thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to put on this uniform again and play major league baseball again. I feel like I was 18 years old back in Fenway Park in 1994 when I went in to face the Red Sox for the very first time. It’s been 20 years. And I’m just very excited for the opportunity to go out there and play baseball and help my team win. And prove to myself, my teammates, the fans of New York, the fans of baseball, that I still have the shot to play the game at a high level and I’m going to give it my best.”

On why he has decided to appeal his suspension 211-game suspension from MLB:

“I’m fighting for my life, I have to defend myself. If I don’t defend myself, no one else will.”

When asked directly whether he used PEDs:

“We’ll have a forum to discuss all that and we’ll talk about that then.”

On whether he would drop his appeal after seeing what evidence MLB has against him:

“We’ve seen everything. There will be a time and place for everything. When the time is right we’ll all speak more freely.”

On what it feels like to get back on the field:

“For me, it’s going to be business as usual. I’ve got a job to do.”

When asked whether he thinks the Yankees want him back:

“If I’m productive, I think they want me back.”

Rodriguez got off to a good start, singling in his first at bat of 2013 as boos came from the stands.

Here’s video from the press conference:

The allegations against Rodriguez and others were first revealed in late January, when the Miami New Times published a report that connected them to Bosch and his clinic. Bosch reportedly provided a group of MLB players with human growth hormone and steroids as early as December 2011. The New Times story, along with reports by Yahoo! Sports and ESPN, reportedly spurred MLB’s investigation.

“Despite the challenges this situation has created during a great season on the field, we pursued this matter because it was not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do,” Selig said.

Bosch faces a federal inquiry into whether Biogenesis illegally distributed steroids to high school students and major leaguers, according to reports by ESPN and the Miami Herald. Bosch’s lawyer, Susy Ribero-Ayala, has not responded to messages left by NBC Sports.

The matter reportedly is being handled by Jeff Novitzky, the federal agent who directed investigations of BALCO, a clinic in the Bay Area that was found to have distributed steroids to athletes.

Rodriguez, 38, is fifth on MLB’s career home run list, with 647 spread over two decades with three teams. Barry Bonds holds the record, with 762, but many fans believe that mark to be illegitimate because of Bonds’ tie to BALCO.

Rodriguez admitted in 2009 that he used steroids for three years, from 2001-03, while he was a member of the Texas Rangers. His name also appeared on a list of 104 players who tested positive for PEDs in a 2003 MLB survey, according to a report by Sports Illustrated.

The survey, which was confidential, reportedly was done to measure the extent of baseball’s problem with performance-enhancing drugs, not to determine who was actually using them. So Rodriguez’s alleged positive test could not have resulted in punishment.

Rodriguez has yet to play this year after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left hip in January. His recovery efforts stalled in mid-July, when he strained his left quadriceps. Rodriguez claimed he was ready to return. The Yankees said he was not.

Rodriguez sought a second opinion from a New Jersey doctor, who examined an MRI of the slugger’s leg and proclaimed him fit both over the telephone and in a subsequent media blitz. The Yankees were displeased that Rodriguez sought a second opinion without informing them in writing first, according to ESPN.

  1. ohionick - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    I do not feel sorry for anyone who makes so much money, they believe they are above it all. You play sports, A-Rod. SPORTS!! Those of us who attend games or buy products you endorse, pay your exorbitant fees. I am fine with all of that, but only IF you (the global pro athlete “you”) give back to the world, be humble and do the right thing. It is not noble or morally correct to use any PEDs at any time. It is not what your legion of your youthful fans wish to see. Getting a life is a big start, but it is your life. There is more to life than anything money can buy. You are not above the law, morality of the of the world… no one is. Accept the punishment and be pleased you were not banned for life as some have been for lesser incidents.

    • witchrunner - Aug 5, 2013 at 11:47 PM

      Wouldn’t you love to be in a position to be “fighting for your life” like a-rod is?

      In truth, if he still wants to play the game, he has to appeal. No one will want him if they have to wait until 2015. Personally, I’d rather see the suspension reduced to the 50 games the others received. That way the Yanks will continue to have salary cap problems, which they will just pay the fines for.

      Since all that stuff has adversely affected his body, he may not be able to stay healthy even during the period of his appeal. Time will tell.

  2. tfbuckfutter - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    Here’s a list of other things A-Rod thinks he is fighting for:

    The love of a good woman
    The WWF Intercontinental Championship
    His right to party

    • tfbuckfutter - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:30 PM

      I forgot one:

      The futures of the underprivileged Hispanic children to whom he is teaching Calculus.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:00 PM

        You know, if you can link Marky Mark w/ K-Bac, you could connect A-Rod to him.

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:02 PM

        You’ve flummoxed me.

    • heyblueyoustink - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:07 PM

      WWE man, the chinchilla lovers won that one a long time ago.

      • tfbuckfutter - Aug 5, 2013 at 11:01 PM

        I’m old school. Sorry.

        I will be in a cold cold ground before I recognize “WWE”.

        George “The Animal” Steele and Junkyard Dog didn’t perform in no “WWE”.

      • Gamera the Brave - Aug 6, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        Not to mention:
        Haystack Calhoun
        Moon-Dog Maynes
        Chief Peter Mavia
        Pat Patterson
        Ray Stevens

  3. cameltoews - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    I don’t understand how the Yankees cannot void his contract for cheating and consistently using banned substances. I want him gone. This is coming from a life long Yankee fan. He is tarnishing that uniform every time he opens his mouth. He certainly does not need anymore money. Do everyone a favor and f@$k off

  4. claymatthewshairplugs - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    The way this site talks about A-Rod I would’ve thought he did something worse than Hernandez.

  5. rcali - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    A-Fraud should get a job on Wall Street. He would fit right in with the other liars and cheats. I’m actually surprised the government isn’t going to try and bail him out of this mess.

  6. rwvaughn - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    There’s nothing left to fight for or defend. I obviously don’t understand why so many players who could have been legends felt the need to ruin their reputations by doing what they clearly new to be wrong. Players like Clemens, McGuire, Sosa, Bonds and Rodriguez had obvious advantages and opportunities to smash the old baseball records with a lengthened season why couldn’t they just be happy with that. They were role models that many youths look up to and high school kids idolized. The only thing they have done, besides setting tarnished records, is demonstrate to high school and college players that it’s okay to cheat as long as you aren’t caught, and if caught to deny everything.

    • michaelblinter - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:31 PM

      Roll models, idolized? Seriously? If you have to look to sports for roll models and idols for your children, man, your priorities are completely out of whack.

      Why not the champions of science, math, literature, physics, biology? These are areas where any child can have a chance to excel at and even be the best at. But NOOOoooo, you have to have them “idolize” these PUKES that have an ability they are born with. These same PUKES that commit murder, larceny, drunk driving, drug use and they cheat at any cost.

      But you sports fans, like lemmings, keep giving them your money, keep attending their sham they call a “sport”.

      If you want this mess to clear up, STOP GIVING THEM YOUR TIME AND YOUR MONEY! When they see the attendance drop through the floor, it will clean up. Furthermore, please instill some sense of priority in your children. There are waaaaay better people to idolize than these A-Holes.

  7. jollyjoker2 - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    What a moron. ” Fighting for his life”. Hey Alex – when your about 80 on your deathbed; let me ask you the same question.

  8. mchalli - Aug 5, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Fighting for his life??? This guy is a joke…so glad the redsox didn’t get this ac!!!!

    • getinstant - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:28 PM

      Totally agree.

    • dinkydow - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:52 PM

      If the Sox did “get his act”, they might have 2 more World Series rings and I don’t think the Sox would give back the rings they had because Manny was on roids in 04 & 07.

  9. getinstant - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    I read a story the other day about a baby who was the best man in his parents wedding because he only has a few weeks left to live. You play a sport for a living and you are a cheater. Please spare everyone the pity feat you selfish no good cheater. You aren’t fighting for your life. Have some perspective. I can’t stand people who can’t accept what they have done. You are far from fighting for your life.

    • mamathews - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:37 PM

      That young two year old boy suffering from Leukemia know what is like to be fighting for life. A-Rod in this instance has a clue. Maybe during his suspension he should reach out to this family to put things into perspective and use some of his millions to help those less fortunate that are truly fighting for their lives.

  10. albertmn - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

    And, it isn’t your “life” you are fighting for, just more money.

  11. westcoastredbird - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    You freakin clown!!! My cousin has stage 4 lung cancer! He’s fighting for his life!!!!! You have no freakin clue about reality. Go to New Life Live and get some help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • mamathews - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      Well said, this guy has no concept of reality. He isn’t a murderer or rapist on the other hand he didn’t get a life sentence or the death penalty. He got a suspension from playing baseball, what a drama queen.

      On a side note I am genuinely sorry to hear that your cousin is suffering from lung cancer. I wish him well and a full recovery. I don’t know if you are the praying type or not but I am; I will include him in my prayers this evening.

    • natslady - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:43 PM

      How about the young boy that was Harper’s friend who passed last week. THAT KID was fighting for his life. Rodriguez makes me retch.

  12. WACANHFL - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    He needs psychiatric help soon.

    • sabatimus - Aug 6, 2013 at 1:15 AM

      Well, he needs help on how to be a human again.

  13. sp13st - Aug 5, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    Dirty sleaze bag you belong in prison and banned from baseball forever. Baseball does not need drug addicts.

    • cohnjusack - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:12 PM

      Baseball does not need drug addicts.

      ….sp13st almost certainly didn’t say when roughly 90% of the league were popping amphetamines.

      • 1noone1 - Oct 6, 2013 at 6:30 PM

        How do you know did they admit it?

  14. nananatman - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Well if he is fighting for his life, maybe he could use an edge. First ones free guy.

  15. s2mikey - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    Just embarrassing for the sport. Go away. Buy an island and populate it with skanks. He’ll be happy then.

  16. rockwallfields - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    He didn’t mean “life”. He meant “legacy”, which to him is how other people view his life: which to A-Rod is everything. I’m not sure he knows how to see or valuate his life through his own eyes. He is fighting so that people will still like him and respect him, which unfortunately unbeknownst to him, are fights he lost long ago – before he ever even started “fighting” for them. He still has no clue about life’s simple things, such as the need to respect others and one’s self, for others to give respect in return. If this dude was a cartoon, he would be Wiley E. Coyote!

  17. schniz61 - Aug 5, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    I wish the cattle would stop writing about A-Fraud. He should be treated like the stupid fan that runs on to the field. How about an article about the relevant players in the game?

  18. sabatimus - Aug 6, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    “Fighting for my life”, huh? I wonder if he really knows what that’s like.

  19. bobhamiltonchicago - Aug 6, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    No, A-Roid, you’re trying to salvage what’s left of your reputation but you don’t have the courage or manhood to do what is necessary. You would have to step up and be honest and accept responsibility for your actions. Ain’t gonna happen.

  20. jerseydevi1 - Aug 6, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Um, I’m not Alex so I can’t say for sure but I believe he meant his “Baseball Life”.

    Those of you whom are fighting disease or with suffering friends or family, my condolences. However, given the context I don’t believe Alex literally was comparing himself to what you are dealing with. He is talking about his Professional Life.

    Like it or not, the man has every right to appeal and fight to the end. I am no fan of Alex, but a huge Yankees fan and as much as he drives me crazy, he is right. Everyone is piling on him. He has the right to stand up for and defend himself. Truth be told, based on what little I know about the JDA agreement, although I don’t expect it I wouldn’t be surprised if the arbiter threw the whole thing out. They have no failed drug test. They have papers from a person under federal investigation for illegally selling steroids. They have hearsay. Like I said, I don’t know the specifics, I thought they had to have a failed test to suspend. Without that, it all becomes circumstantial in my mind. Similar to a murder case with no weapon, if you will.

    I have my flame suit on, so go ahead and slam me with insults and thumbs down.

    • spursareold - Aug 6, 2013 at 11:37 AM

      People have been, and will in the future be convicted of murder based on a strong circumstantial case. You don’t need a weapon, or even a body.

  21. spursareold - Aug 6, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    ARoid, just stop. Your life isn’t in danger. The only thing in danger is your paycheck.

    You’re fighting for your money.

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