We learned nothing

The Baltimore Sun

Alex Rodriguez had to face the New York media firing squad before getting back to the business of baseball. So in the sense that he endured a mandatory flogging, I suppose he moved forward with yesterday's news conference.

But the chances of A-Rod scoring any major public relations points were slim going in. And his performance did not transcend those low expectations.

He was contrite, but he had already demonstrated that in his interview with ESPN's Peter Gammons. He trotted out some decent defenses of his legacy, namely that his two best seasons came in 1996 and 2007, well outside his admitted window of drug use. But he had floated those arguments before.

He tossed out some new information about his cousin and an over-the-counter energy booster from the Dominican Republic. But that just raised more questions. Who was the cousin? If A-Rod knew so little about this stuff and couldn't tell whether it helped him, why did he use it for three years?

The truth is interviewers are locked in a useless dance with Rodriguez. He was either really naive or he's a really big liar. Whichever it is, he's unlikely to say anything more and we're unlikely to find evidence that could grant clarity.

Whenever the steroid issue flares up, I'm left thinking about how little we know. Who used what and when? How much? Which substances produced the most benefits? We know such a tiny percentage of the information needed to construct a decent picture of what happened. So we're left with events such as yesterday's news conference - exhibitions of anger, suspicion, confusion and remorse. Hard information and logic rarely intercede.

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