TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez said on Tuesday that most people will draw their own conclusions about his steroid use and what it that says about his character, his place in baseball and his legacy. But in his news conference on Tuesday, A-Rod revealed his own take on what has happened throughout the past two weeks and the past eight years.
Below is Rodriguez's confession through his own words. He began by reading a prepared statement, then answered multiple questions from reporters, the highlights of which follow:
"I'm a little nervous or a lot nervous, so bear with me a little bit.
"Let me start by thanking the Yankees, my teammates, our fans for your support over the last couple of weeks. The fact that you are sitting with me here today means the world to me. The last couple of weeks have been difficult and emotional. On one hand, it's extremely tough to admit mistakes. But on the other hand, it feels great to be moving forward.
"I know that I am in a position where I have to earn my trust back. And over time, I am confident that at the end of my career, people will see this for what it is -- a stupid mistake and a lesson learned for a guy with a lot of baseball to play. Last Monday, I began the first step of the process of earning back trust when I sat down for an interview with Peter Gammons. I did so to accomplish two things: To tell the truth and to apologize to my teammates and baseball fans everywhere. Now, the next step is to address the media about what I took and where it came from. On reflection, here's what I remember:
"As I discussed with Peter Gammons, in the years 2001, 2002 and 2003, I experimented with a banned substance that eventually triggered a positive test."In September of 2004, I had a meeting with Gene Orza. During that meeting, he explained to me that I had been among the players from which people might conclude that I had tested positive. That's as specific as Gene could be. Because Gene stated to me that there were a number of players on that list who might not have actually tested positive. I think it is important to note that the tests that were taken in 2003 were requested and voted by players to determine the extent of a drug problem in Major League Baseball.
Going back to 2001, my cousin started telling me about a substance that you could purchased over the counter in the DR [Dominican Republic]. In the streets, it's known as "boli" or "bole." It was his understanding that it would give me a dramatic energy boost and otherwise harmless. My cousin and I, one more ignorant than the other, decided it was a good idea to start taking it. My cousin would administer it to me, but neither of us knew how to use it properly, providing just how ignorant we both were. It was at this point we decided to take it twice a month for about six months. During the 2001, 2002 and 2003 seasons, we consulted no one and had no good reason to base that decision. It was pretty evident we didn't know what we were doing. We did everything we could to keep it between us, and my cousin did not provide any other players with it. I stopped taking it in 2003 and haven't taken it since."I stopped taking it for several reasons: In 2003, I had a serious neck injury and it scared me half to death. I was scared for my career and truly my career after baseball, my life out of baseball. Secondly, after our voluntary test, all the players voted for a Major League drug policy. At that time it became evident to me how serious this all was. And I decided to stop then. Since that time, I've been tested regularly. I've taken urine tests consistent with Major League Baseball and blood tests for the World Baseball Classic. Before walking in here today, I took a test as part of my physical, and I will take another blood test next week for the Classic.
In the days ahead, know that a lot of people are going to debate my past with various opinions. People are going to talk about my future, as though it's already been determined. However, I realize that these opinions are out of my control. What is in my control is going out and doing the job that I've been blessed to do. Spring Training represents a new start for me and a chance to win a championship -- two opportunities I am very excited about. It isn't lost on me the good fortune I've received from playing baseball. When I entered the pros, I was a young kid in the Major Leagues. I was 18 years old right out of high school. I thought I knew everything and I clearly didn't. Like everyone else, I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. The only way I know how to handle them is to learn from them and move forward. One thing I know for sure is that baseball is a lot bigger than Alex Rodriguez. And to my teammates (37-second pause), thank you."OTHER ANSWERS:
On the benefit of taking steroids and the difference he noticed:
"I'm not sure what the benefit of it was. I will say this: When you take any substance, especially in baseball, it's half mental and half physical. If you take this glass of water and you say, 'I'm going to be a better baseball player,' then you probably will be. So I certainly felt more energy, but it's hard to say. Hard to say."
On whether or not he feels he cheated:
"That's not for me to decide. I'm here to say that I'm sorry. I'm here to say in some ways, I wish I went to college and had an opportunity to grow up and at my own pace. I guess when you are young and stupid, you are young and stupid. And I'm guilty of both those."
On the message his steroid use sends to parents and children:
"I'm sorry to the parents. I feel like this happened than for much bigger reasons than baseball. And I think God has put me in a position, a forum, where I can be heard and my voice can be heard. And I hope that kids would not make the same mistake that I made."
On the extent to which he knew he was doing something wrong:
"I didn't think they were steroids. That's part of being young and stupid. It was over the counter, it was pretty basic and it was really amateur hour. It was two guys who couldn't go outside, who couldn't ask anyone, didn't want to ask anyone. We went outside team doctors, team trainers. It was two guys doing a very amateur and immature thing. We probably didn't even take it right."
On his chase of the all-time home run record and whether or not that would be tainted:
"I'm trying to get by the day today. It's been a difficult several weeks, and it's been very painful for me and my family. And I'm here to take my medicine. As far as anything that has to do with today or the past, it's really hard to get myself in that mind frame. But I'm sure there will be a lot of debates and there will be a lot of questions about everything that I did in that period."
On whether or not he experimented with any other substances:
"No on the human growth hormone. What I used to take a lot, especially in the Seattle days, was something called Ripped Fuel. Since it's been banned by Major League Baseball, I believe, and also it's been removed from the shelves at GNC. I used to dabble with that."
On his message to his teammates:
"Thank you for that opportunity. For the guys, I thank you for being here. Like I said earlier, this has been a difficult two weeks, and a difficult day to try to get through, and without you guys being here, it would have been impossible. So I thank you, I love you and I look forward to putting this day behind us and having an amazing season, because it will be the best season of our lives."
On why he was secretive if he didn't think he was doing anything wrong:
"That's a good question. I knew we weren't taking Tic Tacs. I knew that it potentially could be something that perhaps was wrong, but I really didn't get into the investigation perhaps like I would have. I wouldn't imagine thinking of doing something like that today, obviously. It's a different world, a different culture. But again, when you're 24 or you're 25 and you're curious and you're ignorant, there's a lot of things you really don't tell a lot of people -- not just that. You don't want to share everything you do with the public or whatnot, and that was one of those things I decided really not to share with anyone."
On MLB's current steroid testing system:
"My style's never to challenge anything. I think the system in place is really good. I think Major League Baseball has made some incredible strides, and I think it's a different game today than it was 10 or 15 years ago, even seven years ago. And I think numbers across the board prove that."
On what he called a "loosey-goosey" environment in the Texas clubhouse:
"My mistake had nothing to do with where I played. My mistake was because I was immature and I was stupid. It wasn't because of the Rangers or anything to do with Texas. I blame myself. Look, for a week, I've been looking at people to blame, and I keep looking at myself at the end of the day. I never saw any other player do it, and I really didn't get involved in any other conversation or heard anything. This is about me. I'm the one that screwed up, and no one else."
On his stats and whether or not they should still count:
"That's not for me to decide. I understand the questions and the doubt, and I made my bed, I have to sit on it. I'm here to take my medicine. But one thing I will say is after today, I hope to put this behind me and hope to start focusing on baseball. We have a very special team here. For me personally, I'll be honest with you. The last 15 months have been very, very tough. I've been through a divorce, I've been through tabloids, you name it. I miss playing baseball, and I miss simply being a baseball player. I think this is a tremendous opportunity for me to look in the mirror and be a better teammate to my guys over there, be a better player to my fans, a better human being and start hooking up with Don [Hooton, president of the Taylor Hooton Foundation -- a steroid awareness foundation] and start making the world a better place. I think that's my opportunity. I screwed up big-time. The only thing I ask of this group today and the American people is to judge me from this day forward."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.