02/17/09 4:12 PM EST
A-Rod apologizes to Rangers owner
Hicks disappointed that star implicated Texas for drug use
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Rodriguez called Hicks on Wednesday night, two days after his ESPN interview with Peter Gammons. Hicks and Rodriguez spoke for about 25 minutes.
"He said, 'Mr. Hicks, I owe you a couple of apologies,' Hicks said Tuesday by phone from Dallas. "He said, 'I'm really sorry -- life has been hectic, but I should have called you before I did the interview with Peter Gammons. I apologize for that. I'd love to sit down sometime, have a beer with you and tell you everything but I can't right now.'"
Hicks said he made it clear to Rodriguez, "I was very unhappy that he gave the impression that it was all about the Texas Rangers. He said, 'I didn't mean that at all.'"
Rodriguez, in the ESPN interview with Gammons, referred to a "loosey-goosey" atmosphere back in 2001 when he first started using banned substances. But he said during his press conference in Tampa on Tuesday that he was referring to baseball in general and not the Rangers.
"I meant by that statement that overall it was a different culture," Rodriguez said. "It wasn't the Rangers or anything to do with Texas. I really didn't see any other players do it. When I look for someone to blame, I keep coming back to me."
Hicks, during the conversation, really didn't get down to accepting the apology or refusing it. Instead, he spent the time with Rodriguez urging him to be a role model in the fight against steroids.
"I said, 'Alex you have the unique opportunity to help millions of young people, change the momentum and help get rid of steroids if you just tell the truth," Hicks said. "I told him he needs to tell the truth about when he used steroids and when he stopped. Alex Rodriguez has the potential to be a significantly powerful influence on the young people in this country."
Hicks was responsible for Rodriguez coming to Texas, signing him to a 10-year, $252 million contract in December 2000. Rodriguez said he started using performance-enhancing drugs right after signing with the Rangers and stopped in 2003. Rodriguez, after winning the American League MVP Award in 2003, was traded to the Yankees just before the start of Spring Training in 2004.
"We still have a special relationship," Hicks said.
Rangers shortstop Michael Young remains a close friend. The two haven't spoken since the news of Rodriguez's drug use first broke, but they have corresponded through text-messaging.
"I just told him I supported him and he said he appreciated it," Young said. "Alex is a good friend and this is a first step for him to be able to move forward. I still support Alex 100 percent. He admitted he made a mistake. Obviously I don't condone anything like that but he's still my friend and I'm showing my support in good times and bad."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.