Fred Grimm

Fred Grimm: A-Rod’s latest makeover can’t undo all those ugly lies

Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez at his Coral Gables office in September.
Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez at his Coral Gables office in September. Miami Herald staff

Too bad A-Rod’s federal immunity-from-prosecution deal didn’t include immunity from memory. Would have made his latest image rehab project easier to swallow.

But it’s hard to forget the oh-so-sincere Alex Rodriguez on 60 Minutes back in 2007 denying the use of steroids, telling Katie Couric that “if anything comes” of a report that some fellow ball players were using performance enhancement drugs, he “would be very disappointed.”

Two years later, after his own failed drug tests were reported by Sports Illustrated, A-Rod told the news media that, yes, back in 2001-to-2003, when he had been young and stupid, he had unwittingly ingested performance enhancers. “I didn’t think they were steroids,” he insisted. He sounded so regretful, calling the revelation “a tremendous opportunity” to be “a better teammate to my guys over there, be a better player for my fans, be a better human being, start making the world a better place.”

He announced that the new, repentant A-Rod was becoming a spokesman for the Taylor Hooton Foundation, named for a Texas high school baseball player whose suicide was linked to steroid use.

Rodriguez did occasionally speak to high school assemblies, warning the kids about PEDs. The New York Post described how, in 2009, he told 500 student athletes at Milford Mill Academy in Baltimore not to repeat his mistakes. A-Rod told the kids how good it felt “to actually tell the truth. It feels pretty darn good and liberating.”

The students watched him sign a pledge on an oversized piece of cardboard, “to become the best that I can be without using any banned performance-enhancing substance.”

The kids were wowed. Wonder what they think lately about A-Rod’s message.

Rodriguez, as it turned out, wanted to be more than the best he could be without PEDs. A Miami New Times story in 2013 and subsequent reporting by the Miami Herald and other media linked him and other major leaguers to Biogenesis, a steroid clinic in Coral Gables run by a sleazy fake doc named Anthony Bosch.

Rodriguez’s flunkies declared that the documents obtained by New Times were fakes, but that explanation was tough to sustain after 13 other baseball players implicated by the same documents admitted that they had been Bosch’s customers.

Meanwhile, as my colleague Jay Weaver reported, baseball’s highest paid player spent $200,000 trying to buy those incriminating documents before MLB could get at them. Thousands more of his dollars were funneled to Bosch, hoping to keep Bosch’s mouth shut.

Even after baseball suspended him for an entire season, A-Rod protested, “I have been clear that I did not use performing enhancing substances.” Three weeks later, Miami’s mendacious sports hero cut his immunity deal with federal prosecutors, admitting that he had paid Bosch $12,000 a month for his PED injections.

Now the feckless one is back at it, trying to repair his shabby image, giving money to Boys & Girls Clubs and other charities, funding scholarships, popping up on TV, giving softball interviews. Looking for forgiveness. Or better yet, forgetfulness.