For his apology this time, Alex Rodriguez skipped the news conference in favor of a handwritten statement.
As he prepared to report to the New York Yankees' training camp and resume his career after a yearlong suspension for violating baseball's drug policy, Rodriguez issued a hand-written, five-paragraph statement apologizing for "the mistakes that led to my suspension" and his subsequent parade of denials, lawsuits and other scorched-earth tactics that "made the situation worse than it needed to be."
Wrote Rodriguez: "I can only say I'm sorry. I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why and that's on me."
In a notorious 2009 news conference, Rodriguez admitted to using steroids from 2001-03 but said he was "young and stupid" at the time. He added: "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."
In 2009, Rodriguez might have been able to sway fans undecided about what they believed. That opportunity would not have been available this time, said Ben Porritt, one of the political consultants who advised Rodriguez in 2009.
"This time, it's different," Porritt told The Times last week. "The jury has deliberated. The courtroom has adjourned."
Rodriguez, 39, is expected to compete for a job as the Yankees' designated hitter. He has 654 career home runs, six behind Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time list.
Here is Rodriguez's full statement:
To the Fans,
I take full responsibility for the mistakes that led to my suspension for the 2014 season. I regret that my actions made the situation worse than it needed to be. To Major League Baseball, the Yankees, the Steinbrenner family, the Players Association and you, the fans, I can only say I’m sorry.
I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why and that’s on me. It was gracious of the Yankees to offer me the use of Yankee Stadium for this apology but I decided the next time I am in Yankee Stadium, I should be in pinstripes doing my job.
I served the longest suspension in the history of the league for PED use. The Commissioner has said the matter is over. The Players Association has said the same. The Yankees have said the next step is to play baseball.
I’m ready to put this chapter behind me and play some ball.
This game has been my single biggest passion since I was a teenager. When I go to Spring Training, I will do everything I can to be the best player and teammate possible, earn a spot on the Yankees and help us win.