Some questions to ask A-Rod

Updated: February 17, 2009, 11:42 AM ET
By Buster Olney
Undoubtedly, the Yankees would have preferred that Alex Rodriguez sit down with all reporters one time. He chose to speak with Peter Gammons last week, however, giving all other reporters a week to comb over the transcript of the interview and find the loopholes in what he said , whether they were intentionally crafted or not.

There are bound to be moments when his news conference Tuesday in a tent feels like a cross-examination in a courtroom. This is partly because he's a player of historic accomplishments, but also because he's lied in the past about his drug use.

With the benefit of that extra time, here are questions for A-Rod today:

1. You said last week that you used "banned substances." What, precisely, did you mean by that? What substances did you use and when? How often did you take them? Did you cycle? Did you take them once in a while over three years as a pick-me-up?

2. With each year, more substances are added to the list of banned performance-enhancing drugs, so what you said about taking "banned substances" could be construed as a cleverly worded way to skirt around the issue of whether you used amphetamines or human growth hormone or other substances that weren't banned until the most recent testing changes. Once and for all: Have you ever taken stimulants, such as amphetamines, which weren't banned until 2006? Have you ever taken human growth hormone, which wasn't a banned substance until 2005? Or others added to the list through the years, such as clenbuterol, which wasn't a banned substance until 2005?

3. You said it was "pretty accurate" that you took banned substances from 2001 through 2003. Is that wholly accurate? Were there any other years in which you took performance-enhancing drugs? If so, what did you take, and when did you take it?

4. We assume you are not going to give up the specific name of a source, but please explain how, in that "loosey-goosey" era, you went about acquiring illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

5. You mentioned that you felt pressure to live up to your 10-year contract when you went to the Rangers. In 2004, the year you say you stopped using performance-enhancing drugs, you had just been traded to the Yankees and faced the pressure of performance. Why did you stop? What role did your positive drug test from 2003 play in your decision to stop? What role did the newly implemented system of penalties play in your decision to stop?

6. Why did you lie to Katie Couric?

7. In your interview, you mentioned how good your offensive numbers were before and after taking the performance-enhancing drugs. If your numbers remained constant, and the PEDs didn't help all that much statistically, why didn't you stop after one year or two years? In essence, what benefit did you see that kept you using for three years?

8. You told Gammons that you would love to work in the community and seemingly indicated that you wanted to discuss the use of performance-enhancing drugs. What steps are you taking toward doing that?

9. Explain as precisely as you can recall what was said in your conversation with union counsel Gene Orza and when that conversation took place.

10. You seemed to express disbelief last week that news outlets still quote Jose Canseco, who said he introduced you to a supplier of drugs. From your perspective, why is Canseco not credible on the issue of performance-enhancing drugs?

11. What do you remember about the first time you used performance-enhancing drugs -- how did they make you feel, how did you feel at that moment about taking them, and what did you take?

Rodriguez will have a whole lot at stake today. Being open and completely honest will give him the best possible chance of moving as far past this issue as he can -- and to be sure, he'll never separate himself from it entirely, no matter what he says.

If he reiterates a lot of what he said to Gammons last week, and then more information comes out at a later time, he will be crushed in the media and in the court of public opinion, because that would mean he lied twice -- on camera -- in interviews that he arranged. And those lies will be replayed over and over and over again, for the remainder of his career and his life.

If it turns out he has uttered more lies or more half-truths, this will draw more unwanted attention to him, perhaps from Congress, perhaps from law-enforcement authorities.

If it turns out he has uttered more lies, it's very possible the commissioner effectively will hang him out to dry and make an example of him. Bud Selig would do everything he could to distance baseball from A-Rod, up to and including an attempted suspension.

Whether or not that would be fair is a separate question, and whether or not a suspension would stick is a separate question. But it's evident from the commissioner's comments last week that he is not happy with any of this, and he's not going to stand by and do nothing if one of the game's most prominent players is found to have twice lied to respected journalists about his past drug use.

A-Rod needs to come completely clean today.

The YES Network has temporarily pulled the plug on A-Rod, writes Richard Sandomir. In this piece, Selena Roberts' editor at Sports Illustrated says he wants A-Rod to set the record straight about Roberts.

Judgment Day is A-Rod's to conquer, writes Bob Klapisch. The A-Roid show begins, writes Mike Lupica. Peter Abraham writes that the question about A-Rod is: Will he open up?