These days, he’s going through counseling and considers himself a recovering addict. On a recent afternoon, he logged on to his PC and called up his Steam account. It showed that he had made a total of $8,365 in purchases since joining in 2012. He looked at the balance that is left: 4 cents.
“It’s almost like a whole different person did that,” he said, staring at the screen. “Looking at that, it’s not me.” He paused. “At least, that’s not who I wanted to be.”
Assael is one of the original staff members at ESPN The Magazine, and a member of the network’s Enterprise & Investigations Group. He is a contributor to Outside the Lines and the author of four books. His most recent is The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin and Heavyweights, a Boston Globe best sports book of 2016.
After Sports Illustrated broke the story before the 2009 season, he said he had started using them only after he signed the then-largest contract in American sports history, a 10-year, $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers.
When he led the Yankees’ offense in the playoffs later that year, he talked about how a burden had been lifted off his shoulders, allowing him to perform up to his capabilities.
A-Rod, though, couldn’t help himself and was back on the PED train soon after. Really, there is no telling when he was off it.
This is where the Manny test case will play out. Will the majority of voters one day decide they don’t care at all about PEDs? With Selig in and Clemens and Bonds suddenly well-positioned, that is maybe where this will end up.
If that is the case, the question A-Rod really wanted to discuss in all those locker-room conversations will have an answer. He will be a Hall of Famer, and his accomplishments on the field will be validated.