Monday, February 18, 2008

"I'm Sorry, But I Can't Say What For"

What is it with these evasive former Dodgers, pulling lines out of Jason Giambi's playbook and publicly apologizing for transgressions they are not detailing? It's ridiculous.

First came Paulie LoDuca, who said yesterday in the New York Times that he "made a mistake, without saying what that mistake was:

Addressing his inclusion in the Mitchell report for the first time, Nationals catcher Paul Lo Duca acknowledged what he called “a mistake” without explaining exactly what he was apologizing for.

Lo Duca, a four-time All-Star who played for the Mets the previous two seasons, was among the more prominent players cited in George J. Mitchell’s report on drug use in baseball, which was released Dec. 13. That was two days after Washington announced it signed Lo Duca to a one-year, $5 million contract.

“You do something wrong in your life and you get away with it, you still have something inside you that burns,” Lo Duca said. “And it’s been a big relief for me to know that I’ve come to grips with it. That I made a mistake.”

His name appears 37 times in the 409-page report, which said he received shipments of human growth hormone from — and put other players in touch with — the acknowledged steroid distributor Kirk Radomski, a former Mets clubhouse employee. Radomski pleaded guilty in April.

Lo Duca was silent on the matter for more than two months. But Saturday morning, he issued a statement, then held a news conference after arriving at the Nationals’ spring training facility.

Asked whether the Mitchell report was accurate about him, Lo Duca said: “I’m not going to comment on that.”

And today comes Eric Gagne, who must have the same publicity agent as LoDuca:

In his first public comments since the Mitchell Report linked him to human growth hormones two months ago, former Dodger closer Eric Gagne apologized to his family, friends and new Milwaukee Brewer teammates today but stopped short of admitting to the use of performance-enhancing substances.

"I feel bad for my family, what they had to go through. And all my friends. And especially my teammates here in Milwaukee," said Gagne, who spoke for about a minute. "It's just a distraction that shouldn't be taking place. I'm just here to help the Milwaukee Brewers to get to the World Series and get to the playoffs. And that's all I really care about."

Gagne, a Canadian, addressed reporters in both English and French but did not take questions. He did, however, laud baseball's efforts to rid the sport of steroids and other drugs, specifically citing the Mitchell Report in his comments in French.

"Since 2004, Major League Baseball has done everything in their power to clean up the game," he said. "And I think they've done a great job. Right now I just want to go forward. I think Major League Baseball is ready to go forward. And hopefully all the fans are ready to do that."

Mark McGwire has been ridiculed for his "I'm not here to talk about the past" routine before Congress. But I'm not sure how "I'm here to talk about the past, but only in vague terms" is much of an improvement.

Elton John had it wrong--"sorry" isn't the hardest word, it's all the other words afterward that are proving difficult.