A-Rod: Winning World Series was a “humongous gorilla” off his back

Unfortunately, Mr. Hoch picked a frigid (read: mid-50s) Tampa day to take an off day. Not really beach weather. He’ll have to do better next time.

In the meantime, this is Anthony DiComo filling in to report on all things Alex. You can follow my MLB coverage on Twitter @anthonydicomo.

Thumbnail image for arodpresser.jpgJust after 2 p.m. Thursday at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Rodriguez walked into the same white party tent where 373 days earlier, he had admitted his use of performance-enhancing substances. This press conference was much quicker (just over 18 minutes) and noticeably more upbeat. In it, Rodriguez reflected upon his year, from the steroids admission to his hip surgery to his first World Series title. Among the highlights:

On winning his first World Series: “Now that you taste it, you just want to keep doing it again. There’s no question for me that it wasn’t a monkey, it was a humongous gorilla that came off my back. And I felt that.”

On sitting in the same tent:
“It’s definitely a much different day. That’s clear to me. Last year, obviously, was a very embarrassing day, and something that I wouldn’t want to go back and do. But looking back, I certainly thought it was a very important day. I’ve done  a lot of growing up and realized a lot of things, and I’d like to think that I put a lot of those things into play in 2009.”

On his postseason performance: “There might be a postseason or two where I don’t hit four or five or six home runs. And I know the way it goes. I’m going to get crushed, and that’s just part of it. But the one thing that no one can take away is what happened in 2009 with our team, with the way we came together like a family, everyone checking their egos at the door and winning a world championship. The feeling of satisfaction that I got from that will forever be mine.”

On his teammates and fans: “I was at the very bottom. And I think a lot of people tried to give me a hand and encourage me. I just felt a love and a lot of support everywhere we went, not only with the Yankee fans but across baseball. I think there was an appreciation for me coming out and doing what I did last year.”

On Johnny Damon: “Johnny and I are very good friends, and we’ve always had a lot of dialogue, both in the offseason and the season. I was just trying to share some of my experiences with him. I was crossing my fingers hoping that he would come back. Johnny’s a great player. He was an integral part of our world championship team, and we’re going to miss him dearly. He’s also a great human being, and he’s always out there doing a lot of charity work.”

On the captain: “Derek Jeter was born to be a Yankee, and he was born to wear pinstripes. He’s our captain and we need him here, and I envision he’ll finish his career here. When you think of Derek, I can’t envision him wearing any other uniform.”

–Anthony DiComo

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