At long last, A-Rod opts for truth

NEW YORK -- To anyone with an ounce of common sense or logic, it should come as no surprise that Alex Rodriguez has "admitted" to using PEDs -- albeit under oath to a DEA investigator, not a reporter armed only with a tape recorder -- because is there any adult who has followed his case who thought for a single minute that he hadn't?

And besides, an "admission" of PED use by A-Rod is nothing new -- we've heard it all before, back in 2009, complete with mock tears and the infamous 38-second pause to collect himself, after Sports Illustrated got the goods on him.

So the report in the Miami Herald, citing a DEA investigation report, is not "news" in and of itself. A-Rod did steroids? Shocking. Have you heard about the Lindbergh baby?

What is a surprise is that after nearly two years of denials, stalling tactics, obfuscation and the spending of vast sums of money on lawyers, cousins and other unsavory characters trying to cobble together some kind of defense -- it always seemed as if A-Rod was not so much denying the allegations as attacking the methods employed by his accusers in Major League Baseball, a tried and true method of escaping punishment. Now, at long last, A-Rod seems to be resigned to trying the one tactic that has been shown to work for players attempting to resume their careers: Telling the truth.

It worked like magic for Andy Pettitte, who remains a beloved Yankee years after his own HGH admission, and it worked to a lesser extent for Jason Giambi, who apologized without ever telling us exactly what he was sorry about. It worked for Mark McGwire, who is back in baseball's good graces as the Dodgers' hitting coach.

By contrast, those who have clung to stubborn denials, unbelievable stories and stony silence, such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, continue to be ostracized simply for not coming clean, so to speak.

A-Rod's admission, again, was coerced, not volunteered, so it lacks the veneer of sincerity Pettitte's had back in 2007, but still, it is a step in the right direction. People in general, and sports fans in particular, are suckers for redemption stories, and to many of them, Rodriguez's "admission" will do some good in terms of rehabilitating his preferred image as a flawed but basically good guy who made a mistake or two. Or three, or four.

It may have been forced, or contrived, or even calculated, but for many, the admission of wrongdoing is the first step toward redemption.

In that sense, this is a positive development for A-Rod as he attempts to reassemble the broken pieces of his career at age 40 after what will be a 19-month absence from the game by Opening Day 2015.

The revelation that Alex Rodriguez, at long last, told the truth accomplishes several goals: It provides closure to the Biogenesis chapter of his career -- OK, we all know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he did it -- and it pretty much renders pointless what was expected to be a gala event under the tent at George M. Steinbrenner Field in February, when those bloodthirsty media hordes would press him for his latest version of the truth about Anthony Bosch.

He's taken the bat out of our hands, and really, he's done himself no further damage in the eyes of anyone because, as I mentioned earlier, we all pretty much knew he did it anyway, didn't we?

And when he steps to the plate for the Yankees' home opener on April 6 -- provided he makes the team and comes through spring training unscathed -- he will come to bat as something he has not been considered in many years: an honest man.

It may not get him into the Hall of Fame, but it might get him into the soft spot reserved in the hearts of so many sports fans for guys who tell the truth, the way Pettitte did.

Alex Rodriguez may not have that many on-field accomplishments left in him, but he's already chalked up one off the field for 2015.