Alex Rodriguez is sorry. Again. We think.
After a year away from the game due to a 162-game PED suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, Rodriguez is set to return to the Yankees this spring in what is sure to be one of the craziest media circuses in recent memory.
In a hand-written letter to the fans on Tuesday, A-Rod apologized for everything and also opted to forego his mea culpa press conference at Yankee Stadium.
"I take full responsibility for the mistakes that led to my suspension for the 2014 season," Rodriguez said in the letter. "I regret that my actions made the situation worse than it needed to be. To Major League Baseball, the Yankees, the Steinbrenner family, the Players Association and you, the fans, I can only say I'm sorry.
"I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why and that's on me. It was gracious of the Yankees to offer me the use of Yankee Stadium for this apology but I decided the next time I am in Yankee Stadium, I should be in pinstripes doing my job."
And that's the way it should be.
The Yankees weren't forcing A-Rod to hold his own in front of the media -- that's why they didn't plan anything for him when he arrives at the team's complex in Tampa, and instead give him the opportunity to do it in New York, on his say.
T truth is the press conference wouldn't have solved anything. As he said in the letter, nothing he says will fix things in the minds of Yankees fans. He could stand at a podium, say things about his past and that he's never going to do it again, and that won't matter to most.
Wherever he goes the questions will come up. His teammates will still be asked about it. The coaches will still be asked about it.
At this point, the only thing that A-Rod can do it take the field and earn his roster spot like the 60-some other guys that will be out there at the Yankees' spring training complex over the next month and a half. For Yankees fans, the only way for A-Rod to apologize is to come back, drug free, and just play -- play well, of course.
Hand-written letters won't make this go away -- his legacy is already tarnished, and this will never go away. But he has a golden opportunity to put it all behind him this spring.
The challenge facing him is big. Bigger than anyone could dream to be in. At 39-years-old, with two-hip surgeries on his record, and having been away from the game for an entire year, Rodriguez is attempting to play baseball at the highest level on a team that wants nothing more than to win a championship this season.
Rodriguez, whose historic postseason helped the Bombers capture their last title in 2009, might be up the task, but that doesn't make things easier.
A-Rod can write all of the letters he wants. He can hold all of the press conferences he wants. But only one thing will make people forget: just go out an play, Alex. The rest will take care of itself.