America’s highest paid baseball player, Alex Rodriguez, will play under a cloud created by his admission that he used illegal human growth hormones from 2001-2003.

A-Rod said so during an interview with ESPN’s Peter Gammons in February (above, left) that was arranged after Sports Illustrated forced his hand by reporting Rodriguez appears on a list of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. A-Rod’s entourage did the right thing PR-wise by quickly setting up the ESPN interview.

The PR problem came later, when Mr. Rodriguez’s employer, the NY Yankees, scheduled its own press conference. If the ESPN interview was a Faxies-worthy job of PR & marketing—Rodriguez was seated in front of a fireplace, wearing an innocent-looking baby blue sweater—the presser was the opposite. A-Rod said he didn’t know what he was taking and that his cousin, unnamed, supplied him with steroids and Primobolan, or Boli. Naturally, he was vilified in the press.

It didn’t have to be this way. PR & marketing could have helped. The Yankees’ press conference was a spartan affair held outside their spring training complex, in a tent. There were no refreshments or giveaways. “Wrong, wrong, wrong,” said event planner Chuck Klein when we asked.

So, how would cable’s unofficial party-meister have handled it? “First, it should have been an event,” Klein said, preceded by a happy hour in a hotel ballroom. “And the place would’ve been decorated in an island motif. Lots of straw.” (The Boli that A-Rod tested positive for came from the Dominican Republic.)

“An open bar would have served Dominican beer and tropical punch,” Klein said. “Waitresses in island costume would have been passing fried plantains, rock lobster and mahi-mahi, all popular Dominican foods.” Reggae music? “Oh, yes,” Klein said.

Before leaving, reporters would have received gift bags that included vials of faux Boli and special copies of the book Steroids for Dummies, autographed by A-Rod. On page 6, you’ll find a tribute to our founder and mentor Paul Maxwell and a celebration of CableFAX’s 20th anniversary. Paul’s contributions to cable and to our staff are too numerous to mention here. Our best wishes to him.  Speaking of Paul, he was just a pup when WICT started, 30 years ago. To honor WICT, we profile 30 women in a special section, starting on page 35. As is our tradition, we end with a roundtable. It examines WICT’s past, present and future.


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