Byrd pregame interview
Indians pitcher says he's not a cheater, has nothing to hide
PAUL BYRD: I want to say something real quick. Today is not the focus. Today should not -- my medical history should not be the focus of today. Today, Sunday, this is Game 7. We are trying to get to a World Series. So first let me say that. I'm a little disappointed with the timing of this. This story could have been brought out a few days ago. I had nothing to hide, said I had no comment, go ahead and run it. I'm a little disappointed with the timing right now. I don't want this to affect my team when we take the field and play tonight. I've had a talk with with my teammates. They understand where I'm coming from. It was a very good talk. So I'm going to say a few things, I'm going to get it over with. I'll take a few questions, but then everything else is going to be about the game from here on out.
I will make myself available sometime in the near future to answer more detailed questions.
In short, I have never taken any hormone or any drug that was not prescribed to me by a doctor, and that is the key to this. I have a reputation. I speak at different places, I speak to kids, I speak to churches. I do not want the fans of Cleveland, I do not want honest, caring people to think that I cheated because I didn't. That is very important for me. That is first and foremost above anything else.
I do understand that there is going to be people around that it doesn't matter what you say, they're going to take a negative viewpoint, and that's going to be it. But I say that with complete confidence. I have never taken anything apart from a prescription. And another thing that's important is I did not try to hide anything. I purchased things with my credit card on my name, things came to clubhouses of teams that I played on. I've taken blood tests set up by a team in different towns. Everything has been done out in the open.
I have actually had shipments come to clubhouses and have actually for a small period of time stored them in the refrigerator in the clubhouses, so I feel like that is very -- makes things very legitimate on my intentions and things from my end.
That being said, I also understand that when you make a lot of money, and some people have abused the privilege of being able to perform at this level properly, I understand that that comes with some scrutiny. I understand that it can be a fish bowl up here. So I do -- I am sensitive to that fact. I do know that I'm very blessed to be able to take the field.
I've also made comments, and this is things that I've talked about. I have a book coming out next year. This is not a promo for my book. But I do talk about this in the book, where I have had temptations to cheat. I have been asked by people, by pitching coaches, here's how you scuff a ball, here's how you put saliva on a ball, and I talk about that in the book. I also talked about the fact that I was prescribed a hormone, that I did inject it and I did have the temptation to take more of it than what was prescribed so my fastball would reach into the 90s on a consistent basis.
I never succumbed to any of these temptations, I never took any more than what was prescribed to me. I was trying to think of a way I could prove that to people. I don't know that there is, other than to say that you could ask different scouts and see if there was ever a period of time where I showed an increase in strength or increase in anything. I didn't.
My fastball has always stayed the same. I have never done anything that's disrespected the game, and I think that's important to bring out to people that care about this situation. You know, again, I'm disappointed with the timing.
I talked to my wife Kim today on the phone, and she said, the saddest thing about this is there's so much coverage about you and there's really not that much coverage about the game. I was disappointed with that. I talked to my teammates about that. But they understand the situation, and we respect each other. These guys have worked way too hard to let something like this distract them at the last minute, and I'm not real happy about that.
I have time for a few quick questions, but I'm actually available to pitch tonight. I am pretty rested, and I will be down in the pen tonight, so I'm clearing my head of this and I'm focusing on Game 7. My teammates are doing the same thing. So I'll be down in the pen tonight, so please be respectful that I'm trying to help you guys out on a day when I'm pitching.
I'm not trying to do something private in the corner. I want everybody to hear what I have to say. Everybody gets to write their story and everybody gets to take what I say and put that in their story as to what they feel is important.
But after these few questions I am done with this because I have to pitch.
Are you still (Inaudible)?
PAUL BYRD: I don't know if it's deliberate or coincidental; I can't make that call. I just know that it could have come out sooner and it didn't.
Are you taking the stuff for your --
PAUL BYRD: That's a private matter right now with me. I do still have a pituitary issue.
Most people once they start they have to take it their whole lives.
PAUL BYRD: Correct, but one of the things that I am dealing with that I made known to Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports, Sam Alipour, is that I have a pituitary tumor. I don't know exactly what that means yet. I'm still learning about that. It's something that I will have to get tested for a while now, and that changes a lot of things for me.
That has come into the picture. I don't want to give dates and times, but that has come into the picture later. All I can tell you is that from the doctors that I saw, I had very low readings and was prescribed a dose.
I don't know what the future holds for me other than that I am going to get tested. I'm very happy that I've been working with Major League Baseball. I think that's another thing that shows that I haven't tried to do anything behind anybody's back, and again, I think that the doctor that I'm working with now I'm very happy, the endocrinologist.
Why did you pick that pharmacy that happens to be tainted --
PAUL BYRD: Again, that's a question I'll probably go into later. If that pharmacy -- and I have to use these words, if that pharmacy did something wrong, I did not know about it, and I never received anything in a shipment that wasn't prescribed to me. And I think that's also important to note that from my end, nothing was ever done. I never received anything in the mail that wasn't prescribed to me by a doctor.
When was the tumor found?
PAUL BYRD: Well, again, it's a time sensitive issue that I feel like I need to -- let's just say in the recent past I found that out.
Something can be prescribed but it can still be done -- you can still circumvent the process?
PAUL BYRD: Something can be prescribed and you can still abuse. That's true with anti inflammatories, that's true with any sort of drug. You can abuse any sort of drug that is prescribed. I'm well aware of that and I was trying to think of a way to justify myself. I don't know if I need to stand here and explain myself over and over again. All I can say is that I didn't start to throw the ball a lot harder, I didn't start to -- it didn't affect me in the sense of performance on the field. I was taking it for my well being and for general life circumstances that were made known to me.
But again, I certainly do understand how that can be perceived, as well, how are we sure he did or didn't abuse it. So I understand that's going to be part of it. But you know, like I say, that just comes with the territory, and I'm sure no matter what I say, there's going to be people out there that it won't be acceptable for them.
For those who really do care -- and another thing, I don't want to come to a stadium and kids not want my autograph. I don't want to show up at a stadium and people think that I cheated. You know, I love this game. I respect this game. I've loved it since I was a little boy. I've always wanted to be in the World Series, and I'm one game away from that, and now I'm dealing with my medical history on a night when I should be talking about Jake Westbrook and the Cleveland Indians. So there's a little bit of disappointment in that for me.
But at the same time I'm going to put this behind me. We're going to go have a little chat about baseball in the bullpen. I'm in the pen tonight, I'm excited about that, and I'm looking forward to -- if I can help out in the game, but I'm hoping Jake Westbrook throws a shutout and we don't need anybody, and I'm hoping we're celebrating afterwards enjoying the moment, and then in a few days I certainly don't mind answering some questions once some of the smoke clears and we get a few things figured out on what's appropriate to say.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.