Sunday, February 8, 2009

What the A-Rod steroid saga means for baseball

The A-Roid scandal will have repercussions far beyond Alex Rodriguez. Here are a few of them:

* You can't assume anybody in baseball is clean. Anybody. I thought Alex was steroid-free for several reasons, most notably because I figured that given what a lightning rod he is, somebody would have snitched on him before now. And while Jose Canseco turned out to be right, his shifty story about "Max" the dealer, and the fact that Canseco didn't put the A-Rod stuff in his first book, made him look less than credible. It also seemed that if Alex were dirty, it would have come out then - or during his divorce battle. So much for that thinking.

* The Yankees are stuck with an albatross of a contract - 9 more years, $240-$270 million more dollars - which was based on a phony premise - that A-Rod was going to be the player who cleanly broke Bonds' all-time home run record. That's the only reason that ridiculous money made sense, given that no other team came close to going after A-Rod this time around. So much for that.

Then again, I can't really feel sorry for the Yankees on this. Remember, last winter Hank Steinbrenner claimed that A-Rod would have to give them a discount since the Bombers lost the Texas Rangers' $25+ million subsidy when he opted out? It never happened. And not only that, but given the Jason Giambi saga, the Yanks should have at least tried to put something in A-Rod's contract about performance-enhancing drugs, but apparently they didn't.

* What about the 103 other players who tested positive for steroids in 2003? Do Sports Illustrated writers Selena Roberts and David Epstein know their names? And if they do, why aren't they writing about them?

In his 38 Pitches blog, Curt Schilling says he would be "all for the 104 positives being named, and the game moving on if that is at all possible." The pitcher/blogger writes "in my opinion, if you don’t do that, then the other 600-700 players are going to be guilty by association, forever."

That is true, but it is also true that the other players can't be proven clean just by not being one of those 104 players with positive 2003 test results. Remember, every single one of these knew that they were going to be tested that spring, and they had time to prepare their bodies to test clean. Yet over 100 of them still failed.

* Which brings me to my next point: The only big star who failed a steroids test since the testing program went into effect was Rafael Palmeiro, not long after his sanctimonous Congressional testimony saying he never used steroids. And, as I wrote yesterday, A-Rod, among other players, were reportedly tipped off by Gene Orza of the players' union in the fall of 2004 about an upcoming test.

So, you have to wonder if the reason that there haven't been bigger names failing these tests is because MLB is protecting its superstars. And even if they aren't being tipped off, is it possible that the biggest players are able to afford better performance-enhancing drugs that don't show up in drug tests? Or that they're using human growth hormone, which is undetectable?

* The era of players bragging about their workout regimen has to be over. Think about it. Who told us over and over about how hard they worked at keeping their bodies in shape? They were people like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and his good buddy Andy Pettitte, and Alex Rodriguez.

Come to think of it, in the music world, A-Rod's "soulmate," Madonna, is said to work out an incredible four hours a day. Just look at those arms! Hmmm.

I guess we'll never hear another player brag about working out while other players are taking their kids to school!

What do you think? Leave us a comment!


Anonymous said...

What does it mean? It means that no one escapes suspicion anymore. It also means that a lot of players are raging narcissists that would've done anything for an edge over anyone else.

It means that A-Rod is not alone. Not by thousands of miles. It means that from around 1985 to The Mitchell Report, any team that was dominant and won the WS may very well have had a a team stocked with juiced players.

Over time this shall reveal itself, although to be honest it's getting old.

Anonymous said...

Emperor, you have hit the arod isn't alone theme on just about every post since the news came out. does it make it easier for you to believe that?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm done talking about this. Whatever I felt I needed to say has been said enough times.

You ask if it makes it any easier for me to believe that? To tell you the truth - at this point I really don't give a damn.

Anonymous said...

no need to get upset emperor. the season starts soon enough, and then nobody will really care about all this crap anyway. except for the fans in the parks that the yankees visit, who will probably give it to him pretty good. but it won't matter as long as he, and the yankees, are playing well. chin up, it's almost go time!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, KM - I'm not upset, I'm cool. You're right, five days until Pitchers & Catchers. Once the season starts and rolls on most of this will seem really trivial.

And it is when we think about it. I mean, sure it's upsetting, but in the end is it really changing the courses of our own lives?

Just baseball stuff. :-)

Billy said...

Most ballplayers today are taking homeopathic growth hormone oral spray because it's safe, undetectable, and legal for over the counter sales. As time goes on it seems it might be considered as benign a performance enhancer as coffee, aspirin, chewing tobacco, and bubble gum.

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