defending a-rod

February 10, 2009 ·



alex rodriguez came clean yesterday on the allegations of steroid use. the right move for a bad decision. but does it matter? can he ever escape this? is his career tarnished forever?

i'll admit, when the mitchell report came out, or even before when bonds was under constant scrutiny for steroid use, i thought a-rod was exempt. i felt that he was one player who was above performance enhancing drugs. he's a pure talent, and still is. i guess jose canseco got it right a while back when he implicated rodriguez, but there was no evidence and no further scrutiny. i dismissed that as just more of canseco's wild accusations to cling to what little fame he had left. sorry i doubted you jose. you gave me no reason to, ever.

i'm in the camp to say that 3 years of performance enhancing drug use does not tarnish rodriguez's career. he is a natural talent. he was productive and a star before he took p.e.d.'s and was the same afterwards. look at his stats and he was just as productive prior to and after his steroid years. you could argue that without them he would have been just as effective. it's negligible. doesn't make it right that he took them, albeit under a cloud of non-policy by mlb, just that he shouldn't be forever villainized for his actions. if you want, when his career is done, wipe those 3 years from the record and he is still hall of fame worthy, and rightly considered one of the best ever.

the way rodriguez has played this out is that right way. he's admitting his actions, incurring the wrath, and seeking forgiveness from the court of public opinion. this is something no other player has done. not mcgwire, who refused to talk about it. not bonds, who says he never knowingly took them. not clemens or palmeiro who fervently deny it. he is trying to make it right. he's admitted fault, he's accepted his errors, and he will live with how he is going to be perceived. that shows a lot of strength of chracter. not just to come clean, but to have stopped using when he did.

i genuinely believe he is sorry for his actions and regrets them (some will say regret getting caught). he is human, and exercised poor judgement. rodriguez was sincere, and made himself accountable. he should be forgiven. if not forgiven, then not have his entire career diminished for it.

still there's three issues with all this which don't sit right with me.
1) not for public knowledge
the drug tests that led to this outing were supposed to be anonymous, sealed by court order. how did these test results get out, especially when the tests themselves and the players names were never supposed to be linked and lived in separate databases? i'm not trying to justify the actions of any of those 104 players, but they had a right to have this information protected.

the point is, steroid use was rampant and mlb was trying to stop it. the testing survey was done to gauge just how pervasive it is in order to establish rules and disciplinary actions. it was accepted practice and rodriguez, along with scores of others, were part of it because no rules were in place to govern it. good judgement and morality aside, that was the era these players were in and it was common practice. with all the influences (manager, trainers, owners, agents, etc) it was not hard to play the game.

the effect all this is having is to sling more shit at baseball and generally increase the ire around the sport. i don't think that's needed. mlb needs to reconcile with it's fans and people in general and this is a step backwards form that. i'm not saying brush it under the carpet, but the lessons have been learned, the course is correcting, let's move forward.

2) the faultless mlb
mlb has, and rightly so, only been praised for cleaning up the sport, while not being accountable or admonished for their role in the 'steroid era.' it was their inaction, non-policy, and general state of denial that led to an atmosphere where performance enhancing drugs were able to be as epidemic as they were. don't just tear the players down when you can't look in the mirror and accept your role in this situation, mlb. they too easily throw their players, their product mind you, under the bus while throwing their hands up and saying 'don't look at me.'

3 comments:

Ty Cobb said...
February 16, 2009 at 9:06 AM  

'but they had a right to have this information protected.'

No, they don't have a 'right' - that was negotiated and was the only way the players would agree to testing in the first place (great work, players union - must always look after the membership and not the greater good of the game).

The fans should come first and have the right to know who tested positive and who didn't. This era is already marked with an asterisk, and the players that used should be exposed in the media spotlight accordingly.

night terror said...
February 16, 2009 at 10:08 PM  

it's a bit of a dupe to say that it is anonymous and then release it. there's no honor in that. to which you will reply "there is no honor in taking steroids." agreed on that point, but these efforts were not to out cheaters per se, rather to analyze the situation with aims of improving it for the future and ensuring cheating doesn't happen. so this was all for the greater good, but in a way that moves us from accusations to solutions.

this seems like a specific witch-hunt. because why would only a-rod's name have come out in this latest round? what about the other 103 positive testers? their names should have come out as well.

Bill 'spaceman' Lee said...
February 18, 2009 at 8:22 PM  

'it's a bit of a dupe to say that it is anonymous and then release it. there's no honor in that.'

I agree - that's why I would have never agreed to keep the results of the tests anonymous (if I was Dud Selig, of course). I would have promised no punishment, but I certainly wouldn't have shielded the players from their actions. You truly want to start over - identify the players that tested positive (no accusations, just positive tests)...and move on.

As for it being a witch hunt, well, of course it is.

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