ARod only extends steroid era


This would only be sad if it were a shocking revelation. If somehow, Alex Rodriguez’s steroid use was the tipping point, the moment we all realized that performance-enhancing drugs had destroyed an entire period in baseball. But we’re way beyond that now. The damage was done long ago. The problem with ARod is that he not only adds to the wreckage of these tainted times; he also extends the era.

If the Sports Illustrated report, which cites four independent sources, is true, it guarantees that we will be discussing the men who cheated the game for at least as long as Rodriguez continues to chip away at the already-blemished records of Barry Bonds.

While we all recognize that steroid use went far beyond a select few, we generally hold four of the era’s greatest players more accountable than everyone else –Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. None of those four were on a Major League team last season it appears unlikely any will ever play again.

The talk was fading. The key culprits were out of the game and we were looking at the next generation of great ballplayers to clean up the sport. Now ARod will keep steroids fresh on our minds into the next decade.

As great as he has been, we forget that Rodriguez still has a long way to go before he reaches the record books. He might not get to 600 homeruns this season. He’s still over 100 away from reaching that first of four statistical bonuses in his contract that guarantee him $6 million when he ties Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds in homeruns. ARod has only just begun his assault on history.

So as we prepare for another Spring Training to begin, fresh with those young rising stars who are supposed to rescue baseball, we still have to look the cheaters right in the face, as opposed to just forgetting about them. We now have to watch former players fake being happy for Rodriguez as he shatters history, the same way they did with Bonds.

Rodriguez almost becomes the worst cheat of all. At least the four other key culprits were at the tail-end of their careers. The fifth is in his prime and still has so much more damage to cause.


Anonymous 4:20 PM, February 08, 2009  

I know I am in the minority here, but for some reason I just don't view taking steroids in the same light as on the field cheating. It's more of a gut feeling than something I can rationalize in words, so feel free to pick my views apart. I don't disagree that the record books are tainted by the likes of Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod, etc; but I don't discount what these players actually accomplished on the field. Falsifying a scorecard in golf is clearly are taking credit for something you did not accomplish. Every homerun Bonds hit was something he accomplished, every strikeout by Clemens was something he accomplished. Yes, steroids allowed these guys to become stronger, and play at a high level for much longer than they should have, but they still had to be naturally gifted and work their ass off to accomplish what they did. Other than the legality of the substances (which is obviously a whole other issue) I don't see how taking steroids is any more a form of cheating than enhancing your performance through a legal supplement regime. For that matter why are any supplements allowed at all? A supplement such as creatine, which is legal in MLB, improves an athlete's performance in the wieght room, therby making him stronger and faster...and presumable inflating his stats, yet it is not vilified in the same way steroids are. How is supplementing with creatine or any other legal performance enhancing substance and less a form of cheating than taking steroids? I believe the outrage is due to the so-called sanctity of the record books. People want to believe that if you take steroids out of the picture, Bonds' home run total would be more impressive than Aaron's, but since Bonds took steroids his total should not count. In other instances the same people clamor that you cannot compare eras because so much has changed in the game, and with athletes' performances in general. I agree that steroids make it impossible to label Bonds the homerun king, but at the same time players from Aaorn's era were much better conditioned through things like weight training than a guy like babe Ruth, so why should his home run total be considered more impressive than Ruth's? What I am trying to get at is I don't see A-Rod or any of the other guys as "cheaters" in the sense that I interpret the word. I believe that their numbers cannot be compared to those of past players, but I would say that for anyone trying to compare two players of any different eras. I just have a harder time labeling these players as "cheaters" than the mainstream media seems to.

Anonymous 6:58 PM, February 08, 2009  

i agree. they are using performance enhancers, but they still have to have amazing ability to put those numbers up

Anonymous 4:43 PM, February 19, 2009  

I know steroids have tainted the game, but I can't help it....I just love the game of baseball. I don't like when I hear people have been caught using or previously using, but let's face it, it was years ago for A-Rod. Yes he has not been overly forthcoming, but do you really expect him to be? A-Rod is A-Rod but steroids or not he is a tremendous talent. Do I buy the young and stupid/naive routine? Not really, but how many players have been sucked in? Lots. Are there still lots? Maybe, maybe not. They have testing in place now (finally) and sanctions (punishment) that goes along with it (although I am not sure if they are stringent enough). I just want to enjoy the game of baseball again. So test everyone in the game team by team. Keep on testing them. Get more in the collective bargaining agreement and let's get it all out there and then move on.

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