Waiting for the Other Shoe

Was I shocked Saturday morning when I saw the news crawl on ESPN?  Not really.  I’m not shocked by  steroid news anymore.  Alex Rodriguez has done steroids.  Baseball’s golden icon is forever tarnished.  Not only does this put a black stain on all his accomplishments, but all of baseball is in trouble.

A-Rod was supposed to be the ray of light that was going to lead baseball through and past this

What Now?

What Now?

ugly era of doping, lies, and congressional hearings.  Baseball was just starting to turn a corner.  The MLB Network is a huge success.  Attendance is growing at record levels.  Players are “clean.”  The drug policy is the toughest in all of sports.  Now this happens.  The biggest star on the biggest team in the biggest market is a liar and a cheat.

I coulda wrote about this on Saturday.  I wanted to but I felt I’d give it a couple days before I commented.  Let me get this out of the way.  I hate the fact that these drugs have ruined my sport.  I, along with millions of others were caught up in the hype during the Summer of ’98.  Even after the fallout, it is easy to point to that stretch of months for saving baseball in this country and steroids had a major role.  Baseball let it slide for a long time and finally enough was enough and they did the right thing.  Lets be realistic though, if baseball was still struggling, lets say like hockey, it would be foolish to think that there would be a drug policy.  MLB was playing with house money when they re-did their policy and lucky for them, it payed off.  It now has a game it can be proud of.  A game where 5’7″ gap hitting second baseman can win MVP’s and crafty re-buiilt lefties can win the Cy Young.

This though, hurts all of baseball.  Not just A-Rod and the Yankees, but every player and every team.  If the most talented player ever to play the game feels the need to juice, where does it stop?  He is only 1 of 104 players to be tested.  Why his name and no one else?  Because he is the biggest star(no pun intended) and a huge lightning rod.  One would be foolish not to think that players from their favorite team are on the list.  That’s why I am not reveling in this news.  It is disappointing.  No joy in Mudville over this.

So what can be done to curb this.  Well, hopefully with the strict minor league policy and this new MLB policy, the end is near.  But with salaries rising and demand for production booming, the stress on the players grows.  Some may feel the need to always be better then the next.  If that is the case, science will always be one step ahead of any testing out there.  I mean if A-Rod felt the need, what is going to stop a young, middle-of-the-road player from seeing the immediate results that ‘roids bears  and wanting a better life for him and his family.  The culture and laws can change all they want, but the lure of a huge payday will always have a bigger pull, and if the production is there, teams will always look the other way.

This is why I fear for the sport.  Enthusiasts like me cherish the numbers.  More then any other sport, baseball lives of it’s history.  While football and basketball are result and team driven, baseball is an individual sport played within a team concept.  Ask anyone on the street what these numbers mean:  56, .406, 511, 61, 70, 755, 715 and more often than not they’ll tell you what records they stood for or what players accomplished them.   Baseball’s backbone is statistics and records.  If those are tarnished, where does stability for the sport come from.

So before you rip on the man, or the Yankees, or a friend who has an A-Rod jersey, just think of how big this is.  If you are a true baseball junkie like myself, this news brings nothing but sadness.  Not for A-Rod and the Yankees(I’ll still boo them religiously and needle A-Rod) but for the sport in general.  Lets hope with the dawning of a new season, through the World Baseball Classic, the opening of the two gems in New York, and into another great season and post-season that America’s Pastime will survive.  James Earl Jones put it perfectly in Field of Dreams:

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again.

Lets hope he is right.

Now for A-Rod.  Just admit what you did.  Apologize to the fans, team, sport for making a collasal bone-headed mistake.  Reassure everyone that you haven’t done it since(if that is even true) and will take tests to prove that.  Apologize for lying on national TV about steroids.  Show some humility, show some emotion.  Show that you are human.  People want to forgive, so let us.  Take questions for an hour about the topic and that is it.  Give the media that access ad answer everyone of the questions truthfully.  End this now.  Don’t let this drag out.  You are alreday going to get booed and harrassed at Yankee Stadium and Fenway, but if you stop the bleeding now, the healing can start.  So for your sake and the sake of your sport, please admit and move on.

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3 Responses to “Waiting for the Other Shoe”

  1. Jay's Mom Says:

    Good points

  2. as a fan, i would like to know the names of the other 103 players who tested positive. i still have heroes in the game and i would like to know if they did it the right way. its easy to say that all numbers are tainted for that 6-8 year period and there is certainly enough blame to go around, but i still like to give players the benefit of the doubt until there is proof otherwise.

    • I think they have to release the entire list now. Only fair. No reason A-Rod needs t go through this alone. Interesting little look see, check out the rosters for the 2001-03 Rangers. They are littered with potential users.

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