Barry Bonds. Roger Clemens. Andy Pettite. Jason Giambi. Mark McGwire. Miguel Tejada. Sammy Sosa. Rafael Palmeiro. What do those guys all have in common? They were all arguably Hall of Famers, who were great baseball players, who made some bad decisions, and now will never be viewed the same. But when steroids are involved, weird terms are always expected. Brian Roberts admitted to taking them, he hit .296 last year, and all seems to be forgotten. Rick Ankiel supposedely took them, he hit 25 home runs last year, and his story is what gets the attention. Guys like Gary Matthews Jr. and Troy Glaus were mentioned in the Mitchell Report, and although they haven't admitted to taking steroids, more information could be forthcoming. A list of guys mentioned in the Mitchell Report from ESPN can be read.
What does Alex Rodriguez have in common with them? Until today, it was essentially nothing. He was the anti-Barry. He was the guy who would break the home run record, and do it cleanly. He would make the accomplishments of Bonds irrelevant, because he was going to do it better. And clean. Some people speculated that he was using performance-enhancing drugs, but in a sense, it couldn't be believed. A-Rod was something good about baseball, something that needed to stay that way.
He wasn't perfect, but nobody is. He had a bad attitude, so what? Bonds was a jerk. He made too much moeny, who cares? Bonds made way too much money. He had an affair, got divorced, and was rumored with Madonna, point being? Bonds did all of that, and much more, just without a celebrity. And now, as we all look back, it suddenly can dawn that, 'Hey, A-Rod really wasn't perfect'.
Of course, with this coming out, some key questions need to be asked. Why is this only leaked now? If it happened five years ago, shouldn't people have known about it, say, earlier? Like, say, when the Mitchell Report came out? How long had he really been using steroids? Did he use them for an injury, or was it to help enhance his swing?
Of course, as it is coming out now, everyone is taken back. But we also have to realize that he was "one of 104 players" who used steroids, supposedely. So, who else did it? Jim Thome? Manny Ramirez? David Ortiz? Ryan Howard? Personally, I don't believe that any of those guys did it. Yet now? I have no idea what to think. The backfall of accuastions in baseball, was always that A-Rod was the best player, and he didn't use them, so there is a possibility for hope.
If he did use them, when did he stop using them? How much did it really affect his career? Let's take a look at his stats since 2003, and look at the differences, since he most likely wasn't using steroids every year.
2003- .296 average, 181 hits, 47 home runs, 118 RBI's
2004- .286 average, 172 hits, 36 home runs, 106 RBI's
2005- .321 average, 194 hits, 48 home runs, 130 RBI's
2006- .290 average, 166 hits, 35 home runs, 125 RBI's
2007- .314 average, 183 hits, 54 home runs, 156 RBI's
2008- .302 average, 154 hits, 35 home runs, 103 RBI's
So looking at his stats, how much was he really affected by steroids? They look pretty similar year-by-year, and if someone was to take a guess of when he took them, they would most likely say 2007. But it seems impossible that he could have taken them in 2007, with all of the testing going on. It seems that every other year, his power numbers tend to go down, but that would say that he's taking steroids every two years, which would make things crazy. So it is plausible to say that if he took the one time, he continued to take them. Or that he stopped after doing it once.
Or could he have? I mean, if the reports from around six years ago came out today, who is to say what could or couldn't have happened two years ago? This is mostly speculation, but with everything going on, is this just the tip of the iceberg?
A pitcure tells 1,000 words, so here is the transformation of Rodriguez in Seattle, Texas, and New York. There are some obvious differences, but it's not like the transformation of Bonds.
Of course though, in the continuing trend of baseball players getting caught and admitting their mistakes if they aren't named, uh, Clemens or Bonds, A-Rod was remorseful. He seemed to admit his mistakes, give an honest apology, and tried to go on with his baseball career. But did he do that?
"When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high-level every day"
Well, now it all makes sense! When someone is facing pressure, they shouldn't feel the need to fight the pain/pressure, realize what they can do, and make the best of it. They should just find an easy way out. But honestly, this isn't all that surprising. Pressure in baseball is a full count in the bottom of the ninth, when you need a hit. This is when guys like Justin Morneau, Albert Pujols or Carlos Delgado make something happen. This is also the time when A-Rod strikes out to end the game.
But this leaves a ton of doubt in my mind as to that he stopped taking them before he got to New York. He was under pressure, so he had to take them? Playing in Texas for a last place team, he needed them, but now when he went to a playoff team, the pressure was gone? Playing in Arlington, Texas, he needed them, but going to the media capital of the world, he didn't? Playing for a team that hasn't won a playoff game in a long time, he needed them, but going to the most storied franchise in the world, he didn't? Getting the richest contract ever, he needed them, but getting an even bigger one, he didn't?
"Again, it's pretty much a loosey-goosey era"
Lol. I never thought I'd be responding to Alex Rodriguez with 'lol', but with a response like this, what do you want me to say? Everyone was killing people, judge! Who cares if I did it, too? It was a loosey-goosey time!
"I felt like I needed something, a push, without over-investigating what I was taking, to get me to the next level"
Yet another quote the makes perfect sense. This is basically saying 'I didn't know what I was taking', and making it sound fancier, and more well-worded, so as to discourage people from jumping all over him for not knowing what he was taking. Seriously?
You are the best player in your sport. You are most likely a future Hall of Famer. You could be one of the all-time greats. You are in a position millions of people could only dream about. And you are going to put your career, your profession, and your legacy on hold to not find out what it is you're illegally taking?
"I wasn't even being truthful with myself. How was I going to be truthful with Katie or CBS?"
See, this is where the part about maturing immensly comes in. If you are so much more mature now then you were back in Texas, why did you lie in a national interview, seen by millions, and basically say that people were out to get you?
Barry Bonds and Miguel Tejada weren't honest with themselves, and now what? Ding ding ding, perjury! Possible jail time! You better feel lucky, Mr. Rodriguez, because what if be some sort of public-relations ploy, you had testified for congress? To show that the best is clean, what would have happened?
You supposedely were alerted that you did in fact test positive for them, were alerted of this, and still denied it. Is that stupidity? No; it's a feeling that you are above everyone else, something that everyone experiences once in their lifetime. And for this, I don't necesserily blame you. But now, the time's up, you've been caught. You've been discoered. You've been discredited.
Maybe Alex Rodriguez is getting what he deserves, after all.
"If you're a fan of Major League Baseball, I think it tarnishes an entire era, to some degree" said President Barack Obama.
I agree with this satement, but the next most talked-about statement from the political perspective, I disagree with.
"It would be good perhaps to sit down and talk with him. I think that he would want to cooperate with us so that Congress would have the information it may need" said Representative Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland.
Please, Congress, don't spend six months investigating baseball! I love baseball, but don't do it! We've got millions of people jobless, numerous more homeless, and many more struggling to make ends meet. We've got a war going on in Iraq, and a genocide going on in Sudan. Baseball is fun, but it's a sport. Nobody dies when the Yankees lose.
Perhaps Jose Canseco said it best:
"This is a 25 year cover-up. The true criminals are Gene Orza, Donald Fehr and Bud Selig. Investigate them, and you will have all the answers".
Canseco came out with a bunch of information, and everyone said he lied. Well, he was telling the truth. He came out with more information, and everyone said he lied. Again, he was telling the truth. If he said that the Athletics are run by aliens, I bet someonwe would believe it. So if he is in fact telling the truth, shouldn't he be listened to?
Everyone makes mistakes. I'm not going to defend Alex Rodriguez. I'm not going to defend Bud Selig. I'm not going to defend Major League Baseball. Will the MLB record book forever be tainted? Or is a new superstar going to come along, and break the home run record? If he does, we've made sure that steroid speculation will be present.
Saturday, February 7th, 2009. The Day that Baseball Died?