a 2008 NY Yankees: A-Rod: Juiced?
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A-Rod's name brought up in steroid accusations


So if we’re to believe Sports Illustrated and their four on-the-record sources, Alex Rodriguez is now among some heavy company as a steroid user. There shouldn’t be any question on the validity of SI’s report. Four sources is a lot of people saying the same thing. Most television and newspaper outlets will run stories with only one source, maybe two if they have the time. So that being said, take the story as you will. Some people still don’t believe we landed on the moon.

Assuming the report is true and A-Rod (I’m calling dibs on A-Roid as his new nickname, or Ster-Rod) tested positive for banned substances during his 2003 MVP campaign for the Texas Rangers, this turns baseball on its head.

New York Yankees hats A-Rod was MLB’s poster boy for the clean superstar. Throughout Barry Bonds’ chase of Hank Aaron’s Home Run record, fans and the media took only a modicum of interest. Found guilty in the court of public opinion, Bonds was shrugged off as everyone said “It doesn’t matter even if he does get it, because A-Rod is going to break his record anyway and we’ll have a clean player on top.” Whoops.

What baffles with A-Rod is that he didn’t need steroids. He was already one of baseball’s best players. He has natural skill and talent that doesn’t require enhancement by drugs. Of every person named as an alleged steroid user, his hurts the most.

Take a look at this list of active or recently retired players who are at or one away from 500 career home runs (courtesy of Pete Abraham’s blog at http://yankees.lhblogs.com/):

Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Gary Sheffield (499), Ken Griffey Jr., Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, and Frank Thomas.

All but the last four have been accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs. This scandal is just another example of how the Steroid Era will be remembered not for the records but how they were attained.

What about those men on the list? One of them could be going to jail in the coming months. Another is in a self-imposed exile. Another plays third base for the largest sports franchise in the world.

The Yankees were moving away from the steroid image (see Tim Gaffney’s now ironic column on the front page of this fine site). Things were looking up and the biggest issue they were going to have to deal with this season was fans ripping on them for spending money, which isn’t anything they haven’t heard before in the Bronx.

Now A-Rod will be getting the Bonds treatment. The team is going to have to deal with pictures of syringes, cries of “Cheater!” and probably illicit comments about the quality of how A-Rod was raised all season. Reporters won’t let this die. On the day of game 162 someone will ask about this scandal and for the umpteenth time someone on the Yankees will answer with the same remark that they will on the first day of Spring Training.

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The only bright side for the Yankees is that this all happened when he was with the Rangers. Mandatory drug testing became MLB official policy in June 2004, A-Rod’s first season with the Yankees. With that said, we can assume that A-Rod has been clean for his career in Pinstripes (including another MVP season.) That will go a long way to cool off Yankees fans. They’ve seen enough steroid talk involving their clubhouse over the past few years.

My advice to A-Rod (because he’s an avid reader) is this: take a lesson from your former teammates. You got caught. You lied. We all know this now. Just come clean and admit it. Jason Giambi apologized, grew a kick-ass mustache and left New York as a popular guy. Andy Pettitte apologized, had a pretty good year before his injury and when he retires will be one of the most beloved pitchers in team history. Roger Clemens denied, did a dog-and-pony show around Congress, denied, sued a guy, denied and killed any chance he had of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

We’re a country willing and eager to forgive. Don’t drag this out. If it’s true then call a press conference, be sorry, apologize to every fan of baseball all over the world, tell us why you did it and then promise it hasn’t happened since and will never happen again. You’ll take heat, sure, but people will respect you more in the end.

Just get used to being called A-Roid.


By: AJ Paiotti
DFN Sports Staff Writer


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