UPDATE: A-Rod confesses.
Not very often I find myself agreeing with Curt Schilling who had this to say on his latest blog entry:
"I'd be all for the 104 positives being named, and the game moving on if that is at all possible...In my opinion, if you don't do that, then the other 600-700 players are going to be guilty by association, forever...It appears that not only was it 104, but three of the greatest of our, or any, generation appear to be on top of this list."
The news of Alex Rodriguez' alleged steroid use in 2003 was met with a collective shrug around here (first report was hidden in a weekend DLD) which further illustrates that there isn't much left that shocks or surprises us. Or maybe it's just that our jadedness is surpassed only by our apathy.
Well, I care.
And let's not go there with the "there are bigger fish to fry than a bunch of doped up ballplayers" rhetoric. I mean, well, duh. But this is a baseball blog, and we should care about this issue. Baseball as a business is hardly in any trouble; fans continue to flock to stadiums in record numbers. But the black eye persists. Won't it be nice when we can refer to the Steroid Era in the past tense, rather than 19(whenever)-to-(current year)? What's the cut-off point anyway? Is it when the last Steroid Era player, dirty or otherwise, retires? How will we know?
I care that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids, after telling Katie Couric in 2007 that he was never even tempted to use:
"I've never felt overmatched on the baseball field...I didn't have a problem competing on any level."
Why do players do this? Why wag a finger and defiantly state your innocence when chances are the facts will
surface leak eventually? Karma might be patient but it isn't biased.
I care that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids because now we have to hear how he's ruined baseball; how the future (home run) king is as "tainted" as the one who currently wears the crown. What? First of all, in an era where players are guilty by association, why would A-Rod be presumed innocent? Because he looked in the eyes of Couric and didn't blink? (Though his lip does twitch after the first denial). Were we that desperate to have the home-run record held by a "non-cheater" that we thrust Rodriguez to the front of the line to "save" us? Now what do we do? Who do we hang our hat on? Don't tell me it's Pujos. What are those lyrics by The Who?
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
I care that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids. Maybe not for the same reason Jayson Stark does (gawd, as if ESPN really needed another excuse to talk and write about anything Yankee):
He was a special player, with a special gift -- and an even more special opportunity: He was the man with the opportunity to reconnect baseball's once-indelible dotted line between past and present, between great-grandsons and great-grandfathers, between his home plate and your hometown.
Hey, I'm a nostalgic-kind-of-dude, but geez, that's a little too much syrup, even for my pancakes.
I care that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids because thanks to this latest news, steroids are still news six years after the testing took place.
Baseball needs no savior from steroids; there are so few saviors left anyway, except baseball itself. And steroids need to be no one's concern but baseball's. So with Spring Training on the horizon, it is time for baseball to wipe the slate clean; to wash the yolk off its own face. Tell the Feds and Congress you'll take it from here. Don't sit and wait for the "other 103" to step forward and confess, and even more importantly, don't let your biggest stars continue to make fools of themselves by proclaiming their "innocence". No more leaks. Get it all out in the open. Lay down the law, however late, and hand out your sentences. Don't look back. Admit your mistakes, and then learn from them. Let's move on, once and for all. It's high time the post-Steroid Era begins.
And let's face it; you're a lot more attractive without the Tony Conigliaro impression.