These players cheated baseball and they cheated themselves. Rodriguez had a choice to make and he made the wrong one. He knew exactly what he was doing even if he can’t recall the names of the substances he used from 2001 to 2003. For the rest of his life, his baseball image will be tainted. He and the others that cheated will always have in the back of their minds that they played the game on an uneven platform.
I feel sorry for Rodriguez, I really do. I feel sorry that a player of such overwhelming talent put himself in this situation. Rodriguez did right by admitting what he did. The punishment for him comes in the form of humiliation. He needs to surround himself with people who are understanding of his mistake because he’ll have plenty of others to deal with who are going to criticize him.
You can bet it will be a media circus when it comes to Rodriguez and the Yankees. But it won’t be anything new to most of the players in the New York clubhouse. It was just last year that a similar scenario occurred after Andy Pettitte went through an uneasy and uncomfortable spring training after admitting he had used human growth hormone in the past. But A-Rod is A-Rod, so what he will have to deal with will be on a much greater scale than what Pettitte encountered.
I expect the Yankee players to support Rodriguez. They will go about their own business and take care of themselves but they will also be hoping that somehow and in some way the Rodriguez-steroids saga eventually fades so they can fully concentrate on one thing – and that’s winning a World Series. Yankee players want this put to bed. They want it out of the clubhouse and they want to focus just on the games. But as much as they want that, they know they it won’t happen overnight. They know it might take a long time. That’s what they have to deal with, no getting around it.
Rodriguez did wrong, but why is his name the only one leaked? The names of the other 103 players who tested positive should also be made known. Baseball needs to try and bring closure to the steroid era so let the names of the guilty be revealed, let them face the media and fans and then baseball needs to move on.
Not only is it not fair that Rodriguez has to face the music alone, but it’s also not fair to the players who tested clean in 2003 to be under suspicion simply because anonymity is being given to those who failed the test. The steroid era tainted baseball, and I, for one, want to know which players are guilty and which did not give in to the temptation to sully the game or themselves. The hundreds of players who did not use performance enhancing drugs in 2003 deserve to have their names cleared.
The past keeps coming up in baseball as far as steroid use is concerned. And that’s only bad for the sport. Baseball’s not going to end because of the steroid era, but the sport needs to move on. The way to do that is expose the guilty and go forward. Other players who are dirty need not wait to see if their name is eventually leaked. They should come forward and tell all what they did. All who care about the sport deserve nothing less from them. If one name leaked out, why can’t the other 103 names leak out? Maybe baseball should look at that and decide to get the names out there.
Dealing with the media and fans will be no picnic for Rodriguez. I can remember when Steve Howe became a teammate of mine with the Twins in 1985. Howe was battling substance abuse. He went to a clinic in 1983 to deal with the problem but after a relapse he was suspended for the entire 1984 season. The Twins’ fans appreciated that he was making an attempt to better his life. They even gave him a standing ovation at the Metrodome when he made his first appearance.
Will fans of the Yankees be as supportive of Rodriguez? He must now face the consequences of his actions. It sure will be interesting to see how the fans react at Yankee Stadium in the home opener when his name is first announced. And outside of New York, Rodriguez can expect to be ridiculed, especially in places like Fenway Park and when he goes back to Texas.
It’s not like Rodriguez has not been booed in New York before, especially given his lack of postseason success. But now there will be a different reason to boo him other than his performance and he’ll have to handle that. If he feels that in telling the truth he’s gotten a big burden off his chest, he’ll be better able to deal with the emotional impact on him of the coming season.
Rodriguez is a great player and a future Hall of Famer. He’s an extremely gifted athlete who has tremendous ability. It’s not possible to take away all he has accomplished on the field. Yes, he won an MVP in 2003 but he also won two more MVPs after that while not failing any PED tests. I expect nothing less than another outstanding season from him in 2009.
If there’s a lesson to be learned in all of this it’s hopefully one to be learned by the young kids playing baseball throughout this country and throughout the world. Watching the ramifications of the steroid era should teach youth playing the sport that using performance enhancing drugs is not the way you go about trying to become a professional athlete. You do it the right way through hard work, dedication, determination and through natural ability.
ATLANTA (AP) - Matt Harvey pitched six hitless innings, John Buck homered and the New York Mets held off another Atlanta comeback, beating the Braves 4-3 Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader.
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