The Red Sox fan in me was downright giddy with delight when news broke that Alex Rodriguez had joined the conga line of steroid users in Major League Baseball. But the part of me that's a member of the media—which is the part that pays the bills, as it turns out—had an entirely different reaction.
A-Rod's name came from a list that reportedly includes 103 other names.
And we've heard none of them.
Why not? Because none of them are likely to break the career home run record, a record that has the potential to be broken 10 times before I die and the potential to still never belong honestly to anyone but Hank Aaron. Because none of the 103 others are the highest-paid player on the most scrutinized team in the country's biggest stage in a multi-zillion dollar brand-new stadium.
None of the others have been linked over the course of their career to A) Steroids, B) Madonna, and C) a stripper. There's a pretty lengthy list connected to each one individually, but few have pulled off the trifecta that Rodriguez recently completed.
I get all that. The scrutiny that Rodriquez gets is largely his own making. He's the pretty-boy slugger with all the narcissistic issues, the guy who cares too much about what other people think and not enough about becoming a member of his own team. He represents Team A-Rod, and that's it. Always has, always will. That's why he has drawers full of cash and no rings on his fingers.
But that's not the problem here. Rodriguez most certainly deserves the public flogging he's already received.
But so do 103 others.
Some will tell you they don't. This is where the plot thickens. These tests were conducted by Major League Baseball in an era where there were no penalties for testing positive. They were done with the intention of keeping the guilty parties anonymous. They were conducted to determine if random testing should become part of the game.
In a perfect world—for Major League Baseball and those stabbing themselves with needles—nobody should know any of this.
That's the part the reporter in me reluctantly agrees with. Morally, based on the guidelines of the tests, this information—Rodriguez's name included—should never have found the light of day. Even though we now know he's dirty, we shouldn't.
Of course, it's Major League Baseball's fault for not destroying the evidence immediately. In fact, that the evidence still exists is somewhat fishy. Why keep supposedly anonymous tests lying around unless you were planning on defending yourself or proving something in the future? Perhaps it was baseball's backdoor to outing hundreds of guilty parties from the end of the era where steroids were strewn about every clubhouse.
But we've moved way beyond the point where turning this into a Rodriguez roast is morally sound, and as a country we've moved beyond the point where you can stash 104 positive steroid tests in a closet without anybody finding out.
Either none of the names should ever have been released, or all of them have to. And since the cat is already out of the bag, it's time for the rest of the guilty parties to face the music.
The details are protected by a court order, of course, but that's become moot as far as I'm concerned. After all, why should A-Rod take the public fall for more than 100 of his colleagues? And it certainly puts the baseball union in an odd position, trying to defend more than 100 guilty parties.
Of course, unleashing the entire list could be the darkest day in the steroid era. There can't be anyone naive enough to believe the list consists of Rodriguez's name and 103 Jerry Hairstons. There are other stars on the list, guaranteed, maybe dozens of them. It's probable that no team in the sport would be spared the drama of having at least one player outed.
My beloved Red Sox have thus far avoided the glare of the steroid spotlight, save the incrimination of forgettable players like Jeremy Giambi and Manny Alexander and the announcement that former Sox star Mo Vaughn was busted after his time in Beantown (which probably means he was juicing in Fenway, too). But this list no doubt contains a hero or two of every young boy in Boston. And Houston. And Philadelphia.
You get the idea.
But we should know. In an era where everyone is presumed dirty until proven clean, this would help shed some light. Players who have denied for years that appear on the list would be damned. And players who have claimed to be clean who don't appear will have another feather in their cap.
Ultimately, it doesn't change the fact that baseball is still chest-deep in steroid mud. If anything, the list only makes things cloudier. It's become acceptable to question anything done or any record broken after 1980 or so. But leaving A-Rod out to dry and letting 103 others off the hook isn't just.
Reportedly, Rodriguez was aware of the positive test, which leads one to believe there are 103 others sweating out a painful waiting period as we speak. And none of them will ever admit a thing.
But that doesn't have to be an issue. Proof is proof. It's time for baseball to release the pages of names from the 2003 test, so the public can turn the page on another scandal and baseball can add another page to the dirty little novel it's been working on for decades.
It's A-Rod's nature to make sure he stands out and stands alone. But this is one instance where that shouldn't be the outcome.
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