Alex Rodriguez "came clean" on Monday in regards to the steroid allegation made by Sports Illustrated's Selena Roberts. This follows high-profile players like Jason Giambi, Brian Roberts, Rafael Palmeiro, Andy Pettitte, Jose Canseco, and a plethora of other players who have toiled in obscurity.
We're still waiting for the Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds verdicts, as well as 104 other names to be released. Pundits have said that we have a "lost generation" of reliable baseball accomplishments, because their reliability in a historical perspective has been tainted by steroid use.
My question is, "what do you expect?"
We ask our professional baseball players to grind out a long season, with half of those games played in other cities than their home city. Same goes for hockey and basketball. Our NFL players are beaten to a bloody pulp every Sunday, and expected to be back at work Tuesday morning to prepare for their next "beat down" the following weekend. We took away their "pep pills", which were used for generations of professional sports teams. Should we discount those generations as well?
Here is the alternative to steroids, amphetamines, uppers, pain killers, and growth hormone: reduced performance and more days off for players. Would that be acceptable to the rabid sports fan that just shelled out $150 for two seats? Would it have been well received for Ben Roethlisberger to sit out the Super Bowl with broken ribs because he couldn't take painkillers? Doubtful.
Before we rush to judgement on any of these players as "dishonest" or "cheaters", the average fan needs to come to terms with what it takes to keep rolling these players out on the field, day in and day out. Their windows of opportunity are limited, the money to be made is astronomical, and the expectations from the fans are enormous. I will close with a question. If there was $5 million on the table, what would you do?