All the baseball news for the past five days has been centered around the news of Alex Rodriguez testing positive for anabolic steroids in 2003.
As if that weren't shocking enough, Rodriguez, on Monday, apologized for his poor decision-making, and stunned the baseball community further. He admitted not only to using in 2003, but in 2001 and 2002 as well.
Two more years doesn't seem like much, does it? But in the three seasons Rodriguez reported to be using steroids, he represented the American League in the All-Star Game three times, won three Silver Slugger Awards and one Most Valuable Player Award.
Not to mention that during those three years, Rodriguez put together some of the best offensive seasons of his career. In those three seasons alone, Rodriguez combined for 156 home runs, 395 runs batted in, and a .305 batting average.
If one takes those numbers off his career totals because they were tainted, it leaves Mr. Rodriguez with 397 home runs and 1,211 runs batted in for a 12-year career to be acknowledged, rather than the 15 Rodriguez has logged. Shaving off those three years from his career, it leaves Rodriguez' average season with 33 home runs and 101 runs batted in.
Assuming Rodriguez plays until he is 40, this puts him on track to finish with 628 home runs, well short of the all-time home run mark of 762 set by Barry Bonds.
Of course, that isn't happening, but it really puts his cheating into perspective. Although he was supposed to be the clean superstar to take the home run record away from Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball and its fans are better off knowing he cheated rather then being kept in the dark about it.
Although it may not be good for the image of baseball, it's hard to feel sorry for the players who helped ruin America's pastime, or for the incompetent commissioner who turned the other cheek when this started becoming a problem some 15 years ago.
Rodriguez's excuse? He was under pressure to perform, he was young, he was stupid, and he was naive.
When interviewed by ESPN's Peter Gammons, Rodriguez spewed out Red Herrings like ash and lava from Mount Vesuvius.
When asked by Gammons what substances he was taking, Rodriguez responded by saying "it was a loosey-goosey era (...), I'm guilty of a lot of things being stupid, being naive, not asking the right questions, I'm not exactly what substance I am guilty of using."
When asked where he got his substances, Rodriguez replied: "Again, at the time, you know, you have nutritionists, you have doctors, you have trainers. That's the right question today: Where did you get it? We're in the era of BALCO ... Back then, it was just about what. (...) I'm not sure exactly what substance I used. But whatever it is, I feel terribly about it. "
When asked where he was introduced to these substances, Rodriguez said: "The culture, it was pretty prevalent. There were a lot of people doing a lot of things. There was a lot of gray area, too. (...) I've played the best baseball of my career since. I've won two MVPs since, and I've never felt better in my career. Of that I'm very proud of."
Another question asked by Gammons: When did you find out it was illegal? Rodriguez replied: "Again, at the time of that culture, there was no illegal or legal. It was just, you have to understand the time. To take you back there, again, people were taking a number of different things, from GNC, to whatever."
Wait, wait, wait.
No illegal or legal? Are MLB players above the law? Anabolic steroids have been Schedule III drugs since 1990, and last time I checked, Alex Rodriguez took these substances in the year 2001 and onward.
Is it okay to take these drugs just because there is no rule in Major League Baseball against it? The law isn't enough to these goons?
I guess not.
Recently, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has come out saying that he is considering the suspension of Rodriguez. Selig reported that he expects this to be challenged by the Players Union because the MLB's steroid policy wasn't put in place until 2004, a year later than Rodriguez supposedly stopped cheating.
Now, certainly this would be a popular decision among many baseball fans. However, why is Rodriguez the lone victim of this type of decision? How come the same fate was never handed down to Bonds, Sosa, Tejada, or Giambi?
I'm not lawyer, but I believe this is a classic ex post facto situation. Meaning, the actions of Rodriguez are being criminalized, when at the time the deed was committed, there was no policy or punishment for steroid users.
Despite the fact that steroids were against the law at the time, and still are, Selig may not have grounds to suspend Rodriguez.
Not to say I don't want him suspended. I, for one, would love to see every cheater stamped out in any way possible. This goes for Alex Rodriguez, for Miguel Tejada, for everyone in between.
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