Can We Get Back To Baseball, Please?
Position players reported to spring training over a week ago, yet there is still a lot of buzz over Alex Rodriguez's press conference regarding his steroid use.
For 27 minutes, Rodriguez answered questions from a large media contingency after he read his personal statement discussing his steroid use.
We know he used steroids for a three year period, that his cousin, who has only recently been identified, was getting it from the Dominican Republic and injecting Rodriguez about once a month with it.
Everyone wanted Alex to sit there and give all the details on why he used that substance, why he let his cousin inject him, why he never talked to anyone about it, if he felt like he cheated, and if he gave it to anyone else.
He gave relatively limited answers, didn't follow up on any of the questions asked, and it was obvious that he was well prepped before facing the firing squad.
So, can we get back to baseball now, please?
Enough questions about his cousin, how he took it, where he got the injections. It all happened over six years ago and is really insignificant now.
Before everyone jumps all over me, let me explain.
The fact of the matter is that Alex was completely in the wrong for using any kind of steroid. However, no one can change the fact that for that three year period, he was on them.
The particulars don't really matter because they don't change the outcome. Whether his cousin or an ex-girlfriend gave him the shots, he still took them.
Everyone is calling into question his records or his chance of breaking records. Should anything he did during that three year period be counted toward his totals at the end of his career?
If baseball wants to put an asterisk next to his name due to uncertainty, fine. If that's the case, then they should put one next to McGwire's, Bonds', and Clemens' names, and anyone else suspected of steroid use that broke a record.
If baseball can give Roger Maris an asterisk next to his name because he didn't break Babe Ruth's record in the same number of games, they certainly can give it to suspected steroid users.
I understand that sportswriters have a job to do, and they have to run with the hot story, but enough is enough already.
The offseason is long, and after the big free agents are signed and trades are made, there isn't a whole lot to talk about until spring training starts.
Perhaps I'm guilty of gravitating toward all the buzz, because I'm an aspiring sports journalist, and the last thing a journalist wants is to be a step behind the rest of their competition.
However, there has to come a point when we deal with the fact that the athletes may not answer the questions the way we want them to, and poking around only drags out a topic longer than necessary.
The media had been hounding Derek Jeter for his reaction after it was revealed before spring training started that A-Rod had used steroids before. The Yankee captain decided not to address the media until most of the reporters arrived at Yankee camp.
The day after Rodriguez's press conference, Jeter took questions from the media on the subject and made it clear it would be the only time he would be talking about it. Jeter realizes that no matter how many times reporters ask him his opinion on the situation, it doesn't change the facts, and therefore there is no point in beating a dead horse.
Jeter said that while he doesn't condone what Rodriguez did, the most important thing is for the team to make Alex as comfortable on the field as possible, because they know the more comfortable he is the better the team will do. Jeter's focus is exactly where it needs to be: on his team doing the best they possibly can, and in order to do that, they need Rodriguez on his A-game.
Originally, Major League Baseball said that they wouldn't question Rodriguez about his steroid use, but now they plan to meet with him over the next couple of days. If they were smart, they would forget about meeting with Rodriguez and focus on the present.
The fact of the matter is they knew damn well what was going on six, ten, and even fifteen years ago as far as the use of performance enhancing drugs and chose to turn their heads because they wanted the fan base to return to baseball.
What's done is done, and the focus should now be on making sure the tests in place are as accurate as possible. More efforts should be devoted to creating a test that could detect the use of HGH, considering the number of athletes that were found to have used it.
Jeter had it right—it's time to focus on the start of a new season, not what happened in the past. Diving into the past doesn't solve anything, it only brings up more questions that are unlikely to be answered. There is a steroid policy in place now, and it seems to be working.
Now it's time to get back to baseball. That's where the focus should have been all along, but the sports writers can get a little bit of a pass considering they did have some juicy stuff hanging right in front of their faces, but the pass is over.
It's time to get their heads back in the game and start writing about the line ups and match ups in the World Baseball Classic, who is making the big league teams as camps progress, and how everyone stacks up.
That's the information baseball fans want to read about. That's the information that matters. It's time the writers took notice of that.
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