Good move, A-Rod
Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi took that route before and have been able to continue with their careers without much controversy still tailing them. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens kept denying and their historic careers will forever be tainted. Mark McGwire made a fool of himself in front of Congress and he’s currently being kept out of the Hall of Fame.
On Monday, A-Rod came clean. He sat down with ESPN’s Peter Gammons and said the SI report was correct, and Rodriguez took it a step further. He admitted to using performance enhancers in each of his three seasons with Texas from 2001-03. Will A-Rod’s rep be tarnished? Sure. But, the game will be able to move on a bit easier now that he’s fessed up to cheating.
When the report came out, I can’t say that I was surprised. Why should any of us be surprised when we hear a player from this era tested positive for PHDs? As Rodriguez correctly points out in his comments, it was a loose era in the ’90s and in the early part of this decade. Things have changed for the better in recent years with the new testing that’s in place.
There’s a good chart in the MLB.com article on A-Rod’s admission. It breaks down his stats before, during and after the period in which he says he was using steroids. From 1996-2000, He averaged a .315 average, 36.8 homers and 114.8 RBIs in 145 games per season. From 2004-2008, the averages were .303/41.6/123.2 in 153.4 games. With Texas, A-Rod went .305/52/136.3 in 161.7 games on average.
You want to strip A-Rod of his tainted numbers? Go ahead. This guy is still a Hall of Famer. You want to strip Bonds of his totals from the point he is accused of using? Fine. He’s still a Hall of Famer. Clemens? McGwire? Even someone like Sammy Sosa? I say put them in the Hall.
They are the product of an era when hitters AND pitchers were using. Put it right on their plaques in Cooperstown: “Achieved these feats during the so-called Steroids Era.” Put it out there. Show what they did and why it was wrong and educate, but don’t try to hide these players from the kids. They’re in baseball’s record books and they’re not going anywhere.
That might not be the popular opinion, but that’s mine. Then again, I’m also from the camp that believes Pete Rose should be enshrined as well. If cheating or character are really deciding factors, there are plenty of players in the Hall who you could make a case for removing. Asterisks could be applied for reasons well beyond steroids.
Bottom line: I was happy to see A-Rod fess up as quickly as he did. Waiting until he arrived for Spring Training would’ve been a mistake, as would denying the accusations. He’s still going to hear plenty of “A-Roid!” chants when on the road and I’m sure Toronto will be one place that gives him a “warm” welcome.
Let’s move on and get ready for this 2009 season. Spring Training is here and the World Baseball Classic is right around the corner. Maybe some of you Jays fans aren’t as excited about this season, but you know what? Another baseball season is here and that’s plenty to be pumped about. I’ll be landing in Florida on Thursday and getting to work on Friday.
Here’s the A-Rod interview for those who haven’t seen it: