How's the view from your new glass house? As if we didn't want Alex Rodriguez here in our town. A-Rod, A-Fraud, A-Roid, and so on. Of course, we wanted him in the worst way when he was available after the 2003 season. We felt betrayed by the Texas Rangers, by Major League Baseball, by his agent, so betrayed that losing out on free agent Mark Teixeira last month to the Yankees hardly hurt at all. It was just another one of those betrayals.
Now, catching enemy superheroes from the dark side is especially rewarding. It’s like hearing that the neighbor you hate has found termites in his wall. Guess what? The termites could be in your walls next.
To be blunt, how many Red Sox on the 2004 World Series championship team were juicing? Would it matter to you if we found out the way we found out last weekend about A-Rod?
Remember, he was close to being in a Boston uniform for the 2004 season.
What if we discovered that Johnny Damon or Mark Bellhorn or David Ortiz or Pedro Martinez or Curt Schilling was on the same list of subjects of random testing back in 2003 and came up positive for steroids? I guess the point is that you have to get over it.
All hands on deck! Pass the needles and bless them all. Who wouldn’t take performance-enhancing drugs if they were not against MLB rules? Anybody who didn’t do it would be kind of stupid, wouldn’t he?
You wouldn’t necessarily want your players on this list. But at least the people on the list wanted to be better at their craft. How else can you look at it? You can call them cheaters. Does that make them feel worse? A-Rod was a cheater. Does that make you feel better? Remember the glass house you now live in. The day will come when so-and-so of the Boston Red Sox will be front and center on some such list.
This, I think, is equally important: We definitely need more information. It’s a situation not unlike that of Eliot Spitzer, alias “Client No. 9.” Who were the first eight clients? Who was “Client No. 1” on that list? In the case of A-Rod and Major League Baseball, who were the other 103 players on the list who tested positive? You need to know that. Baseball needs to be held accountable for this. Not just one notable name out of 104. Who are the other 103? We should all demand to know. Why just Alex Rodriguez? Because he’s more interesting, has more money, and is a lightning rod? He gets more attention? “A-Fraud,” as Joe Torre writes in his new book.
Where were the Yankees’ manager and general manager and owner when this was all happening? You must know that the business of Major League Baseball is a small, closed society. Everyone knows what’s going on. They know who is in and who is out, and how to lie. And how to deny when the Grim Reaper, aka a reporter, comes calling.
For his part, A-Rod decided not to take that approach. The Yankees third baseman admitted during an interview with ESPN’s Peter Gammons that aired Monday night that he used performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003 while a member of the Texas Rangers. A-Rod’s admission capped a wild media feeding frenzy that began when Sports Illustrated reported on its website on Saturday that he was on the list of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003 during Major League Baseball’s survey testing. That survey, which did not subject the players involved to discipline, resulted in the institution of a drug policy the following season. It was supposed to be confidential.
A-Rod hit 156 home runs from 2001 to 2003, including 57 in 2002. The following year, during which he reportedly tested positive for Primobolan and testosterone, A-Rod won the first of his three American League Most Valuable Player awards. The Rangers, after futile negotiations with the Red Sox to work out a trade for A-Rod during that off-season, shipped him to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano.
During his five seasons in New York, A-Rod added a pair of MVP awards, in 2005 and 2007. Without ever playing another game, he would have been a shoo-in for induction into the Hall of Fame when the time came. What now?
First of all, I don’t know how you can have a Hall of Fame without Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Alex Rodriguez. It’s an Almost Hall of Fame. These guys belong, but I’ll bet the writers won’t elect them.
There needs to be a Forgiveness Room in Cooperstown with a plaque that reads, “These guys have sinned, but we forgive them. They deserve to be here, and we need to respect them and honor them as players.” As we travel further down the road, that room would have to be expanded considerably. A-Rod is far from the last player who will be asking for forgiveness when the time is right. There will be plenty of others.
Veteran TV personality Bob Lobel is an OT columnist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org