By: Kevin Traynor
Who is arguably better than that Ruth guy, has a chance to surpass Bonds on the all-time home runs list, and a three time American League MVP, but has allegedly taken steroids? Answer: Alex Rodriguez.
Sports Illustrated has reported that the Yankee’s third baseman tested positive for two forms of anabolic steroids during his 2003 AL MVP season with the Texas Rangers.
The testing occurred during a period when the MLB was in its infancy of deciding whether to implement a league drug testing policy. Although A-Rod failed the drug test, no penalties were issued because baseball had not set up regulations.
Selena Roberts of SI asked Rodriguez for a comment, but he declined.
“You’ll have to talk to the union,” Rodriguez said.
Already amply disliked by the candid crowds found at hallowed Yankee Stadium for his post season performances, or lack thereof, A-Rod now has to battle a whole new batch of insults.
“What are we calling him these days,” said Jim Traynor, an avid Mets fan. “Is it A-Rod or A-Roid? Personally, I like the latter.”
As bad as this is for A-Rod’s image, it has to be worse for Major League Baseball.
It seems that the nation has quickly forgotten Barry Bonds’ days as a Pittsburgh Pirate where he was a wiry kid who led the league in steals. A few years, and a few pounds of muscle later, Bonds now faces federal perjury charges for his involvement in steroids.
“Since the whole Bonds controversy, A-Rod was supposed to be baseball’s saving grace,” said Nick Romeo, a junior at Marist College. “He was supposed to prove that you didn’t need steroids to put up the numbers. I guess, maybe, you do.”
According to the SI report, there are 104 names on the list aside from Rodriguez’. Many of A-Rod’s current and past teammates were already mentioned in the Mitchell Report last year.
Perhaps we should affix asterisks to the records set during this ‘Steroid Era’ of baseball like we did to the man who had the longest tenure as record holder for single season home runs: Roger Maris.
“Baseball doesn’t need records to be broken in order to be exciting,” said Marco Veintimilla, a junior football player at Marist College. “It needs to exalt players like Ken Griffey Jr. who have put up monster numbers, but have lacked the notoriety that the steroid guys got. We need to talk up the people who did it right.”
For now, we are left with tainted heroes, who despite what the record books say, may not even garner entry into Cooperstown.
The old Yankee Stadium had a section called the ‘Bleacher Creatures’ who sat out in right field, and would chant the names of their favorite players until they acknowledged them. This summer, I doubt they’ll be chanting A-Rod. Maybe they’ll chant “A-Roid!”