Thursday, February 19, 2009

Public Enemy #1 (apparently)

Alex Rodriguez took steroids, got caught, and now is apparently continuing to cover up the truth.

So what?

It seems to me like journalists are spending more time analyzing his statements and investigating his cousin and getting his teammates reactions than they did investigating the Iraq war or Watergate or any other recent scandal that actually has an impact on this country.

Hey, I'm against steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs that wreck your body and cause other people to wreck their bodies just to keep up. I get it.

But is it really worth all the outrage to focus on one guy who did it six years ago? He's going to pay the price for his behavior when he gets older and suffers from all the steroid-related maladies that have afflicted others.

Enough is enough. Just make sure your kids don't do steroids, keep drug testing baseball players as we're doing now, and be done with it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Give me a break

The headline says it all: "A-Rod controversy spoils entire 2009 campaign before it begins."

Are you telling me that in September -- when there are great pennant races -- and October -- when there are great playoff games and World Series -- are you telling me that because one player (or 104) tested positive for steroids 6 YEARS AGO, the whole season is ruined?

Why not claim that baseball is ruined forever now? That nobody's going to come to games anymore?

Need we remind them that baseball attendance has never been higher than the last few seasons?

A-Rod. Uh oh.

Of course the big news over the past few days is about Alex Rodriguez and his positive steroids test from 2003. I guess the only thing worse would be if Albert Pujols got caught. Pujols is about the last clean big superstar left.

I think we can all agree that almost every ballplayer, past or present, does whatever he has to do to succeed. In previous generations, it meant taking "greenies," or methamphetamines. Or OD'ing on caffeine to stay alert. Or corking the bat. Or stealing signs. Or spiking opposing players. Or grabbing a baserunner by the belt to slow him down. Or throwing a spitball. Or whatever.

It's called cheating, and it's wrong, and it happens all the time. A-Rod didn't invent it. He won't be the last. The only thing A-Rod has going for him is that when he cheated, he wasn't breaking any of baseball's rules, and he never lied about it to a grand jury (though he did lie to reporters and the public).

A lot of people -- like this guy -- are saying now A-Rod won't make it to the Hall of Fame. That's nonsense. I think that there will be an amnesty for the guys of this era who juiced up, and that superstars like A-Rod, Clemens, Bonds, even McGwire, will eventually get in. Cheaters like Palmeiro, who are on the bubble, may have a harder time, but he was on the bubble as a HOFer even before the steroids taint.

My feeling is that we either need to have an amnesty like that, in which everyone gets a pass and players are judged on their merits compared to other players of that era. Or else we shouldn't induct anyone who starred from 1990 to 2004. Those seem like the two best options. And I favor the former.