Monday, February 9, 2009

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.

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