Can we move past the Steroid Era please?
George Mitchell and his report poisoned the 2008 season for many fans. It gave announcers another season to ruin every telecast by filling in dead spots with steroid talk. It gave casual and non-baseball fans an opportunity to tear down the sport by ranting incessantly about how dirty baseball has become. It gave fans more reasons to doubt the legitimacy of their heroes on the field accomplishments, and has made hall of fame voting in this era next to impossible.
Now we face yet another report, this time from Sports Illustrated leaking the results of exploratory steroid testing that Major League Baseball conducted in 2003.
The only name mentioned just happens to be one of the biggest: Alex Rodriquez. The fact that Rodriquez is already such a lightning rod for controversy means this story is going to drag out much longer than it would otherwise.
I am no A-Rod fan. In fact, he is probably the player I dislike the most in all of sports, and it goes well beyond my disdain for the Yankees. I love rooting for him to personally fail. I love seeing him falter in big situations. I love seeing him blame his teammates, and hearing stories that he is not respected in the clubhouse. And I particularly dislike his fake public persona.
However, I took no pleasure in the report this morning that he tested positive for two anabolic steroids in 2003.
Major League Baseball has been trying to turn the page on this subject for several years now. It was the league’s dirty secret, that became very public after the BALCO fiasco, and again at the end of 2007 with the release of the Mitchell Report. Any fan who finds joy in this story has very little respect for the game of baseball in general, and I find that very disappointing.
Did anyone really need another reason to dislike A-Rod, and especially at this cost? Did we really need another big name to test positive to know there was a problem? Do we really need to find out the other hundred names that tested positive in 2003 to make a judgment about this era?
The benefit of the doubt has been gone for years. When you look back at the list of Most Valuable Players from 1995-2005, very few of them have not been implicated at some level in steroid controversy. Statistics, records, awards, and reputations have already been tarnished forever.
I also find much of this era to be hypocritical. Nobody was asking any questions when baseball was in trouble after the strike in 1994. Everyone all the way up to Bud Selig at the very top was profiting, and not about to meddle with Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire’s ability to put fans back in the seats. With the acclaim, attention, and money being thrown at these players, it is no wonder so many followed suit.
It’s an unfortunate artifact of post-strike Major League Baseball. Rules are now in place to get rid of performance enhancing drugs in the sport, and the sooner we can move past it, the better.
As much as I despise A-Rod, this is another sad day for baseball.