Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Monday, February 09, 2009

The A-Fraud Saga: Just the Latest Disappointing Chapter in Baseball's Recent History

In the wake of a damning SI story, one with four different sources, Alex Rodriquez was forced to do damage control today, admitting that he "did take a banned substance."

And naturally, aside from the admission, which only came when he was flat busted, there was the obligatory public apology.

"For that, I'm very sorry and deeply regretful.... I'm sorry to my fans, I'm sorry to my fans in Texas."

Let's get one thing straight; the only thing A-Rod is sorry about is getting outed – that's it. He was never sorry that he used performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) until he was cornered and could do little else but apologize.

So now we know that the game's highest-paid player, and perhaps its best all-around player, is a cheat. Some will say, 'At least he's not a liar. He came clean.'

A-Rod only came clean when he had to, because he had too. He's seen this play out before, when other beefed up sluggers, similarly accused and on the defensive, made vigorous, yet unbelievable, denials.

Honesty is the best salve. The truth sets you free.

Up to this point, A-Rod had been lying all along. And he still may be.

When questioned on the subject by Katie Couric, during a 2007 60 Minutes interview, A-Rod was unequivocal.

Couric: For the record, have you ever used steroids, human growth hormone, or any other performance-enhancing substance?

Rodriguez: No. I've never felt overmatched on the baseball field. I've always been a very strong, dominant position. And I felt that if I did my work since I was, you know, a rookie back in Seattle, I didn't have a problem competing at any level. So, no.

A-Fraud has no credibility. He is not believable. He is a man watching his reputation go up in flames, and he will say or do whatever is necessary to salvage whatever is left of it. He claims he only used PEDs from 2001-2003. Why should anyone believe him?

In 2000, his last year in Seattle, Rodriguez batted .316 with 41 home runs and 132 RBI.

In 2005, with the Yankees, he batted .321 with 48 home runs and 130 RBI. For his efforts, he won another MVP award.

In 2007, he batted .314 with 54 homers and 156 RBI, winning his third MVP.

Were those performances, in those years, fueled by PEDs as well? We may never know, but based on what we know now, it certainly can be – perhaps should be – viewed with a very suspicious eye.

Rodriguez tested positive for testosterone and Primobolan, an injected or orally administered drug. Primobolan is said to be favored because it is detectable for a shorter period of time than the steroid previously favored by players, Deca-Durabolin.

For baseball, this may be the exclamation point, the final emphasis, on what will forever be known as the "Steroid Era."

Just when baseball thought it was rebuilding its reputation, ridding itself of the dishonor that is Barry Bonds once and for all, this new A-Roid scandal erupts. And the guy that everyone was hoping would erase the black eye that is Bonds is now revealed to be just like Bonds after all.

The player's union is complicit in all of this. For years, union officials refused to acknowledge the extent of the steroid problem; Union chief Gene Orza once said of steroids, "I have no doubt that they are not worse than cigarettes."

And it has now also been revealed that Orza tipped off A-Rod about a pending test in September 2004. At least that's what three anonymous players have told SI. That makes the union, and worse its leader, complicit. And it destroys A-Rod's claim that he stopped taking PEDs after he left Texas. Bullshit, Alex.

The player's union has long been an impediment, fighting testing from the beginning, while ignoring the interests of its members who were put at a competitive disadvantage by not using PEDs.

The union has so much power that it was able to hide not only illicit, but illegal, behavior for years.

That's hubris.

And now we know that Alex Rodriguez suffers from a healthy dose of it as well. But, then again, we knew that already, didn't we?

Copyright © 2009 Sean M. Kennedy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author’s consent.

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