What is that old line? A rising tide lifts all boats?
Perhaps the opposite is happening with Saturday’s disclosure by two Sports Illustrated writers that then-Texas Rangers slugger Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids use in 2003.
For ex-St. Louis Cardinals first-baseman Mark McGwire, refusal to talk about the past may have been incriminating all right, but far less so than formal test results, if the SI report is true. Now, another prominent name may be sitting next to him in the ever-expanding baseball writers’ penalty box.
This disclosure makes me sad for several reasons:
1) As I understand it, the 2003 testing was to be anonymous and confidential. While I am not defending A-Rod in any way, even suspected juicers have rights and his were violated.
2) We know 104 players were tested and failed. That means there are at least 103 other supposed guilty players in the report. Yet, only the name of the biggest, juiciest juicer is leaked. It is a sad indication of the ambulance-chasing society we have become.
3) Accusations that Players Union COO Gene Orza tipped off A-Rod that a test was coming. The baseball culture is one of extreme sticking together, but there is no way to defend behavior that allegedly includes being an accomplice.
4) Yet Orza is likely just one big name of dozens, probably hundreds that could be fingered. Like A-Rod, he has a big name to knock down.
5) This further besmirches the already-tarnished image of a game that looked the other way for too long.
Yet Rodriguez has the chance to be bold where McGwire was timid. Much ink is already being spilled about how this disclosure will taint his pursuit of the all-time home run crown as well as scuttle what seemed a lock induction into the Hall of Fame.
A-Rod needs to learn from his former teammate Jason Giambi and fess up to past mistakes and try to let it pass. McGwire has proven the stigma will not go away even if ignored, and he was already retired when he bungled his House testimony, not an active player in New York, of all places.
Giambi, unlike Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens apparently did, did not lie and as a result, paid a small price compared to the other two. A-Rod has already disappointed so many. He needs to nip this in the bud.
With an apology, the self-righteous sportwriters that have drawn a line in the sand will be pulled one step closer to taking a middle ground position regarding an issue that simply cannot be treated as black or white any longer.
I hope Big Mac is watching.
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