By now, you’ve probably heard the news. Alex Rodriguez admitted to using steroids. In my mind, he’s now up (or should I say down) there with Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds and Rafael Palmeiro. The actions of these men have tainted the game of baseball even more in the last decade than any damage done prior to the turn of the century.
For what it’s worth, A-Rod did admit to juicing when he was confronted with the issue.
There’s just one problem. It wasn’t the first time he’d been questioned. In a 2007 interview with Katie Couric, Rodriguez denied ever having taken steroids.
He told ESPN’s Peter Gammons that he was “young, stupid and na’ve” when he used steroids during a period between 2001 and 2003, while he was with the Texas Rangers.
He went on to say that he felt he was under “an enormous amount of pressure” and that he had not even thought about using performance enhancers until he was with Texas.
I mean, the man had just been signed to the largest contract ever offered to a professional athlete in the United States (10 years, $252 million) with one of the worst teams in baseball at the time.
He was expected to be the savior of the Texas Rangers’ franchise.
But he had posted very good numbers in Seattle during his run with the Mariners.
In fact, during his five full seasons in the Pacific Northwest, he averaged nearly 37 homers, 115 runs batted in and a .315 average.
Now let’s compare those numbers to the numbers from 2001 to 2003. His homer average jumped to 52 per year. His RBI average swelled to 132 a season.
What did his batting average do? Well, it “shrunk” to .305 in the Texas years.
As for the Rangers themselves? They actually got worse while Rodriguez was there. They lost 89 games in 2001, 90 in 2002 and 91 the next year.
So for the record, that’s 156 homers, 270 losses and one MVP award, all to try help a crappy team that never got better while he was there.
Rodriguez left a talented Seattle team that made the playoffs in four of his five full seasons with the club.
He left that team to chase an insane amount of money, with a contract that is now in its next-to-last year. He’s set to make $27 million this year and in 2010, when his current deal expires.
And he made all of this money for what? To have his good name tarnished by making bad decisions? That’s exactly what he did. He made two very bad choices. He left a good team for a bad one, one that even he could not help.
He made it worse by using performance-enhancing drugs to try to help the bad team that he went to in the first place.
Fans in Seattle might not, should not and likely will not forgive him. He bailed out on a good team to chase money, went to a bad team (and a division rival) and cheated while he was there.
So what if he says he’s clean now? That doesn’t matter anymore. He cheated, admitted to cheating and lied about cheating before he finally got caught.
As a man, I can forgive him. He made mistakes, and he has admitted those indiscretions. But as a baseball fan, I cannot and will not forgive him. He has tainted the game.
I’m just disappointed above all else. It just makes me sick that we can’t look up to pro athletes anymore.
We hold them in too high of a regard to be able to trust them now. I know that there are good ones out there. But a few bad apples have ruined it for everybody else.