"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Black Sunday

I was on the subway early yesterday afternoon, headed downtown for a late lunch with one of my dad’s old friends. I took out the Daily News from my napsack and gazed at the back cover. Celts beat Knicks; a smaller column on Joba (I’m starting dammit). It was 1:00 pm and the newspaper was already irrelevant, scooped by the 11:00 am SI.com story on Alex Rodriguez and steroids.

Before today’s papers came out, most of the major pundits had filed their two-cents on-line. The news cycle is just too fast for print.

Anyhow, powered by a great, big Oy Veh…

“His legacy, now, is gone,” one Yankees official said of Rodriguez, speaking on condition of anonymity because the organization had no public comment. “He’ll just play it out. Now he’s a worker. Do your job, collect your paycheck and when you’re finished playing, go away. That’s what it is.”

…“If he did it, he’s got to flat-out admit it, like Giambi,” the Yankees official said. “Just come out and say, ‘I did it. I’m sorry. I lied.’”
(Tyler Kepner, New York Times)

I always go back to the numbers.  They are comforting, a self-contained pleasure.  I used to flip through the encyclopedia and now I skip through baseball-reference.com.  I liked to look at Alex Rodriguez’s career numbers.  Talk about stacked!  They left little room for question–this is greatness.  Now, like the numbers for an entire generation, they’ve lost their magic.

I’ve enjoyed rooting for Rodriguez and will most likely continue rooting for the guy. But if these reports are true, I also think he’s a schmuck. What’s the old saying? Don’t do the crime…well, if he did cheat, it’s on him to handle himself like a grown up.

Here are some the reactions from the Bronx Banter comments section yesterday:

Ken Arneson: “And what victories arise are always magical, mysterious, haunting and untrustworthy.”

rbj: “What’s shocking to me is that I’m not shocked, just disappointed. The thing is, it was part of baseball culture at the time, which doesn’t excuse anyone for breaking the law but does spread the blame around, from Selig on down. And while baseball seems to be in the spotlight, I’d like to see some investigative journalism on steroids in football. You can’t tell me all those huge linebackers are 100% natural.

I am bothered that something that was supposed to be anonymous, in order to help clean up the game, has been seized by the federal government and is now getting leaked out. Anyone think the players are ever going to agree to anything like that again?

And Henry Aaron is back to being the all time home run king, natural division.”

Mr OK Jazz TOYKO: “Frankly, people who feel “morally shaken” about the whole issue make me question their priorities..baseball is truly the “beautiful game”, let them all roid up if they want. Mariano is still going to strike you out, A-Rod will still be a great hitter, Ichiro will still be a wizard with the bat…”

Zack: “The notion of the purity of the game is all kind of hogwash int he first place. Greenies,which have a real, documented affect on performance, have been around since pre-Aaron. I would put money on him having used them in fact. Mantle of course did too. That moral ambiguity has long been a major tenet of the game, whether its the spit ball, throwing games, betting on games, greenies, roids, segregation, or whatever.”

Matt Pat11: “I think it almost goes without saying that he’ll handle the situation in the worst possible way imaginable, because he always does.”

Monkeypants: “I love baseball deeply. it is indeed a beautiful game, as noted above. But I really despise this era of the sport more and more, and with each passing year, for a variety of reasons, I find MLB less enjoyable.”

Yankee23: “This doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it should. I was happy with A-Rod’s new contract, excited to see him finish his career in pinstripes. I don’t truly care about 2003 drug tests. Color me cynical, whatever, but there are 104 known positive tests during that season. Sure we only know one name, but these were positive tests from a sample size during that season. The “steroid years” are forever tainted, I’ll agree to that. But now it’s 2009, it’s time to move on. We have stricter tests in place and we’ll still have people testing positive. When will we be satisfied? Will this require daily testing and the outing of the other 103 names?”

joejoejoe: “Baseball aside, it’s very much wrong that grand jury testimony leaks and that test samples that are collectively bargained to be private leak. The health of our judicial process and privacy of records are both far greater issues than who takes steroids but it never seems to come out that way in the sporting press.

You don’t have a right to know what goes on in grand juries or what is in somebody elses confidential medical tests. It’s just voyeurism masked as a crusade for truth.”

williamnyy23: “The irony in this story is that the seizure and leaking of these confidential tests as well as the constant flow of what is supposed to be grand jury testimony is much more harmful to our society than professional athletes experimenting with chemicals.

Instead of leading the lynch mob to string up Alex and find out the other 102 names, I would rather see Selena Roberts and Mr. Epstein arrested and placed in prison until they reveal who illegally leaked to them this information. It’s shameful that our lust to oust baseball players who took steroids is blinding so many to the greater transgressions being perpetrated against our justice system. The bottom line is Roberts and Epstein cheated when they used illegal means to procure a scoop. Condemning Arod and applauding these “journalists” would be hypocrisy to the nth degree.

Aside from their criminal actions, Roberts’ and Epstein’s motives can only be seen as motivated by an agenda because the only name revealed was Arod’s. If the two authors were really interested in performing an investigative piece, why would they only seek information about Arod? I guess when you have a book to sell, all else become irrelevant.”

Rich: “Selena Roberts has a history of writing agenda-ridden stories, but I have little doubt that she and David Epstein have bona fide sources. The person with the primary agenda is the leaker, not the recipient of the leak, although they clearly are a primary beneficiary of it.”

Simone: “Why is the messenger is always attacked? Selena Roberts.has every right to make buck and write her books and articles. This is on Alex. He is the liar and cheat.”

Shaun P: “I, for one, am done with the idea of athletes being “natural”. There is no such thing. They ALL use drugs to manage pain, heal faster, get bigger, do more – whether its steroids or Advil or uppers or insulin or HGH or espresso (caffeine, after all, is a drug) or something we’ve never heard of, there is no such thing as an athlete that doesn’t use SOMETHING “unnatural”. I don’t think there ever was, or if there was, it was an awfully long time ago.

And disappointed is the right word, rbj. That’s exactly how I feel.”

Hungover too. And I didn’t have anything to drink last night.

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1 yankeesrumors   ~  Feb 8, 2009 9:16 am

I hear you Alex, yesterday was a sad day to be a Yankee fan. I wish all this PED crap would just go away.

2 The Hawk   ~  Feb 8, 2009 10:16 am

This about sums it up for me:

"Nine more years. Nine long, bold-headlined years. That is how much longer the Yankees are contractually obligated to put up with always-something Alex Rodriguez. With his celebrity distractions, his need to be noticed, his clubhouse-integration issues, his Derek Jeter envy and, yes, his prime-time failures.

Nine years, and now, it appears, without the authentic historic payoff that Hank Steinbrenner and the Yankees were so seduced by, they couldn’t wait to sign A-Rod to a deal that would carry him well past his 40th birthday and could cost them $300 million."

- Harvey Araton, NYT

3 hiscross   ~  Feb 8, 2009 10:19 am

Gee, people are shocked that another Yankee story has come out. I can't believe people remain influenced by people who only skill in life is their ability to type or talk into a mic. These makers of history are nothing more than crab grass that grow in cracks in a side walk and in lawns. SI, NYT, LAT, NYDN, etc rags that no longer understand truth, yet alone print it. Bloggers seem to think like them as well, but at least, for now, let their readers provide feedback.I've come to conclusion that the only true written word comes from the Bible (King James version Old and New Testament) and everything else is tainted. As far as 2003 goes the truth will always be Aaron Boone's home run.

4 RagingTartabull   ~  Feb 8, 2009 10:53 am

did anyone else wake up with that "oh god, that actually happened" feeling??

5 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Feb 8, 2009 11:00 am

Alex, If Rodriguez is a schmuck so, presumably, and in equal measure, are the other players who used steroids in this era. I'd say (made this point in the earlier thread) they are. He is. I'd also agree that 'everybody's doing it, I have to to compete' isn't a totally meaningless thing to say, with steroids, with greenies, with scuffing baseballs. We DO run with the herd, most of us, especially if not running will cost us a lot.

People might say that Alex was pious, high and mighty, quotes like 'I've never felt disadvantaged on a baseball field' read pretty starkly today. But I suppose it is worth remembering that most of the other 104 (or whatever) and those who slipped through that testing round were not interviewed steadily about the issue. In other words, I suspect all of them would have offered some form of denial couched around hard work and thanks to the gods for their skills.

The flip side of this is that most of those other guys don't get 300 million and in this world, wealth and fame elicit scrutiny and dirt-digging. This explains Tyler Kepner's piece, but it does not excuse some genuinely ugly writing there:

"Rodriguez has been hardened by the waves of criticism that have come over him steadily since December 2000, when he left Seattle for a two-fisted grab of Tom Hicks’s cash to play for the Texas Rangers. But he still reads his news clippings, internalizing slights and thickening the wall around him. It is harder than ever to tell who he really is.

He has a streak of self-pity that did not exist in Seattle, where Rodriguez made his debut at 18 and shared a spotlight with veteran stars. By the time he was 30 — in spring training of 2006 — he was all but whining about the scrutiny he lived under."

What, exactly, was wrong with accepting the best contract offer? How is this writing other than nasty envy? Why slur-words like 'two-fisted grab' and the implied negative of 'Tom Hick's cash' (Hick's money is tainted? Frankly, even 'cash' is a snide word there.)

And there are so many things wrong with the last paragraph I can't even get started. Jeez, there's a world of difference between the media attitude to you at 18 and at 30 when you have a 'cash' bullseye on your chest. It isn't necessarily 'whining' to observe this. Movie stars who lament no privacy are not just whining. Sure they reap benefits of fame, but it isn't idiotic or spoiled to note that they can't move without being photographed or blogged.

This is not to defend at all the use of steroids, and I share Alex's bad taste in the mouth that a guy many of us saw as being at LEAST clean, and helping erase the tainted records, isn't. But some of the writing that is already coming, and will pour down is flat-out ugly.

6 The Hawk   ~  Feb 8, 2009 11:13 am

It isn't necessarily "whining", but in the case of Rodriguez, it is.

7 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 8, 2009 11:15 am
8 Mattpat11   ~  Feb 8, 2009 11:22 am


A-Rod's shmucky behavior extends far beyond steroids. He has diarrhea of the mouth, and he's a total media whore, which makes all the drama over all that media coverage that much more grating. If you don't want the media to cover you, don't say things like "Maybe the fans hate me because I'm biracial!" and if you insist on traipsing around Toronto with some Amazonian whore and you don't want to be photographed, at the very least, put on a hat and sunglasses. The contradiction between his behavior (which is designed to constantly keep him in the headlines) and his reaction to the media coverage (the perpetual victim attitude) is one of the least likable aspects of the man.

9 Mr. Max   ~  Feb 8, 2009 11:24 am

I don't really know how to feel. I think it's heartbreak, but I can't say. I gave the guy the benefit of the doubt over and over. I knew how much of the shitstorm around him was circumstantial, that he didn't really create it so much as make it worse.

I always related to the guy, felt for him. I don't care about his money, it's so fantastical anyway. I loved his records as much as he does, I still do. How am I supposed to feel about this incident? Should I say he's been tested since when penalties were in play and came out clean? Should I lump him with Bonds and Clemens, who are all but guilty?

And then there's just that: guilty. Yea, in the court of public opinion, he's already guilty. He can't change that, not without evidence that is as great as the damning.

If nothing else, bias or no bias, I've never been OK with the targeting of specific players that goes on. I wasn't OK with singling out Bonds or Clemens or Mac; I haven't been OK with it since Congress wasted all that time and energy to call several "stars" and nobody else. Nobody deserves this.

We all know that Mays was a greenies user. Who the hell wasn't?

It also seems like Arod's legacy depends on a lot now. He was never going to reach the Parthenon, anyway, since he'd just find a way to screw up along the way. But what if he does reach 800 HR? What if he doesn't break down, or if he wins 3 Series and carries the team?

I still really don't know how to feel. Am I just banging my head against a brick wall? Am I that abused spouse that keeps saying "He's really a good guy"? Or am I just sick and tired of the media storm and the outcry of the public who, ironically, just "run with the herd"?

Help me out here, guys. There are very few things that can break me of my baseball addiction, but this is slowly working...

10 RCK   ~  Feb 8, 2009 11:31 am

[4] I woke up and for a split second had to ask myself why I felt so awful. And then I remembered.

11 ms october   ~  Feb 8, 2009 11:31 am

i did raging tartabull.

this story, like unfortunately so much it seems these days, is just filled with "bad guys":
- steroids was obviously extremely pervasive in sports and has impacted competition and in particular records, there are obviously different takes on how "bad" steroids are - but still i don't see how the widespread use of steroids can be seen as a positive
- "investigations" into steroids, especially the mitchell report
- the media coverage of the "steroid era" and the post-outing era and in particular the trageted pursuit of certain names
- the raids initiated by novitzky
- and the most disturbing thing to me is that people are continuing to release information that is not supposed to be released and nothing is being done about it.

all of these things have made trust an even more precious commodity. i am at the point where i trust so little - from which athletes are playing their sport by the rules to what stories to believe to people's motives for these stories and so on.

12 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 8, 2009 11:38 am

First off, I honestly don't think we are dealing with the same Arod who came here in 2004. That Arod would be crying over the headlines; this one is probably partying on some tropical beach in between intense workouts. After all, a man who is pandering to an image doesn't do things like leave his wife and kids, hang out with strippers, travel around the country with an 50-year old pop star, or even little things like 5 and fly at the All Star Game. Arod came here sensitive, but the (mostly unfair) beatings he has taken definitely seems to have toughened him up. So, if he is less than conciliatory about this, I hope Yankee fans aren’t too disappointed. Isn’t that what we wanted?

Secondly, I think it is again important to point out that the alleged substance that Arod took is Primobolan. From a Google search, the two consensus characteristics of this drug are that is a very weak steroid, but a pretty good fat burner. So, again, I think that begs the question of Arod’s motivation in taking it as well as how it was introduced to his body. Perhaps it was an ingredient in a OTC dietary supplement? Or, if taken directly, it is very possible Arod’s motivation was to shed some weight (a reasonable goal for SS). No one seems to be making this distinction, but I can’t imagine why Arod would choose such a weak option if his desire was to bulk up?

Not only does this distinction play into motive and mode, but it once again debunks the myth that players’ performances are being artificially enhanced. So many of these substances have no performance enhancing effect. While I could buy the argument that perhaps they help older players get through a longer season, that wouldn’t apply to a 27-year old Arod. So again, we can wring our hands about the record book, but the fact of the matter is PEDs do not have the impact so many think. Personally, I concern myself more with the impact of equipment technology as opposed to chemical enhancement. Besides, every era of baseball has had very distinct circumstances, so I don’t see why one should feel they can no longer compare numbers (unless they similarly felt they couldn’t do the same thing when comparing the love ball era to the decade of the pitcher, etc.

13 RagingTartabull   ~  Feb 8, 2009 11:43 am

[7] I'll admit I had to google that, but yeah that just about hits the nail on the head.

If, and this is admittedly a big "if", he goes the act of contrition route I think that for a good 80-90% of us here the fan instinct will kick in to protect one of our own and defend him against most if not all criticism.

Frankly I think all its really going to take is that first series up in Boston when the inevitable "STER-OIDS!" chants start raining down, nevermind that the Sox have had their fair share of lab rats on the roster over the years, and most Yankee fans will just stick up for A-Rod as a reflex.

14 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 8, 2009 11:44 am

[9] The greenies question you raise about Mays is an interesting one. If you look at the offensive declines in MLB, they align with the greenie ban, not the steroid testing (which makse sense because amphetamines have a proven impact, while most steroids are glorified placebos). Considering that the records of guys like Mays and Aaron were fostered by their longevity, and we know that "everyone" took greenies in that era, shouldn't those records be wiped out as well? Where is the moral hand wringing over that? So, until someone proves that hot dogs and beer enhances performance, I guess the Babe Ruth remains the HR King (assuming you don't hold it against him that black pitchers were allowed to face him).

15 Joel   ~  Feb 8, 2009 12:06 pm

There is also a report that Gene Orza, COO of the union, tipped off A-Rod to the drug test. If the union was outwardly complicit in this, then at the very least, a change in leadership is needed.

And, Bud has to go, too. He should have been gone a while ago anyway.

Paging, Judge Landis....

16 OldYanksFan   ~  Feb 8, 2009 12:13 pm

True Story:
I was driving on I-91 North, on route to visit my fried Alex.
I was driving in a pack of 104 cars, all going about 80 MPH.
Of course today, there are many, many other cars traveling 80 MPH, as there are just about any day with decent driving conditions.

I look in my rear view mirror and see a dozen cop cars about 1/4 mile back. They decend on me. As I am stopped, other cars continue to wiz by at 80 MPH or faster. But only I have the attention of all 12 cop cars. I am given a speeding ticket. One cop looks at me and says: "80 MPH dude? What an asshole you are".

I go to court and the Governor, who has recently been accused of financial fraud, paying for his hookers with state funds and drinking on the job, is in the audience. For some reason (maybe because I was driving my uncle's XKE Jag?) the Gov decides to make an example of me. I am fined $250 and have my licience suspended.

As I leave court, reporters surround me. For some reason, ME, and my speeding, are a big issues. Papers the next day are filled with stories about me.

"OldYanksFraud endangers thousands"
"It started at 8 when he stole candy... and has only gotten worse"
"Should crimals be allowed to drive Jags?"
"Divorce not enough for the Old guy"
"Secure people DO NOT SPEED"
"80YanksFan in denial with 'But everybody speeds'"
"The tip of the iceberg. What else lurks below the surface?"
"Old but not-so-wise... the story of an eroding society"

Yeah... I was speeding. Yeah... I broke the law.'
But this seems unfair.
Why was I singled out? Why are not other drivers, who did the EXACT same thing as I did, being prosecuted?

People, on every road, all over the country, speed every day.
Is there something wrong with a society that has a nationwide problem, with many, many speeders, singleing out ONE guy and making a huge story out of it?

You can criticize me if you like, but how would you feel if this happened to you?

17 51cq24   ~  Feb 8, 2009 12:27 pm

while some of us want to argue that steroids, which indisputably build muscle tissue and speed recovery from injuries, somehow aren't really performance enhancers, and others blame the whole culture from the commissioner to the media to the players, the truth is that steroids were always looked upon as an unfair advantage and wrong. it's easy to forgive players because everyone else was using, and to an extent i understand that attitude. but there was never a time when people didn't understand that it was cheating and that it was wrong. and whether 8.5%, 25%, 50%, or 75% of players used steroids at their peak, a good number did not. why not? maybe because they were scared of the adverse effects, but the idea that it was wrong and cheating was obviously a big deterrent. so while we'll never know exactly who used and who didn't (which is why i think we just have to judge everyone by the numbers anyway), let's not pretend that those who used them were doing something completely acceptable at the time and that they had no other choice or only an illusory choice. plenty of players went without steroids, even during the late 90s and early 00s. whether they took amphetamines or anything else is a separate issue, albeit one that we might consider more.

18 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 8, 2009 1:01 pm

[17] Some of us are basing our opinions off of scientific research (or the lack thereof), and not off of what we know about some of the substances taken by body builders in the 1980s. The term "steroid" is being used so broadly that I can understand your position, but using that logic, eating oregano and smoking marijuana are similar because both are herbs.

Also, it's easy to say now that everyone knew steroids was cheating, but when you live immersed in an ask don't tell environment, those lines get incredibly blurred. I am sure most of us face similar situations in our work and daily life. That isn't intended as an excuse...but just as perspective. Before treating steroid users as murders, I think everyone needs to step back a little.

Finally, I am not sure why amphetamines should be a separate issue when there is very good reason to believe they have a much more immediate and direct performance enhancing impact. Again, I am not sure why steroids elicit such a strong response, but I suspect it goes back to archetypal images of freakish muscle men hanging out an 1980s California beach. I think the notion that someone can transform themselves into a superhuman via injection scares us.

19 OldYanksFan   ~  Feb 8, 2009 2:12 pm

[17] [18]
Gentlemen... the issue is NOT steroids.. if/what/how much they effect a person. The issue should NOT be morals, either.

The morals, or moral ambiquity, of Steroid Use in MLB has already been discussed, for YEARS, in great detail, in many, many places.
There is probably no ground that has not been covered, and like Abortion and Religion, we will never arrive at anything near a consensus. The morals of "Steroid Use" could be argued Ad infinitum.

However, we know a number of players in MLB have done PEDs.
We have been through the Mitchell investigation already.

One issue is:
If we just found out that Joe Bucktooth, with 97 career MLB ABs and a career OPS+ of 87, tested positive for steroids in 2003....
would there be a discussion? Lots of newspaper and blog articles? All kinds of righteous indignation?

We KNOW over 100 players have been named, and we are aware there are hundreds more unnamed. And now, another specific player was just named.
A Mr. Alex Rodeiguez.

So, in the context of the FACTS we already know about, what are the issues here related to this specific event?

So IMHO, the issue is: What does naming ONE more player mean?

20 The Hawk   ~  Feb 8, 2009 2:27 pm

The issue is that A Rod apparently cheated. I really don't see how there's any confusion about that.

21 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 8, 2009 2:39 pm

[19] It means holier than though columnists and righteous fans can sit in moral judgment of another "rich, selfish, overpaid, phony" athlete. As you can see from the litany, which is often used when discussing modern athletes, the judgment started long before steroids. These allegations and revelations are just another outlet.

I think the bottom line is that people like drama, and they like cathartic experience of seeing someone else punished severely for even their mildest mistakes. So, if that means breaking the law by leaking confidential grand jury evidence, so be it. Who cares about the rights that protect us all when we can publicly embarass another "rich, selfish, overpaid, phony" athlete.

22 The Hawk   ~  Feb 8, 2009 2:59 pm

[21] All that may be true but I think it's myopic to not see the inherent interest a story like this holds. The "best player in baseball" CHEATED. Everything else is ancillary ... Might be interesting but any attempt to put those issues ahead of the primary one is contrived, imho.

And to somehow blame people's interest in the story on THEIR personal flaws (righteousness, or what have you) is really taking it too far.

23 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 8, 2009 3:14 pm

[22] Actually, what's myopic is looking at this story as strictly a case of the best player in baseball CHEATING. If anything, I am looking at this much more broadly, and believe that is the proper way to do so. Everything else isn't ancilliary…many elements of this story shouldn’t be secondary to whether a baseball player took steroids 6 years ago. Also, the issue of “cheating” is far from established. Again, until we know more about the substance and how Arod ingested it, you simply can not come to that definitive proclamation.

As to your second point, I am not blaming people’s interest in the story on their flaws…I am blaming people’s desire to judge without facts and be selective in doing so on those flaws.

24 The Hawk   ~  Feb 8, 2009 3:42 pm

[23] Well nowhere did I say it was "strictly" about A Rod cheating - I acknowledge that someone might find the ethics of a leaked lab report more compelling than those of the "best player in baseball" cheating. I'm merely pointing out that that and other issues, like journalistic integrity, are obviously secondary here. Especially in a Yankees blog. The man who was supposed to bring the HR record back to the Yankees clean will not.

I'm sure we could extend the scope even more broadly but how far are we really willing to go to take the spotlight off of A Rod's apparent steroid use?

And yeah, A Rod may have a great explanation, but since I didn't hear one yet, I'll go with what's being reported. His silence over the last 24 hours has been deafening ... At any rate I see more reason to believe he juiced than to believe there's a media conspiracy behind all this.

25 rbj   ~  Feb 8, 2009 4:12 pm

Some random thoughts.

Listening to the story on MLBN, I heard that Chad Curtis went to Gene Orza years ago complaining about steroids in baseball. And apparently Orza told him "what problem". Now, there was a good article on steroids in baseball years ago, and there's Canseco's book(s) and the Mitchell report. But to me it seems like journalists are in assassination mode. Going after Bonds, going after McGwire, going after Sosa, going after Clemens, and now going after A-Rod. They've been picking off a few of the biggest trees while really ignoring the whole forest of steroids throughout baseball -- and sports in general. Was there some sort of tacit acknowledgment/agreement, post 1994, (or even post 1991, with the steroid ban but no punishment), that steroid use would be tolerated as long as it was kept quiet? Did Selig and the owners and the agents and the players' union (and the networks/media?) collectively say "no" while shaking their heads "yes"?

And for young players coming into a culture of steroids, coupled with a long time culture of amphetamines (how legal was that), is steroid use seen less as "cheating" and more as "well that's the new regime." If certain behavior is against the rules, but tolerated or routinely broken, how much "cheating" is it? Past drug use is no disqualifier for the presidency, and I personally have in my younger days used lots of various substances. Heck, during the 1920s Babe Ruth and how many other players, and Americans, drank alcohol despite it not merely being illegal, but unconstitutional as well. And how many reporters have ever padded an expense account?

Now the 8% who tested positive has got to be a fraction of those who used. I doubt that the test covered everything, and as it was announced well in advance many players probably went off cycle. Wouldn't it be in the players' interest to come in under the 5% figure in order to avoid the more stringent test.

Ultimately I do come down on the side of it being cheating, but I don't view it as a simple black and white issue. There are too many variables here, many of which have gone off the rails in order to hold just a few people responsible for everything.

26 Joel   ~  Feb 8, 2009 4:51 pm

Of course using PEDs is cheating. If it wasn't cheating, all of these guys would have been open about their drug use. They hid their drug use because they knew it was wrong.

In addition to being a cheater, A-Rod is a liar who flatly denied using any PEDs on "60 Minutes."

And the fact that guys also take Speed, and have taken Speed for years doesn't excuse A-Rod, or anyone else for that matter.

A whole era of the game is under a huge cloud. The game needs new leadership and strict enforcement with very tough penalties.

Joe Jackson was one of the game's great players and he was banned for life. Nodody is bigger than the game.

27 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 8, 2009 5:35 pm

[24] For all we know, Arod may not even know he tested positive in the random sampling, and may not be sure if this report is accurate. If he took a supplement with Primobolan then he could have unknowingly tested positive. It seems silly to jump to a conclusion because he hasn't commented in 24 hours. It's not like there is a statute of limitations on opinions.

28 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 8, 2009 5:41 pm

[26] The game does have "strict enforcement with very tough penalties" because it has decided it now cares about this issue. Back in 2003, however, when this test allegedly took place, it don't not.

As for Arod being a "liar", well, I am going to go out on a limb and say everyone has lied at some point. In an age when "no comment" is like an admission, I really don't see how a celebrity can respond to all the questions they are asked without lying (unless they go all Manny and shun the media). While I agree that Arod should have declined the 60 minutes invitation if he felt he would have to lie, I think it is hypocritcal to express moral outrage because he "lied". When did they stop building houses out of glass?

29 FlyGirlFan   ~  Feb 8, 2009 5:58 pm

"Nim-Rod" as defined by the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary when non-capitalized and used as slang means "idiot" or "jerk." A new apt monikor (in my view) for A-Rod. Lets hope he takes a page from Andy Pettitte and owns up to it and moves on as best he can for the future of the team, rather than take a page from Roger Clemens. All I want from A-Rod at this point is that he be the clutch hitter is is paid to be in 2009 . . . and for nine more years.

30 rbj   ~  Feb 8, 2009 6:00 pm

[26] Steroid use is also governed by federal law. Saying you were using the stuff could get the DEA interested in you. Apparently it was well known within baseball, especially the clubhouse, just not talked about it. I'm not condoning or excusing PED use, it's just that the issue is much more complicated than "he cheated".

Baseball did have strict rules and punishment against certain drugs, such as cocaine (just ask Gooden, Strawberry and Howe). Yet they later on, in 1991, put in a rule against using PEDs, without any punishment. Couple that with the "chicks dig the long ball" ad campaign and one has to wonder whether there was some tacit approval on the part of management to use PEDs.

31 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 8, 2009 7:01 pm

[30] Actually, steroid use is not covered by federal law at all. Its steroid possession, without a valid doctor's prescription, that is illegal.

And the reason the rule (unwritten, IIRC) didn't go into MLB's books until 1991 is because it wasn't until 1990 that Congress passed the law making the possession of steroids (and other controlled substances) without a valid dr's prescription illegal in the first place.

32 51cq24   ~  Feb 8, 2009 7:09 pm

[18] william, please point me to a study that shows that steroids (not hgh) have no performance enhancing impact. i base my opinion on the fact that the point of taking anabolic steroids is to increase muscle mass and to recover from injury/stress faster. why do you think so many athletes take them? for someone so quick to claim there's no scientific evidence that steroids help and eager to distinguish between the types of steroids taken, you seem more than happy to lump amphetamines into the conversation. as i said, it might be useful to think more about what impact amphetamines have had on baseball over the years. but there's a clear difference, as steroids generally change your body and amphetamines are more about energy and focus. i'm not saying one or the other is better, just that they aren't the same.

33 The Hawk   ~  Feb 8, 2009 7:21 pm

[27] For all we know, space aliens from Alpha Centauri abducted A Rod and injected him with PEDs. Sure, there are a lot of things that COULD account for testing positive for steroids, and then clamming up about it. That's why god invented Occam's Razor.

[29] I wouldn't use that cause Nimrod is also a great and mythologized ancient king.

34 rbj   ~  Feb 8, 2009 7:43 pm

[31] Thanks for the clarification. Still, if you're going to use PEDs, you at least have to be part of a conspiracy to possess them, so there would still be illegal actions by the players. One reason to clam up.

Didn't the Olympics already have anti-doping rules in place before 1990/91? the point being, that if MLB and NFL, NBA, & NHL, etc. wanted to be pure they could have taken substantive actions before they did.

35 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 9, 2009 8:09 am

[34] Yeah, the Olympics had the rules for a long time, but there were no mannish-looking East German women swimmers in MLB either. Remember too that it wasn't until the 80s were weight lifting was considered good by most ball players. Most guys before that thought that bulking up would hurt, not help.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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