A-Rod took the high road in admitting steroid use

9 02 2009

Since the rumor was released that Alex Rodriguez had taken steroids, I had wondered how he would respond, and I’m pleasantly surprised that he took the high road and admitted that he had indeed cheated.  Now we know for sure, by his own admission, that A-Rod took steroids for at least 3 years (2001-2003) and failed a drug test in 2003.

Hopefully he’s telling the truth that it was only for 3 years.  But we don’t know for sure.  He has blatantly lied before, such as in an interview with Katie Couric in December 2007:

Couric: “For the record, have you ever used steroids, human growth hormone, or any other performance-enhancing substance?”
A-Rod: “No.”
Couric: “Have you ever been tempted to use any of those things?”
A-Rod: “No.”
Couric: “You never felt like, ‘This guy’s doing it, maybe I should look into this, too? He’s getting better numbers, playing better ball.'”
A-Rod: “I’ve never felt overmatched on the baseball field.  I’ve always been in a very strong, dominant position.  And I felt that if I did my work as I’ve done since I was, you know, a rookie back in Seattle, I didn’t have a problem competing at any level.  So, no.”

Obviously he knew he was lying then.  So it’s difficult to fully believe him now.  Plus, he danced around some of the questions.  But at least he admitted to using steroids.  He didn’t take the path of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, making some lame excuses.  A-Rod took responsibility for his actions, which is a rare thing these days.  It’s still going to be a difficult season for him, having to deal with the press and the fans.  I’m sure he will hear “A-Fraud” and “A-Roid” a LOT.  But this path is still better than covering the truth.  Honesty really is the best way.

Now about his statistics, I have some thoughts on that which I haven’t heard others making on TV.  Some people make the point that even though A-Rod failed the test in 2003, he hasn’t failed any tests since.  That is true.  However, that doesn’t prove that his current statistics are “clean”.  He used steroids to build muscle mass quicker than normally possible.  He also still works out as hard as anyone else in the game (according to the new book by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci).  He developed a lot of muscle while using steroids, and even if he’s clean now (keep in mind that some performance-enhancing drugs still cannot be detected), his current build has been developed through the use of steroids.  So even if A-Rod hits .300 with 45 HR this year and he hasn’t failed a drug test since 2003, it doesn’t mean this year’s statistics are “clean” or non-tainted.

I’m tired of the current “steroid era”, and I’m ready to move on.  I realize that’s nearly impossible right now because not all PEDs can be detected, but here’s what I think should happen if baseball and the players’ union really wants to get serious about stopping the cheating.  All players should have to give blood and urine samples at random times throughout the year; these samples are stored for years, while the drug detecting technology catches up with the cheating.  Then if it proven that a player cheated, he should be suspended.

If you want to read more into what this does to baseball long-term, here’s a good article about what baseball lost because of illegal performance-enhancing drugs, and specifically A-Rod’s use of them.

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