Monday, February 09, 2009

The Lightning A-Rod

It's been a feeding frenzy here in New York papers over the last two days, as it seems writers in all the papers want Alex Rodriguez to come clean about the failed 2003 steroid test.

And in today's Daily News, that paragon of virtue, Bill Madden, wants the Yankees to cut Slappy and eat the remaining $270 million New York owes him. (What the hell has this moron been smoking?)

No matter what Rodriguez does, he has been tarnished by what has occurred over the last few days. Even if he's been clean over the last six years and remains clean for life, he still failed a steroid test in 2003, and that will never be forgotten. If comes out and admits it, he will forever be known as a juicer, and if he stonewalls like Bonds and Clemens did, he will be going down the same slippery slope they did. (Although he will not be facing any fines, suspensions or prosecution.)

There have been comparisons to what Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi did after they got caught and were exposed as juicers. But Rodriguez has far more to lose than they did. Neither Pettitte nor Giambalco are Hall of Fame candidates. Rodriguez can probably kiss that goodbye after the events of this weekend. The other two weren't lightning rods for controversy the way Slappy is. (Comparisons to Bonds and Clemens are probably closer to where Slappy is right now.)

But I find it very interesting that only Slappy was named by the Sports Illustrated story, by four independent sources. What about the other 103 players who failed that steroid test in 2003? Why weren't any other names leaked? I don't believe in conspiracy theories, but I think that question needs to be answered. Nearly 9% of all MLB players failed that test in 2003, and in light of Rodriguez being outed, you have to imagine the remaining 103 are rather nervous right now. (And according to the report, all players who failed that test were notified of it at the time.)

Curt Schilling over the weekend on his "38 Pitches" site said that he's clean and that the 103 players' names should now all be exposed. That's a bit ticklish, as when the test was originally given, the players anonimity was promised. The Federal government seized the steroid results when they were gathering evidence in the BALCO investigation in 2004, so they knew the names. I'm sure fans all over America are wondering exactly who was clean and who was dirty from that infamous test, and naming the remaining 103 would put an end to that speculation. But those players also have rights. But I also think it's just a matter of time before the names surface, as reporters will be digging for the truth.

Who leaked Rodriguez' name to Sports Illustrated? We may never know this. What we do know is that a lot of people were to blame for the steroid mess: MLB for looking the other way while it was going on, the players union for stonewalling steroid testing for years, and the dirty players themselves for cheating.

It will be interesting over the next few days to see what Slappy does. He's not exactly overloaded with options. But whatever his next move is, he's been tarnished by this entire revelation. And no matter how you slice it, the Yankees are stuck with him for the next nine years, as they won't be eating over a quarter-billion dollars they owe him.

Well, Hank, you wanted A-Rod. You wound up with A-Roid. Deal with it.

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