A-Rod’s worries are just beginning
For those of you who were never comfortable with the idea of Alex Rodriguez saving the game of baseball from Barry Bonds, your worries are over.
A-Rod’s worries are just beginning.
The Sports Illustrated report that says Rodriguez was one of 104 major league players to test positive for steroids in 2003 wasn’t supposed to be made public. That’s about the only thing A-Rod can say in his defense whenever he chooses to speak on the matter.
Now there is no saving baseball, not for the foreseeable future, anyway.
Commissioner Bud Selig will tell you that attendance and revenues were the highest ever in 2008 and that the game doesn’t need to be saved.
Bonds, the game’s all-time home run king with 762, awaits trial on one coast and hopes that a federal judge will toss out some of the more damaging evidence that he was a major steroids user during his home run reign this decade.
On the opposite coast, Roger Clemens, the finest pitcher of the last half-century, may face a federal grand jury indictment due to evidence that his DNA has been linked to syringes that his former trainer says he used to inject Clemens with steroids and HGH.
Even if Rodriguez has been unloved by Yankees fans since leaving the Rangers five years ago, even if his teammates regard him as a phony, it was encouraging to some that Rodriguez would surpass Bonds in home runs and remove the stain of steroids from sports’ most hallowed record.
Rodriguez, with 553 home runs, is 209 short of Bonds’ mark. The Yankees third baseman won’t turn 34 until this summer, so the feeling was that by the summer of 2014, a new home-run champ would make us forget all the ugliness that Bonds and the BALCO scandal have generated.
Now the ugliness with A-Rod is just getting started.
Until the SI report, the only evidence that Rodriguez had been a steroids user came from Jose Canseco’s second book, Vindicated, released last year.
Although Canseco’s accusations in his first book, Juiced, proved to be on the mark almost down the line, he said in his second book only that he had introduced Rodriguez to a steroids dealer. Canseco said he assumed A-Rod had become a steroids user but could not be certain.
Now we must assume that A-Rod is as dirty as all the rest. All of his magnificent achievements and what was, until Saturday, his dead certain status as a Hall of Famer have been placed on hold.
That is going to make life especially tough for a player as addicted to recognition of his own greatness as Rodriguez.
In his book, The Yankee Years, former New York manager Joe Torre explained how one time he was trying to get Rodriguez to be like the other players. Unlike his teammates, A-Rod had his own clubhouse attendant who would be summoned for even the smallest chores.
Torre said he asked Rodriguez just to get his own coffee or water some time. Minutes later, Rodriguez came by the manager’s office to show him he had, in fact, gotten his own coffee.
“That wasn’t even the point,” Torre said. “The point was to just be one of the guys. He didn’t get it. Alex needs that. He needs to be that level above.
“Alex is all about the game. He needs all of the statistics. He needs every record imaginable. And he needs people to make a fuss over him.”
A three-time MVP and a 12-time All-Star, Rodriguez has all the records anyone needs.
The fuss over him?
That’s just getting started.