It was a beautiful day here, with temperatures in the 50's and our whole clan at a family birthday party in Butler.
Unfortunately all that good will was ruined tonight,by a casual comment I overheard in a parking lot. According to Sports Illustrated, and allegedly collaborated by four sources, Yankee Alex Rodriguez tested positive for performance enhancing chemicals in his 2003 MVP season.
Rationally, I am outraged by the leak. The 2003 tests were done under unconditional anonymity so MLB could assess the extent of the problem. For the results to be leaked wholesale to the public is a breach of contractual obligations and a clear violation of the civil rights of the players. Saying 'oh, well, it's out now' is bunk - it should never have seen the light of day, and whoever leaked it should face the appropriate penalties.
That's what my mind is saying. Meanwhile, my heart is broken.
ARod is my favorite current-era player. When Smiley was only a few months old I took him to see Rodriguez at Miller Parker, and he honored my boy by hitting his 399th and 400th home runs that day. I don't care if he is a flake, or emotionally fragile, if he likes masculine women or is a grand person or a bum; I admired his talent, his God given over abundance of talent.
To see his name on that list is devastating.
One, he didn't need steroids. He's been a prized hitter since he was a teen, and was named Baseball America's top something or another in high school. For him to resort to 'roids is just another sign of his emotional vulnerability, his yearning for acceptance and to be 'one of the boys'. It's sad. Pathetic even.
Two, the implications for MLB are monumental. Yes, the results were confidential, and presumably Arod has tested clean (and posted mammoth numbers) in the years since the test in question. But from this point on there can be no doubt - this entire era, from the early '90's until the midpoint of this decade, is an ethical quagmire. Sure, Bonds was the poster child for this issue, but did you ever truly doubt he was doped? I doubt it. Now, everyone is a suspect. Who's clean, and who just hasn't been caught? Who's numbers are 'real' and who's are inflated? What records are sacrosanct, and which are frauds?
We'll never know.
Oh, in time other issues in the sport will eclipse this, and perhaps steroids will be so commonplace or insignificant as to no longer warrant our attention. What's a little injection of growth hormone in 2030 when you can slide down to Tijuana and have your DNA beefed up to quicken your reflexes?
But for now, the sport is tainted. I don't want this to be pro-wrestling, where you look around constantly and wonder where the fix will come in.
Sadly I think that's what it's come down to today, and it's a lousy shame.