On Saturday, Sports Illustrated revealed that Yankees star Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids six years ago. In less time than it takes to finish reading the article, “A-Fraud” and “A-Roid” shirts were already for sale all over the internet. Cries of shock and horror echoed through the land from fans of the highest paid player in baseball, to those who live to despise him. The steroid stamp has been printed on A-Rod. Now let the public outrage unleash by letting this discussion push you through your end of football season blues.
But I say “of course.” All the baseball players in this era do steroids. It is the steroid era in baseball. How is everyone shocked every time a new player is revealed to have cheated when it is clear that they all do it? At some point or another, some more than others, some using steroids, some using crafty varieties of the same concept, all of the major league baseball players have used performance enhancing drugs. The issue truly is that clear. I know it still breaks many hearts: you can see some fans look like little leaguers in their eyes filled with disappointment for the sanctity of the game, but they all do it. Baseball players at this level live for the competition and use to try to get ahead or to keep up. Don’t pretend your favorite player is the exception. They all have done it at one point or another.
Sadly, steroids have worked on a certain level. From exciting performance to gaudy statistics, steroids have sold tickets. The never-ending morality issue of performance enhancing drugs has sparked interest.
It is time to accept that you can more or less put an asterisk on this generation of baseball, and take it for what it is: The Steroid Era in Baseball. Would you believe if a guy told you that he lived in a frat house and didn’t drink? Would you believe if a bartender said that he or she had never had a drink on the job? No, of course you would not buy into those concepts because you understand subculture and logic. Some frat boys drink more than others, but they all have a beer at some point. Some bartenders drink more on the job than others, but they all have taken a shot with a patron at some point.
The biggest issue about this is really: where does baseball go from here? Can baseball be cleaned up? Where science exists to detect performance enhancing drugs, science also exists to find new ways to cover up the presence of such drugs a player’s system. Drugs and the ability to mask drugs will constantly play leap frog. Major League Baseball would require significant efforts to enforce the strictest rules with the harshest punishments while investing time, money and resources in trying to stay ahead in the scientific race against designer drugs. Instead of slowly revealing that players are and have been guilty, baseball needs to look forward and decide how to shape the future of America’s pastime.
Originally published on February 11th in Citizen News (Sherman, New Fairfield Edition)