With the recent report that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003, baseball and sports fans across the nation must wake up and accept the fact that baseball is dirty, and it's not going to be clean any time soon.
Just think back to August 7, 2007. Barry Bonds smashed a 3-2 pitch from Washington's Mike Bacsik. As Bonds' career home run #756 cleared the right-center field wall, a dark and ominous cloud seemed to crawl out over the evening sky. No longer could fans deny the permanent scar steroids would leave on the game of baseball. The one silver lining to the steroid cloud was that hopefully, someday, Alex Rodriguez will continue his pace to break Bonds' career home run record, once again restoring some semblance of honor to the most hallowed record in sports.
Sports Illustrated's report that A-Rod tested positive for steroids has erased any hope of a silver lining. Instead, baseball's steroid cloud has cast an imposing shadow over the game like one of the alien ships from Independence Day. The problem can no longer be brushed aside. And if it's not dealt with, game over.
Not sure how baseball can clean up this mess. The problem seems too widespread to simply "solve" over the course of a season or two. And what's worse, is the fans don't seem to care that some of these all-star caliber players are doing it dirty. Oh, sure, the ones who don't admit to it and disgracefully fade into infamy (Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire) will be vilified at least until they admit some guilt. But what about Jason Giambi or Andy Pettitte?
Alex Rodriguez's worst baseball sin - other than his post-season play - was really only signing a monster contract with the Texas Rangers for a quarter-billion dollars before moving to the hated New York Yankees a few seasons later. But now, the man formerly known as Pay-Rod has become A-Fraud. And what a fraud he's had going. His 2003 MVP season is tarnished, and based on history, his only chance at redemption in the court of public option would most likely be to apologize without being specific and hope people move on. The only problem with that logic is that if Rodriguez truly does end up challenging Barry Bonds' career home run record, these steroid reports will cloud people's judgment of the accomplishment. Guys like Pettitte or Giambi have still played well after battling steroid reports, but neither of them challenged any of those mega-records in sports.
And so A-Roid must now decide how he will address these allegations. Ignore them, and they will only intensify. Accept them, and have a chance at salvation. Fight them, and face a conviction in the court of public opinion. There is no easy way out.
The same can be said for Bug Selig and Major League Baseball. With the man who was recently heralded as the salvation compared to Bonds' disgrace of the record books, now no one is above scrutiny. And no one is above speculation of guilt. Unles the MLB were to have openly public testing results - something that would never be allowed because of the privacy of medical records, not to mention an incredibly strong players union - the validity of all baseball players must come into question.