Thoughts on A-Rod

In case you missed, Sports Illustrated broke the story this weekend that Alex Rodriguez’s 2003 “anonymous” drug test revealed use of an anabolic steroid. Here are some of my thoughts on the issue.

— This is an absolute embarrassment to the US government. Here we have a private organization implementing a program to fix a problem that government officials wanted fixed. Players did not have to agree to random testing, and without the 2003 anonymous testing we might have a very different MLB drug policy today. The samples ultimately got used for something other than their intended purpose, and people wonder why players are were to reluctant to agree to testing in the first place? President Obama is right to shut down Gitmo for violating civil rights. He should shut down the BALCO case as well. The proper role of government isn’t to satisfy our curiosity about doping in sports. This has what this case is about.

— Why didn’t the union destroy the tests? My guess is that the assumed the government would not be able to get their hands on the list—why would they think that the government might want this?—and the union wanted to have the information for its own purposes. I have argued that it’s in the player’s interest to test each other, owners shouldn’t care. I suspect that union leaders could find a lot of uses for these tests. For example, if a player fails a test now and claims it must be a false positive, the union could benefit from knowing if the player had used before when it plans its defense

— It’s way to early to think about Hall of Fame implications. We have no idea about how we’re going to think about steroid use in the future.

— Releasing the remainder of the 104 names isn’t fair. If one name leaked off a list of homosexual players who wished to remain in the closet, would it be fair to out the remaining names? What happened to A-Rod was unfair, but that doesn’t mean that releasing the names of other players is now morally acceptable. If players don’t want their names trickling out, then individual players on the list can reveal this on their own.

— What’s A-Rod’s strategy going to be? Many have suggested that he “come clean” and apologize like Andy Pettitte did. The Pettitte woe-is-me act won’t work for A-Rod. We didn’t forgive Pettitte because we thought he was sorry. He wasn’t sorry, because he changed his story of “used once” to “used twice” when new details came up. Pettitte got a pass because he’s liked, not for being honest. I think the strategy is going to be sue everybody. Whoever leaked this information did so illegally, and the only way to find out who did it is to take the whole thing down. Maybe he’ll cop to some use, I don’t know; but, I think this is going to get very ugly.

Addendum: King Kaufman demonstrates why the Andy Pettitte defense won’t work for A-Rod.

…Alex Rodriguez is Alex Rodriguez. He can’t scratch his ear without somebody declaring that he symbolizes all that’s wrong, evil and distorted with baseball, sports, America, humanity and the universe. I mean, did you see him scratch his ear?

Update: And now we can test if the Pettitte strategy works for A-Rod.

“When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day,” Rodriguez told ESPN’s Peter Gammons in an interview in Miami Beach, Fla. “Back then, [baseball] was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve. I wanted to prove to everyone I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time.

“I did take a banned substance. For that, I’m very sorry and deeply regretful.”

10 Responses “Thoughts on A-Rod”

  1. Cliff says:

    Agreed that it is an embarassment to the government.  Basically, it can’t keep sealed information sealed.  Or at least, we think so.  However, on an earlier round of released info regarding the “steroid / BALCO cases”, it was actually a defense attorney (supposedly representing the interests of an accused person) who leaked the information.  

    “Players didn’t have to agree to random testing”.  No, they just could have continued with their obstinance in face of public opinion.  I do think it is possible that they could have been more obstinate, but I don’t think it would have been productive for the players.

    Do people have the right to obstruct justice and commit perjury when they disapprove of the government’s policies?  Basically, most informed persons are 90% certain (and, accurately so, not biasedly so) that upon review of all credible evidence that Barry Bonds used steroids and lied under oath when given immunity.  This is like Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby, Bill Clinton, and all sorts of other people.  If law enforcement doesn’t get the truth from people, it MUST proceed forecefully against perjuryand obstruciton of justice. 

  2. We can debate the other 103 names being given, but to use homosexuality as a comparison is not a fair one.  Being gay doesn’t make them better baseball players, but steroids do.

  3. Ken Houghton says:

    Troy Patterson – Prove it.  No one else ever has.

    A-Rod, I note for the record,  has never perjured himself about steroid use.

  4. 55 says:

    “If one name leaked off a list of homosexual players who wished to remain in the closet, would it be fair to out the remaining names? ”

    Are you really comparing deciding when your sexuality is outed to cheating and taking illegal substances? 

    Edit: Sorry, I didn’t see comment #2. But I agree with him.

  5. JC says:

    Yes. Both groups have had their privacy violated.

  6. Donald A. Coffin says:

    I will note that when this story broke in the Chicago Tribune, two columnists–Phil Rogers and Rick Morrisey–rushed to say that Rodrigues had to apologize now.  In addition to assuming that the leak contains accurate information, this is consistent with the way both writers have treated all the anonymously-provided stuff on drug use…if someone says it happened, it must be true, and all the player can do is confess.

    And the Trib has a survey of its readers, in which the choices were frames to induce people to select option 3–the “I’m disgusted and we can never trust the performance records.” 

  7. Rick says:

    Opening caveat. I do not like A-Rod.
    That, being said. I’m pissed that he was named. I was really hoping that he was clean. It would be nice if the one person that could break the HR record was untarnished.
    What is also of great interest here is that Orza is accused of notifying him of impending drug tests. You also have to wonder how many of the others on the list were also warned in advance. Big can of worms there.

  8. Jeremiah says:

    I’m tired of hearing all the “Poor A-rod, this should never have gotten out” BS.  Sure, if the union was honest and competent, this never would have reached the public.  But he could have avoided it all by not taking steroids in the first place.  It’s not like an innocent person’s rights were trampled.  The same goes for the 103 other people on the list.  They cheated; I don’t think they deserve the right to privacy.  I know the courts might say differently, but that’s my opinion.

  9. Millsy says:

    I’m not usually one to read ESPN articles.  But your link, JC, linked me to Jayson Stark’s article.  I can’t describe it as anything less than shameful.
    I’m absolutely tired of all of this.  Epstein’s story is described as ‘impeccably reported’.  Really?  Because I would describe it as unethical…reporting confidential medical information.  It’s all a sad tale of men holding onto a past that doesn’t exist.  I find it pathetic that it’s acceptable to have partying with drinking and drugs (Mantle, Ruth, etc.), but not acceptable to take all the stops to improve oneself in the game.  Whether it’s weight training, nutrition, surgical procedures, conditioning, practicing year round, or steroids, why is the line drawn here?  Are we to believe that those players in the past weren’t looking for every edge they could find?  Doubtful.  It’s understood that different generations of baseball produce different types of performances.  Whether or not someone took steroids doesn’t change the fact that they still acheived what they did.  They did it.  They stood there on the field, swung the bat, threw the ball, caught the ball.  We all watched it with awe.  I don’t understand it.  I think it’s a generation of people outraged against issues they don’t fully understand.  Maybe we should go ahead and put an asterisk on Roger Maris’ 61 home runs (and those that followed) since they all had 162 games, just like before.

    Acting as if we all have higher morals is a waste of time.  It’s quit unfair to those actually put in the situation.  Can anyone honestly tell me that for $10 million a year, you wouldn’t take steroids?  If you think you can, I won’t believe you anyway.

  10. Donald A. Coffin says:

    One commenter writes:  “It’s not like an innocent person’s rights were trampled. ”

    This is the same argument made against rules prohibiting unlawful seizures of evidence, unlawfully obtained confessions…they were guilty, they deserved it.

    The protections of rights are there to protect all of us, and it is a serious mistake to think that only the rights of the guilty will be infringed.