The economy is in shambles. Our elected representatives are squabbling over an economic stimulus bill. People are losing their jobs in droves. Newspaper companies are hemmorhaging reporters and other staffers. Homes are being foreclosed. The numbers of the unemployed are skyrocketing. The sky may not be falling, exactly, but you could be forgiven for thinking you see shadows above you.
So I’m going to blog about…baseball. Yup. Specifically the big news that Alex Rodriguez has admitted to using steroids.
Quick explanation for you non-baseball folk: Alex Rodriguez is the current third baseman for the New York Yankees and arguably the best player in baseball. He’s a perennial All Star, a three-time Most Valuable Player award winner. He is also the highest-paid player in baseball, having signed an exorbitant $252 million, 10-year contract with the Texas Rangers in 2001.
So Rodriguez just admitted to using two performance-enhancing drugs during the 2001-2003 period: testosterone and Primobolan, which can be taken by mouth or intravenously. Major League Baseball had outlawed the use of steroids since 1991 but did not test for them until 2003, which was a pretty lame effort even then (that’s my editorial opinion). Rodriguez is on the record as denying having ever used steroids. Until now.
I have to say, I’m really disappointed. I am certainly no A-Rod fan. Not in the least. But I had hoped he was clean and that maybe one day, he’d break Barry Bonds’ home run record and restore glory to that achievement. When Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s home run record on August 8, 2007, I felt depressed. Not only had Bonds broken a record long held by a player who once played for my own favorite team, but he broke the record held by very decent, honorable man who came by his home runs honestly. That is, Aaron used a bat and his strength, not “the cream and the clear.” It disgusted me to see the home run record go to someone who (allegedly!) wasn’t clean when he sent so many baseballs flying over the wall into McCovey Cove. I had hoped Alex Rodriguez could put that sordid little chapter of baseball firmly in the past, as a memory.
Well, so much for that hope. Rodriguez’s interview with ESPN’s Peter Gammons airs later today. I’m glad that A-Rod admits it. I’m glad that he says he’s sorry. At the very least, maybe some of the kids who look up to him–looked up to him–will understand that it does matter that you admit to your mistakes and apologize for them. At least, I hope that’s the case. I hope something good can come out of this.
Because isn’t baseball supposed to take our minds off our troubles? Not create new ones, like how to talk to your little boy about why you’re not supposed to cheat, even though famous people do it and make big bucks?