Monday, February 09, 2009

Say It Ain't So, [Another] Sad Day For Baseball

I have been a fan of Alex Rodriguez since he was the the top draft pick who was a sure fire superstar like Ken Griffey, Jr. I never understood the hate that he drew from fans and some in the media. He was too perfect (re: insincere) in interviews and you just knew he wasn't being square with you. Or that was the knock against him. I never begrudged him his 10-year, $252 million contract. Many succumbed to ugly jealously and criticized him for the money and his prickly perfectionism. The glare and scrutiny increased exponentially when the Texas Rangers dumped his contract on the only team that could handle its size, the New York Yankees.

A-Rod has been the most talented and arguably best player in baseball for the last decade. Now we learn that his best just wasn't good enough. He admitted today to using performance enhancing drugs during the 2001, 2002 and 2003 seasons. A reason he gives was the stress brought on by The Contract.

I haven't yet fully processed the impact of this revelation. But the sadness and deep melancholy among the baseball press is palpable. In a few short years, A-Rod was to be "The One" who would cleanse the sport of its most egregious embarrassment, Barry Bonds' holding of the All-Time Home Run Crown.

That can't happen now.

Now all of us who love the game must come to grips with the fact that steroids, HGH and other performance enhancing drugs were not the exception but the rule in baseball since at least the early 1990's. Whatever innocence we thought an A-Rod assault on Barry Bonds' record could restore is gone forever.

Major League Baseball will never be the same to its fans. They're all suspect now. They're just like the rest of us. Flawed, prideful and all too human.

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