So I woke up Tuesday morning and I heard that Alex Rodriguez is going to face the New York Media. It was to be a show down for the ages. They ask all the questions that Peter Gammons forgot, and under there steely gaze A-Rod would wilt like he was batting in the 9th inning in October.
Well, at least that’s what was supposed to happen and then I started to wonder.
Could A-Rod getting caught really be good for baseball?
I’ll let you catch your breath before I continue on down this path. I am not about to suggest that I think steroids, there use and abuse has any place in this game. Not Coke, Greenies or HGH, not a single one of them is good for baseball.
But can we make their legacy something. By we, I am talking the royal we, you, us, baseball, the people that love it,cherish and celebrate it. The numbers are what they are…..don’t forget the Asterisk.
But something else has happened, something very genuine. I mean we can be serious for a moment, the steroid scandal is kind of like a bell. You can’t unring a bell, and you can’t pick and choose which numbers are legit. To be fair without the leak and/or release of the results of ever drug test ever conducted we’ll never know.
Ken Griffey Jr.? Are his 600 plus homeruns legitimate? Some would say of course they are, look at that sweet swing. True, but wouldn’t steroid use explain this knee conditions, and you can’t tell me with the ability to speed up the healing process wasn’t an option considering the amount of time he missed due to injury.
What about Howard, Ortiz, Thome, Pujols and Manny? What about Miguel Cabrera? He wouldn’t break into the Majors in 2003 but he’s 25 years old with 175 homeruns, should we question every last cheese puff or potential needle that entered his body in the minors?
All that being said my intention here wasn’t to muddy the waters around guys that have yet to have their so far good names dragged through the mud. My point is that we have to do what we can to clean up the game, but dirt digging and claims of indiscretions from 2003 aren’t going to do that.
Luckily I believe that A-Rod and his outing have done what Bug Selig couldn’t do, what Senator George Mitchell couldn’t do, what House Government Reform Committee was unable to do, what the Players Association has been unwilling to do. That is genuinely starting to heal baseball.
In the broadest sense this will help baseball from the point of view of the fans, players and owners. I’ll start with the fans, and then describe the betterment of the game from the other you points of view later. This could get a little long. So I promise I’ll break it up for you.
Let’s start with the Fans of the grand old game. Our first reaction to steriods was to be expected. We were outraged, upset and indignant. As a collective we acted exactly how social scientists would have predicted. We started tearing through the 5 stages of grief.
1 – Denial. There was no way all our home records were brought down by these Juicers? Was there?
2 – Anger. How could they do this to us? How could they do this to baseball?
3 – Bargaining. Every time we saw another name we’d make one of two deals. If one more star comes up Dirty I am done with this game! Or that has to be the last one right? I’ll give anything for this to be the last one.
4 – Depression. If you guys are like me you didn’t want to follow baseball anymore. You questioned yourself, you fandom. You still loved the game, but felt like you’d been hurt too many times.
Now this is where you come in.
5 – Acceptance. You can admit it, it’s ok, and I saw them too. I saw the articles, and was battered and bruised by the Colin Cowherd’s of the world that said. I don’t care, what’s done is done. Juicer or not, give me interesting, screw the integrity of the game. Who gives a flying flip if he did them or not? They were all on them, so what?
If was at that moment a rumble started, somewhere in the pit of a collective stomach. A rumble that said, the MLB isn’t baseball. It’s just a league. People were rejuvenated. See we had given the MLB power over our game; they were its care taker. Under their watch, it had fallen, fallen into a state of disrepair. Like a little kid with a skinned knee. He knew we must pick it up, dust it off. Start cleaning out the wound. You remember being seven, the rubbing alcohol is going to sting. In the long run, it’s worth it. Alan Bug Selig only wanted to talked Revenues and Attendance. What Bud failed to tell you is everything in an America was up, the Dow Jones was up, the Real Estate Market was up, and the Price of Gas was up. Revenue’s aren’t the indicator of a strong game of baseball.
That is like saying what is the great movie of all time? People will say the Godfather, Citizen Cane, Gone with the Wind, not a single one of them is in the top 50 in Revenue. According to Old Bud the best five films ever are as follows, Titanic, the Dark Knight, Star Wars Episode 4, Shrek 2, and E.T.; does that seem wrong to anyone else? As a matter of fact only 3 of the top 30 all time were shot before 1990. Only 5 of the top 50 were filmed before 1990, and in that top 50 we have movies like Night at the Museum, Dr. Seuss: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone, Meet the Fockers, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.. According to the American Film Institute only 5 movies made since 1990 crack the top 100 and none are in the top 50. Oh yeah and of those 5, one are in the top 50 in revenue.
Now that being said, A-Rod some how managed to take that group, you know the one that missed baseball and all it’s glory. His positive test some how seemed to bring together a group less interested in his persecution and more interested in saving their game. Restoring it so that when he was passed on, it was in a condition that their fathers would’ve recognized.
A-Rod was the one we could believe in. We hated him, but as I’ve said before we hated him for all the right reasons. He was really good and he was a New York Yankee. In baseball those two tend to combine into a lot of hate. But again the good kind, the I love my team and hate you cause your not on it kind. A-Rod was a player we all wanted to have on our team. Don’t get self righteous Sox fan, you acted like a spurned lover when we was traded to the Yankees.
But he looked Katie Couric in the eye and said, never. Never had he taken steroids, never had he thought about taking steroids. And at 553 home runs it would only be a matter of time until Bond’s was wiped off the books. Then it slipped, maybe never wasn’t a time that included 2001-2003.
Maybe never wasn’t as all inclusive a statement as we had thought after all. But I will tell you what never now means. Never will we give them our game back. We the fans now must hold the standards up and decide who measures up. We must demand more as the Owners, Commissioner, Players Association Heads, and Players themselves weren’t willing to do it.
If we can be fair, this A-Rod positive test was just galvanizing force we needed. How will this affect the owners? How is it a positive for the game as far as the PA and Players are concerned? Well that I will cover in my next article, so yeah there will be a part two and three.
But for now understand simply, it’s not there game it’s ours. They’ve proven they can take care of it anymore. So let’s take it back.
To quote Zach Del Rocha, who had a very different vision of an America, “It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime, what better place than here, what better time than now.”