To add fuel to the “don’t like him” fire, he cheated. He then lied about cheating. And then he lied again.
All of that said, if anyone who starred in MLB between 1985-2005 should be in the Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, Alex Rodriguez should.
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As Jose Canseco tried to tell us years ago, it’s clear that steroid use in Major League Baseball was rampant. For a 15-20 year period a solid percentage of players, both pitchers and every day players, were using performance enhancing drugs. We’ll never know exactly what the percentage was, but we can agree it was significant. With every A-Rod we discover as truly guilty, it feels more and more like that percentage was higher than we imagined.
We’ve come to find out that a lot of the PED users were the most successful players of the era. The all-time home run leader. Three different members of the 600 home run club. The most dominant right handed pitcher of all time.
We’re able to hold out hope that there were some who abstained. Derek Jeter people say, is one of the clean ones. The sweet swing of Ken Griffey Jr. wasn’t assisted by the cream and the clear, we all tell each other.
But what if Jeter and Griffey were found to be cheaters too? Then what?
With as commonplace as steroid use was, would you really be that surprised if you woke up tomorrow and read that Jeter and Griffey were among the guilty? Though disappointed, would you really be surprised?
Because the line we’ve drawn is so thin, so blurry, between those who were right and wrong, we shouldn’t draw any line at all. Maybe we just draw that line to feel better about ourselves. The ones who sat and enjoyed all of the great baseball that the so-called cheaters provided for us. Maybe if we can believe that at least some of the greatness was legit, that we’re absolved of our part in it all.
I say it’s all or it’s nothing. I say by punishing select players who just happened to get caught like Bonds and Rodriguez, all we’re doing is punishing the guys who happened to be the best at a bad time.
It’s safe to say that many players who haven’t been named, were guilty. Either we’re choosing to let them slide and turn our heads because we don’t know for sure, or we’re the best guessers the world has ever known. Some were easy to spot, but not all of them. By sight and performance alone, would you have guessed Andy Pettitte was one of the guilty ones? I wouldn’t have. Using PED’s doesn’t always make your head and neck triple in size like Bonds.
By choosing to grant exceptions for admitting what they’ve done, like we seem to have done with Petite, we’ve chosen to put a moral clause into a place that has never had such a thing. There are lots of bad guys and liars in the Hall Of Fame. Just because Pettitte admitted what he did, and Clemens did not, does not change what they both did on and off the field. Again, I say it’s all or nothing.
If we could be sure that the entire league was clean, I contend that Bonds, McGwire, and the rest of the shamed would still have been our best players. The numbers would not have been as inflated, but they still would have been the best. Let’s forget the total numbers and just remember who dominated. The player who went from 12 home runs to 18 with steroids is no less guilty than the guy who went from 40 to 60. He’s probably just less talented.
Just because the best players of the steroid era go to the Hall Of Fame, will not erase what they, and what hundreds of average, pretty good, and terrible players did. Not allowing them into the Hall won’t erase them from history, like we’d hope.
We do not absolve them of their wrongdoing by acknowledging their greatness.
They were playing by different rules. They all were. Remember? We were the ones who let them.