FOX’s Ken Rosenthal published an article today regarding the Alex Rodriguez situation and PED’s. I’ll let you click on and read the aforelinked article yourselves, however he brings up an interesting point in that Rodriguez undoubtedly knows the names of numerous current users of PED’s around baseball. Obviously the name that fans of the Baltimore Orioles care about (as much as that of Rodriguez himself) is David Ortiz. Quite frankly, I would submit that both the local Boston media as well as national pundits have largely accepted Ortiz’s stance in that he’s never used or bought PED’s, but he can’t be sure what he’s purchased over-the-counter. Personally I think that’s akin to giving the guy a pass simply because he’s thought of as a “good guy.” But that’s just me.
That aside, what Mr. Rosenthal seems to be suggesting is that Rodriguez might be employing an “if I’m going down, you’re all going down
with me” tactic. On one hand I might actually understand that. Even if in your heart you know you’ve done something wrong, there does appear to be some relative unfairness to the fact that you’re the only one being punished. It’s a version of the classic I was keeping up with the flow of traffic defense when a cop writes you a ticket. Speaking for myself, I’m actually somewhat sympathetic to Rodriguez on this issue. (Notice I said somewhat…that means not totally.) The response to I’m not the only one doing it is often But we’re not talking about those other people right now…we’re talking about YOU. Does that mean that the accused party is innocent? Not in the least. But it does mean that he might be unfairly being singled out.
On the other hand, we’re in totally uncharted territory here with regard to the sport of baseball. As much as I might understand ARod’s position, I also firmly believe that we as players, writers, fans, etc – consumers of the game in a sense – are “keepers of the flame” in a sense. It’s our duty to pass the great game of baseball onto future generations in the same pure condition in which we got it. (Some w0uld argue it wasn’t so pure when we got it, but you get my point.) What ARod could be threatening to do is something that could potentially destroy the game as we know it. And when I say “destroy,” I mean that I believe there are millions of casual fans who might be lost forever. The die-hards will always be there for MLB, and admittedly I’m no exception. However using the 1994 players’ strike as an example, baseball would stand to suffer big time at the box office and on TV/radio if a scandal of this proportion brought down some of it’s star players.
I would tend to agree that Rodriguez is correct in that there are so many guys out there who use PED’s, and that we don’t know about it. However I would submit that it should stay that way, provided of course that those parties cease all usage of illegal substances. Rodriguez is already showing that he has literally no shame in that he’s willing to go to the lengths to which he’s going in this matter. However…is he really willing to risk the very game itself simply to either defend himself or implicate others?
I’ll leave you with this; remember the 1998 action-thriller, Armageddon? At the end of the movie, a member of the crew has to stay behind to detonate a nuclear bomb on an asteroid in order to destroy it and to thus ensure it doesn’t hit the earth (causing an extinction-level event). The crew, led by Bruce Willis’ character, drew straws to see who would have to stay behind to detonate the bomb, and of course that person would thus be killed in the blast. Ben Affleck’s character ended up drawing the shortest straw, however at the last minute Bruce Willis’ character took his spot in a selfless act of sacrifice in order to save the world. Instead, we’re left with the prospect of Alex Rodriguez sacrificing many to save himself.