Baseball Mailbag: Answering all of your A-Rod questions
The A-Rod saga may not ruin the season, but it looks like it's going to define it
This certainly makes Griffey and Thomas look a lot better than they already did
Why is there a double standard for steroid use in the MLB and NFL?
Welcome to our first baseball mailbag of the season. Before we can (finally) start talking about actual games, teams and players on the field, I wanted to address several of the very interesting e-mails I got this week about the Alex Rodriguez controversy, which, not surprisingly, has dominated the news as well as your comments. To those of you who wrote in to say that you're sick of all the talk about steroids in general and A-Rod in particular, feel free to send me questions on any baseball topic and we'll get to them in a future mailbag. (Once the season starts, I'll be handling this duty on a weekly basis.) In the meantime, let's dive in.
Let the records set by the steroid-users be listed in their own separate category and let the records set by Maris, Ruth and Aaron stand alone.
If it didn't happen with Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, it's not going to happen now; there's simply no way to make an accurate determination about which statistics to get rid of and which to keep. The unfortunate reality is that the entire era has been tainted by steroids. On the other hand, I'd be interested in seeing how many fans think of Barry Bonds as both the single-season and career home run leader. My suspicion is that a large percentage of fans already discount Mr. Bonds and instead view Hank Aaron and Roger Maris as the true leaders in those categories, even if the record books don't.
The story is just about trying to make the news highlights. This happened six or seven years ago, and A-Rod has passed every test since. Doesn't that count for anything? This is just the reporters trying to make a splash for themselves.
I have to disagree with you here, Robert. The game's most popular player (remember, A-Rod led the majors in All-Star voting in each of the past two seasons) playing on its most famous team getting caught cheating and lying in his previous denials of having used an illegal substance in the name of inflating his performance all make this a worthy story. An unpleasant one, to be sure, but a worthy one nonetheless.
I have a solution to the current steroids mess and I wanted to run it by you. It is so simple and fair to everyone and every concern that if it was implemented it would solve this issue once and for all. In three years at Texas, he averaged 52 home runs a year. The other 10 years he was a full time player he averaged 39 per year. Substitute the 52 per year at Texas with 39 per year. This would subtract 39 from his total and would give him a current total of 514 instead of 553. Make 514 his official total and proceed from there.
There's no way baseball would ever do that. For one, there's no way to know definitively how many of the home runs that Rodriguez hit are directly attributed to steroids. Second, the only evidence we have that he didn't use steroids at any other time is from Rodriguez himself, whose reputation is not exactly sparkling with integrity right now. The numbers will stay where they are, and they will just be another reminder of how much the Steroids Era has invalidated so many of the statistics people associated with the game hold dear.
The press has almost unlimited access to locker rooms, dedicated reporters covering every team. How did you, as a professional, manage to miss 104 (at least) doping athletes? Bit of self-reflection needed, as a 'professional' you've failed.
There's no question that the media, collectively, dropped the ball by taking so long to uncover an issue that, in hindsight, seems so obvious. I happen to think that exposing lying and cheating in the national pastime is a good thing even if it's a few years late, however.
When he hits his first home run in Yankee Stadium, all will be forgotten. The Yankees will probably give him a raise and charge it to New York taxpayers.
I'm not sure all will be forgotten, but A-Rod can be forgiven if he plays well, tells the truth and makes every effort to repair his image with the fans. This will stain his career forever, but New Yorkers (and Americans) love a good comeback story, and A-Rod is in a position to win people back to his side with his play on the field and his behavior off it.
Why does A-Rod have to ruin the baseball season? I know, it's hard to believe that there are some baseball fans out there who could give a fig about the Yankees, or A-Rod, so why is my season ruined? Its not, I will survive, I will go on and I'll be OK. I'll still find a way to watch baseball.
I never said it would ruin the season, just that this controversy would define it. Part of the beauty of baseball is in the way it surprises us and always manages to give us reasons to keep watching, but I think the biggest surprise this season would be anything that is a more consistent storyline -- and has more historical consequence -- than the A-Rod scandal. If he does well, the story will be that he's thriving in the face of even greater pressure (and, I'm sure, some people will wonder if he's on steroids). If he does poorly, the story will be that he's been affected by the pressure and the controversy. Every time the Yankees go to a new city, A-Rod will be a story waiting to be covered, and that doesn't even begin to mention the season-long soap opera he's in for in New York. Even if another word is not written about it, the sheer magnitude of this player on this team at this time being caught lying and cheating is shaping up to be what's remembered most about the 2009 season five or 10 years from now. I hope I'm wrong because I'd like nothing more than for the game to be defined by heroics on the field, and not by scandal off it.