Saturday, February 7, 2009

No Use Crying Over Spilt Drugs

Just a brief note. I am perversely happy about the revelations in the forthcoming Sports Illustrated that claim Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003. Not for the reasons A-Rod haters are. They're merely thrilled that the object of their scorn can now be tarred with the same performance-enhancing brush that has marred Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, et al.

A-Rod, who I genuinely root for and marvel at, was going to be the one who would wipe the tarnish off Bonds' home run record. Alex looked clean, didn't have the cartoonish biceps or Elephant Man sized head of the previous poster children for the evil steroids era.

Now, let it be clear. Everyone is suspect in this era. Everyone. Sluggers, pitchers, everyone. As we saw years later, the 1960's were an era when players thought "greenies," amphetamines, were the magical performance enhancers. Bowls of pills were standard in clubhouses. When Willie Mays joined the Mets in mid-1972, John "The Hammer" Milner spied the "Say Hey Kid's" bottle of liquid amphetamine. It was standard. So it seems with steroids. It's the norm.

Now that being said, let's climb down from the soapbox and get back to a real argument.The argument of who is and who isn't a Hall of Famer. Judged against their peers in a drug prone era, McGwire, Bonds, Clemens and, yes I admit sadly, A-Rod, are all lead pipe cinch Cooperstown candidates. They should be under no more scrutiny than their '60's predecessors. You could apply the same steroids argument to the players of that golden era. Who took "greenies?" I would bet nearly all the enshrined players who played from 1955-75. Are all the anti-Bonds, soon to be anti-A-Rod critics ready to pull Mays from the Hall? He did, if one believes Milner take performance enhancing narcotics.

Did they work? Who knows. That's not even part of the argument. When you have people like Randy Velarde known as steroids users whose level of play remained Randy Velarde-like, it's awfully hard to make the case that steroids universally lift performance. Just like "speed" in the 1960's.

So I'll see you all at Roger Clemens Induction, and Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez' and....

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