Odd how these things happen. I do a little piece yesterday on steroid users in baseball, and this morning Sports Illustrated breaks the news that Alex Rodriguez ("A-Rod"), who owns the most lucrative contract in major league baseball--the Yankees are paying him something like $300 million for the next ten years--tested positive for steroids in a 2003 drug test. That's the year he won the first of his three most valuable player awards and hit a league-leading 47 home runs. For none other than my very own Texas Rangers. (Who traded him to New York in 2004.)
Update: Although I'm loathe to say it, the Rangers have had a whole slew of steroid cheaters over the years. Several of them were apparently introduced (if that's the right word) to this brand of cheating by Jose Canseco, a fairly despicable human being, who nonetheless has till now proven truthful in his revelations about steroid use in baseball. Another USA Today article about the Rangers and steroids is here.
What can one say about this? I agree with commentators who have pointed out something obvious that I thought immediately when I read the news. Every achievement by this guy--and he's had many--is now tainted. Doubly tainted, maybe, because after it was disclosed how pervasive steroid and HGH use was among ballplayers, Rodriguez, who had not (yet) been fingered by any tests and who several times flatly denied using the drugs, appeared to be the straight-arrow player who would rescue all the tainted power records from discredited players like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa. He was hailed by many as the greatest player in the game today. And now? Rodriguez is just another ballplayer who cheated and whose numbers are dirty because of it. The only upside to this sorry news is that A-Rod is only 32. This means he'll be around to embarrass the Yankees for quite a few more years.
And, more's the pity to notice that he's now joined the ranks of other over-achieving cheaters and probably jeopardized his election to the Hall of Fame--at least until this generation of baseball writers has died, and the future forgets what a great wound these dopers have inflicted on baseball. And that's a long way off.