Monday, February 9, 2009

Thoughts on A-Rod

As much as I loathe the New York Yankees, I do not like what Alex Rodriguez is going through at the moment.

Several sources have told Sports Illustrated that A-Rod tested positive for steroids during the 2003 season. That year A-Rod won the AL MVP while with the Texas Rangers and would join the Yankees the following season.

MLB and the MLBPA tested players during the 2003 season to see if further testing was warranted. Both sides were under court order not to publicize the results.

Needless to say we don't know if A-Rod was amongst the 104 players who tested positive that season. The fact that his name has been mentioned is probably enough to convince people of his culpability. Of course, his other off the field behavior hasn't done much to endear himself especially with regard to his marital fidelity.

But suppose he did test positive. Why is A-Rod being singled out? Because he denied it to Katie Couric on 60 Minutes? Because he's dating Madonna? Because he could pass the all time homerun record? Perhaps. But Red Sox pitching great Curt Schilling says that if A-Rod's name is out there why not everyone else? Either its totally confidential or its totally public. There's very little middle ground here.

Assuming the reports are correct it is intriguing that Barry Bonds name wasn't mentioned. You would think if Bonds had tested positive at the same time A-Rod did it would have merited a mention.

At the same time Bonds was chasing Hank Aaron in 2007, A-Rod hit his 500th career homerun. The joke was that Commissioner Bud Selig wanted A-Rod to hit his next 250 homeruns faster Bonds would hit his next four to pass Aaron. Now I bet Selig hopes someone either hits .400 or hits in 57 straight games. Homerun records are the last thing Selig wants to acknowledge.

But for the record A-Rod enters the 2009 season with 553 career homeruns and is only 210 homeruns away from passing Bonds. Assuming he remains healthy and is able to weather this storm he could conceivably do it sometime in 2013. He would be 38 years old. Of course, by then baseball could be all about hitting for average, stolen bases and sacrifice bunts. Then again people still go to the ballpark to see homeruns whether they admit it or not.

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