First, there was A-Rod, the scrappy kid playing in Seattle who seemed destined for greatness. Next came Pay-Rod, the star shortstop who ditched his team in search of a bigger contract. Not long ago, Joe Torre gave us A-Fraud, the narcissistic, demanding Yankee superstar. Now, the revelations of this past weekend provide another addition to the repertoire of variations on the guy’s nickname: A-Roid.
On Saturday evening, Sports Illustrated got hold of a leaked report which identified Alex Rodriguez as one of 104 players in Major League Baseball who tested positive for steroids in 2003. The same Alex Rodriguez who was supposed to be the shining star of baseball, the squeaky-clean prodigy who was supposed to (eventually) cleanse the sport of the bad taste left by the steroids scandal, the player who would surpass Barry Bonds’ home run record and not have an asterisk after the number next to his name.
But, all of that came crashing down, just because Alex Rodriguez decided to inject himself with some chemicals — which he probably didn’t need anyway. At the time of the failed test, A-Rod was already the highest-paid player in baseball and a near-certain future hall-of-famer. Apparently, he and his big ego didn’t think it was enough.
Now, as a Seattle fan (and, by extension, a Yankees hater), I’m laughing on the inside. (“Serves him and his pinstripes right! That’s the karma you get when you ditch the Mariners!”) As a fan of baseball, however, I’m disappointed. A-Rod will almost certainly break the record for most career home runs, and although he might be my mortal enemy, at least he didn’t cheat — so I thought.
A-Rod himself isn’t doing much to help improve the situation. When asked about the reports, he refused to comment and simply deferred the question to the players’ union. The union, his agent, and Major League Baseball have all remained silent as well. Of course, these reports may never be confirmed — they were confidential and supposed to be destroyed after 2003 — but even if Rodriguez refuses to acknowledge the claims and maintains his denial of using steroids, the public’s perception of him will be irreparably damaged.
Nonetheless, I’d like to see how this latest baseball scandal plays out. How will the so-emotionally-needy A-Rod react? How will the crowds in New York react? How will the crowds in Fenway react? Mark your calendars — the first Yankees-Red Sox series in Boston is the weekend of April 24th.