As the world knows, baseball has been rocked by a steroids scandal for the past few seasons — however, it has reached a crescendo this week with Alex Rodriguez’s admission of drug use and the saga of Miguel Tejada.
The Commissioner of Baseball — Bud Selig — is obviously not pleased with the turn of events despite the implementation of drug testing and the public relations hit baseball continues to take. Thursday morning, he spoke with USA Today’s esteemed journalist Christine Brennan about the steroid era.
Although Selig has taken a lot of lumps from fans and the media alike during his tenure, a different side of him was shown in Brennan’s piece — an upset, and saddened leader who may be ready to strike the hammer.
From USA Today: In the past, the overly cautious Selig never would have discussed such things on the record. But he has become so frustrated by the overwhelming cheating that has enveloped his game that, shock of all shocks, he told me Wednesday in a phone interview that he would not flatly rule out punishing Rodriguez or adjusting baseball’s record book.
“It was against the law, so I would have to think about that,” Selig said of possible action against Rodriguez. “It’s very hard. I’ve got to think about all that kind of stuff.”
As for the game’s once-revered record book, he said, “Once you start tinkering, you can create more problems. But I’m not dismissing it. I’m concerned. I’d like to get some more evidence.”
Were Selig to act, he would find precedent not in his game, but in the Olympic world, which is much tougher on cheating and misbehaving athletes than baseball is, at least partially because it doesn’t have to face an impossible, stonewalling players union.
I’m amazed to hear this from Selig; however, at the same time — some straight talk is really needed about this issue and it should come sooner rather than later. Fans and the media have talked about moving on, but over the past few years it’s obvious the public can’t until we get to the root of the problem.
I’ve heard many talk about expunging the records from baseball; however, you can’t — it’s a part of history. If you try to modify records, or retroactively expunge them for misdeeds — how far does one go? Do we give the all-time home run record back to Hank Aaron, or we give Bonds an asterik, or do we not even acknowledge his feat? Do we reverse games where Bonds hit homers and possibly take away the San Francisco Giants’ 2002 NL title?
That would be hard to do, but fans seemingly want action from what I have heard. As well, I don’t know if he can go back and suspend Alex Rodriguez, but the attention he’s gotten may be enough punishment in my mind. Even if Rodriguez does not get punished by baseball, the public court of opinion will take care of him — he will be booed on the road, made fun of, and has lost his legacy in the eyes of many. In that case, he’s damned.
In the meantime, as fan — I guess this all bothers me because sports is supposed to be one of the few bastions of equality. Athletes are supposed to give it their all, and the playing field is supposed to be equal. Well, I have said not much bothers me — I know baseball is a business and is image based, but I guess when human nature and the dark side of man/woman seep into our sports and entertainment, we feel personally offended in one way or another.
I’m sure most fans will still continue to follow baseball and partake in a day at the ballpark; however, we truly know our athletes are not why they sometimes portray themselves to be, and that sports can be a real ugly business.