SBD/Issue 98/Leagues & Governing Bodies

The A-Rod Story: SI Report The Latest Blow To MLB From Steroids

The Sports Illustrated report that Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in ’03 while with the Rangers is the "latest blow" for MLB, which is "confronting the fact that two of its best players over the past 25 years -- Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens -- are in legal jeopardy because of statements they made under oath that they never used performance-enhancing drugs,” according to Michael Schmidt of the N.Y. TIMES. Rodriguez is not in danger of being “ensnared in any legal proceedings” like Bonds and Clemens, and he will not be suspended by MLB because the test "took place before baseball imposed any penalties" for using PEDs. But the report “could affect his status in the game and could create a major distraction for him and his teammates with spring training set to begin this week." Meanwhile, the report also "revived an issue that may again prove troublesome" in the allegations that MLBPA COO Gene Orza tipped Rodriguez about the test. The report indicated that Orza also "warned several other high-profile players they were going to be tested shortly" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/8).

A-Rod Among Growing List Of
Stars Linked To Past Steroid Use
NIGHTMARE FOR MLB: The GLOBE & MAIL's Blair writes Rodriguez' reported failed test is the "single most devastating development for the game since this whole process of self-analysis and self-flagellation started." The report is MLB's "worst nightmare -- a great player, the best of his generation, going away no time soon" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/9). ESPN.com's Jayson Stark wrote, "How could baseball have allowed this to happen to itself? How? Can anyone recall any other sport that has ever committed such an insane act of self-destruction?" The report is worse than "any scandal in the history of sports." Stark: "It's not worse because it will cause massive numbers of people to stop watching or caring about baseball. … But the sport, as a unique paragon of American culture, is devastated. And that's forever" (ESPN.com, 2/8). CBS' Jeff Glor: "For a sport that’s already been badly damaged by steroids, it’s another strike” ("Evening News," CBS, 2/7). ABC's Kate Snow: "Another blow to the sports world" ("GMA," ABC, 2/8). In Chicago, Chris De Luca writes MLB has "taken another body blow." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "needs to speak out," as MLB is "garnering all of the headlines" a week before Spring Training starts. Selig could "provide some perspective," and at the very least, he could "explain how the ball got dropped on the secret survey becoming public information." But "close your eyes and it will all go away, seems to be his philosophy" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 2/9). In Minneapolis, Patrick Reusse wrote, "Anything's possible from the Steroid Era, and yet Bud Selig, the man in charge during this long period of disgrace, continues as the boss" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/8).

STEROID ERA NOT OVER YET: In Chicago, Rick Morrissey wrote, "As much as baseball wants the steroid scandal to go away -- remember investigator George Mitchell saying it was time to move forward? -- it can't possibly leave the premises now." Rodriguez was "supposed to be above the fray," as he "easily was the greatest hope to wipe out Bonds' home-run record" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/8). SI's Selena Roberts, who was one of two reporters to break the story, said that Rodriguez was the player MLB "had counted on to sort of be their feel-good guy. Until now, he had always said he was the clean one, and I think most people believed that.” SI’s Tom Verducci: “At least publicly, this does pull baseball back into the vortex of steroids" ("Evening News," CBS, 2/7). In DC, Thom Loverro writes, "Can we stop with the ridiculous notion that somehow this is all going to pass? Can we please stop insulting everyone's intelligence that somehow time will make all of this look better?" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/9). In Philadelphia, John Smallwood writes MLB "needs to just make it official" and "put an asterisk on the whole damn decade-and-a-half" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/9). In Detroit, Drew Sharp writes MLB's "entertainment value remains stronger than ever," but the sport's "integrity is dead." Sharp: "Don't every again refer to it as sport" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/9). In Houston, Richard Justice: "Welcome to the nightmare that won't end. ... We now understand there'll be no closure, certainly not now, maybe not ever" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/9). In Montreal, Jack Todd writes the "conclusion is inescapable: Baseball was and quite possibly still is so drug-riddled that every individual achievement going back at least as far as the mid-90s is called into question." Selig has "taken a lot of heat for presiding over this mess," but Orza and MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr are "at least as culpable" (Montreal GAZETTE, 2/9).

BRONX BOMB: In N.Y., Mike Lupica writes the Yankees are "allowed to be surprised that the latest headlines about Rodriguez involve drugs just because the people running the team have been dumber than socks when the subject has been performance-enhancing drugs" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/9). In New Jersey, Ian O'Connor notes Yankees co-Chair Hank Steinbrenner in November ’07 signed off on a 10-year, $275M contract for Rodriguez, "never mind that the fan base couldn't stand A-Rod, and that the DNA of the game's most gifted player was so clearly missing that indefinable winner's gene." The signing will "go down among the most devastating mistakes in Yankees' history, a truth scheduled to be reinforced" if Rodriguez breaks the career home run record. The Yankees "can't void Rodriguez's contract," and they "can't even play the role of Tom Hicks and eat a healthy chunk of A-Rod's wage for his next employer." O'Connor: "There isn't going to be a next employer; Rodriguez is too radioactive for any team to take. So this is Hank's legacy" (Bergen RECORD, 2/9).

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