Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens. When these names are brought up, one thing comes to mind: steroids. An asterisk is placed by their names and the thought of any player during the “steroid era” being clean comes to mind
For a while, A-Rod was thought to be one of those pure talented players, up until a recent report from Sports Illustrated. Random, mandatory drug testing was done, and A-Rod tested positive for an anabolic steroid in 2003, his first MVP year. In 2003, there was no penalty for steroids.
Because of the BALCO investigation surrounding Bonds, federal agents raided labs, discovering a list of 104 players who tested positive for anabolic steroids in 2004. The testing was supposed to be anonymous, but unlike the other 103, A-Rod’s name was released. A-Rod has never been linked to the BALCO case.
In his book, Jose Canseco, linked A-Rod’s name to steroids. Nobody believed him.
“I said in my book ‘Vindicated’ that he was a known steroid user before 2000,” Canseco told the Miami Herald. “It’s old news. I’ve been saying this forever. You guys are playing catch-up.”
In 2004, Gene Orza tipped A-Rod about an upcoming drug testing with the Rangers. Orza had no comment on this matter.
The drug Rodriguez tested positive for, primobolan, improves strength, but does not show a dramatic change in body structure. A-Rod’s numbers remained steady with no dramatic increase. Unlike Bonds, there was no suspicion an illegal substance had been taken.
When A-Rod’s name was released, he had no comments, saying, “You’ll have to talk the union.” The MLB Players Association had no comment due to court orders.
When the Mitchell Report was released just over a year ago, A-Rod told Katie Couric that he never took steroids.
“You never felt like, ‘This guy’s doing it, maybe I should look into this, too? He’s getting better numbers, playing better ball,'” Couric asked.
“I’ve never felt overmatched on the baseball field. I’ve always been a very strong, dominant position. And I felt that if I did my work as I’ve done since I was, you know, a rookie back in Seattle, I didn’t have a problem competing at any level. So, no,” he replied.
A-Rod clearly lied as today, he admitted to taking steroids “for a period of time.”
“When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure,” Rodriguez said. “I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me, and I needed to perform — and perform at a high level — every day.”
“Back then, it was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve. I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all-time. I did take a banned substance, and for that I’m very sorry. I’m deeply regretful.”
“I’m sorry for that time, I’m sorry to my fans, I’m sorry to my fans in Texas. It wasn’t until then that I ever thought about substances of any kind. Since then, I’ve proved to myself and to everyone that I don’t need any of that.”
Rodriguez, who makes more money than the entire Marlins roster, is represented by Scott Boras. Boras claimed he had no idea that Rodriguez was taking steroids.
A-Rod did the right thing by admitting that he used them, but he still took and lied about using illegal drugs. He only admitted it because he was caught.
Because A-Rod took steroids, it questions if some of the best players in the game have also taken steroids in their careers. The entire steroid saga isn’t good for baseball, or any sport for that matter, as players are cheating their way through the game. The only thing MLB can do is to continue to test and penalize users. Whether A-Rod gets penalized remains to be seen, but there is no proof that he is currently on steroids. He must prove that he is still one of the elite players in the game without illegal substances.