Commentary

There Goes Our Savior

Thanks a lot, Alex Rodriguez: you have successfully killed baseball. Despite being considered a cry baby, sleeping with women other than his wife, and lacking the ability to make solid contact with a four-seamer straight down the middle in the bottom of the ninth, Alex Rodriguez managed to stay on top of the world that was Major League Baseball for the duration of his 15 (going on 16) year career. For the past five years, New York fans have heckled him to death. He has been criticized for every mistake and every bad decision he’s ever made. His image has been paraded across the nation on tabloid magazine covers alongside the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. Yet while these images of A-Rod have taken the nation by storm, comfort has always existed in knowing that A-Rod represented something more: natural, steroid-free and good old-fashioned baseball. A-Rod was the guy who was supposed to save Major League Baseball from turmoil. A-Rod was the cure to the MLB’s cancer. He was the league’s poster child. Sure, the corrupt, tiny-testicled Barry Bonds owns the all-time home run mark with 762, but the whole nation remained calm with the expectation that the still young A-Rod could fix this with another 209 swings of the bat. The asterisk would be gone, the era of performance enhancing drugs would be behind the league, and the next generation of ballplayers would be a group of clean, up-and-coming A-Rods. A-Rod possessed natural talent and hard-earned skill that a league of liars and cheating phonies lacked. However, the recent news revealing that Rodriguez used performance enhancing drugs stuck a dagger straight to the heart of the league. The guy who was supposed to rescue the sport of baseball from drowning has instead attached an anchor to it, sending it plummeting toward its demise quicker than anyone could have imagined. Not only did A-Rod juice from 2001 to 2003 with the Texas Rangers, but he lied about it. Sure, the man just admitted to his mistakes, but only because he knew that he had nowhere to hide. It’s basically the equivalent of denying a murder up to the point when the gun comes back with your prints all over it. Additionally, who is to say that he is actually telling the truth now? Sure, the stellar power numbers from 2001 to 2003 back up his story, but he has put up comparable numbers almost every season of his career. Either way, at least 156 of his 553 career home runs came through the use of an artificially enhanced body. Alex Rodriguez was supposed to destroy the record books. Instead, he may destroy the game. A-Rod is not cut out for clutch situations or leading his squad to a championship, but he is the guy who had the ability to restore baseball’s image. His name would take over the record books, the past would be covered up and a post-steroids era would begin in the MLB. Now, baseball’s one chance at redemption has gone up in flames. And yet another asterisk may rest atop the record books ten years from now when A-Rod blasts number 763. Billy Fowkes is a three-year Upper from Woburn, Massachusetts and a Features Editor for The Phillipian. wfowkes@andover.edu