The latest news that A-Rod and 103 other players tested positive for steroids in MLB’s 2003 tests is tragic for two reasons.
Number 1: This is definitely a steroid era in baseball that will forever mark this period of time and any record that was broken during its duration. These leaked results just show how pervasive steroid use has been in baseball, and the fact that some big names like A-Rod are a part of these positive results makes it all the more painful.
Number 2: These names were never supposed to be released. Players agreed in 2003 to these initial tests on the basis that they would be kept confidential and that this was simply a survey to investigate the true level of steroid use within baseball. What would have never marred a man’s career could now cost him a trip to the hall of fame. A-Rod, along with plenty of other players, stopped using — or found better chemists — and have never tested positive again for a banned substance once MLB declared these substances illegal.
I’m not sure why I feel compelled to stick up for A-Rod, Tejada, or any other shmoe that was stupid enough to take performance enhancing drugs before 2004, but I think it’s time we start differentiating between those players who tested positive after 2003 and those who tested positive or were linked to steroids before 2004. The fact of the matter is that before 2004, steroids, precursors, and performance-enhancing drugs were not considered to be illegal for baseball players to take. And while we all consider it to be cheating, there have been plenty of other well-known cheaters throughout baseball who have actually been praised for their desire to win. These users were no doubt stupid for doing what they did, but I think it’s time we give these guys a break. Forget the discussion of asterisks and bans, these guys have earned their places in the record books, no matter how dirty that place is.