Sports Commentary: Roids in rearview
Published: Monday, October 7, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 7, 2013 22:10
Major League Baseball’s regular season ended on Sept. 30 with the Tampa Bay Rays playing the Texas Rangers in a single-elimination game to determine the winner of the second wild card spot.
After beating the Rangers, 5-2, the Rays played a single-elimination wild card matchup against the Cleveland Indians.
The drama in the National League was equally significant, as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds in the wild card game, giving them a playoff win for the first time in 21 years.
These games, as most of the MLB season did, featured many young, unblemished stars, such as Andrew McCutchen for the Pirates and Joey Votto for the Reds.
Yet these great baseball stories were overshadowed by the legal dealings of two former stars as the announcements of Alex Rodriguez’s lawsuit against MLB and Albert Pujols’ suit against radio host Jack Clark for defamation of character both came down on Thursday.
Neither A-Rod nor Pujols made an All-Star team or even played a full season this year. They have no business overshadowing two NL MVP candidates competing in a one-game playoff.
Baseball’s media clash between its pockmarked past and bright future belies a problem that could come to define the regime of Commissioner Bud Selig’s yet-to-be named successor.
On one hand, as someone who grew up worshipping Rodriguez for his gaudy numbers and has since come to resent him like an unfaithful ex-girlfriend, I want nothing more than for A-Rod to be brought to justice. Similarly, having spent my teenage years hoping that Pujols was clean, I would love to see his innocence proven once and for all.
Yet, will either one of those things ever really happen?
Well, by all accounts, A-Rod has already been deemed guilty, and it seems to me that most people have already stopped caring about Albert Pujols. Couldn’t we skip the years of uncertainty and just move on now?
As a generation of baseball fans, it would be selfish to let the legal troubles of our fallen heroes continue to dominate the sports landscape as the next generation, whose heroes are so far free of the steroid cloud, grows up. Let them enjoy Mike Trout, the 22-year-old who has put up unprecedented numbers the last two seasons. Let them stare in wonder at a home run off the bat of
Trout’s NL counterpart, 20-year-old Bryce Harper.
Allow yourself to enjoy these playoffs, without the cloud of legal trials and hypodermic needles.