A-Rod's next mission
By Joe Auriemma
The YES Blog is here and I’m pleased to be making the first entry. My colleagues Jon Lane and Glenn Giangrande will also be contributors to this new forum. One thing is certain: we are excited that we have a place to talk Yankees and sports. We can’t wait to get feedback from so many diehard fans that are passionate about their Yankees and sports in general.
It’s probably not going to be shocking to most that the first entry is going to revolve around Alex Rodriguez and Tuesday’s press conference upon his arrival in Tampa.
One positive is that he has admitted to steroid abuse. Just look at the Mark McGwire case. He has become the Howard Hughes of the 500 Home Run Club, going into complete exile. In the case of Barry Bonds, he most likely will not make the Hall of Fame and is guilty in the court of public opinion.
Now that A-Rod has come clean, this is a golden opportunity for him to revive his legacy. He truly is the first of the Hall of Fame caliber players to have this black cloud of steroid abuse around him in the prime years of his career. Those other players, such as McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Bonds, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro, to name a few, all had this mountain of evidence against them at the end of their career. A-Rod has an opportunity to show everyone that he can pass every drug test for the rest of his career and continue to play at a Hall of Fame level.
He can become an ambassador to young players by teaching them that the use of performance-enhancing drugs does more harm than anything else. To me, this is now the legacy of this player. He can cite that the years he was on steroids statistically were not much better than his clean seasons. In fact, he has since won two MVP awards, had seasons of both 54 and 48 home runs and performed at a very high level every year.
As far as the press conference is concerned, this was supposed to be a time that A-Rod was going to clear the air and move on with this baseball season. I don’t think that happened. There are still many questions that need to be answered, and I believe that some new questions have come up. These questions will continue to be asked until the answers finally surface. The distraction surrounding this team is that these same inquiries will be asked to all of his teammates.
There will always be the black cloud surrounding him, but unlike those other players, he has many more years, barring major injury, to turn his image around.