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E-Mail Swap; Ben and Britton: A-ROID

After watching A-Rod squirm in front of Peter Gammons for the fifth time today, Britton and I decided to address the ongoing saga with an e-mail chat. Here is the transcript for the running e-mails we exchanged throughout the night.

BEN: So Britton, A-Rod’s coming out party smells a little too much like Jason Giambi for my tastes, did he make the right move by coming “forward?”

BRITTON: Well at first I thought he made a good move by coming out and being “sorry” for using steroids and publicly lying about it. But then later on, I thought of a few things that soured my opinion on his interview today. Did he really not know that what he was ingesting was a steroid? He really didn’t care what his nutritionist gave him? And if he really didn’t know what he was getting and how he was getting it, how did he know the years he was taking performance enhancing drugs?

I thought he had a great opportunity to open some doors revealing how this dark world operated outside the public eye, but instead he gave the same dopey look and shrugged shoulders that other players getting caught have given.

BEN: I completely agree, after hearing Jim Rome go off on how the only move A-Rod legitimately could pull out of the official steroid playbook, was complete honesty, before moving on; and then fawning over A-Rod’s decision to “come out”, I was severely disappointed in the Gammons interview.

The whole world knew he did indeed use roids, when he referred the SI reporter who approached him in the gym, to the player’s union. Watching him cry or fake cry of sorta fake cry or whatever he was doing, while not so indiscreetly dodging Gammons’ soft-toss questions by answering each of them with the same, “Did you know that GNC has like four substances that have been taken off the shelves since 2003, because they would have triggered a positive test?” was either an obvious PR spin or Scott Boras’ way of getting back at A-Rod for saddling him with all of the blame after opting out of his contract during the 2006 World Series.

BRITTON: So now that Rodriguez has come out and admitted guilt with PEDs, where does this story go? Do other players come out and admit the same? Does Griffey now become the flag bearer of this era again?

BEN: Griffey certainly appears to be the player gaining the most from this experience. To be honest, I immediately felt that A-Rod was the straw that finally broke the camels’ back. I’m not sure how much further the A-Rod portion of the story will continue, but I believe that Congress will proceed by pushing harder than ever before for the names of the remaining players on that list.

Ultimately though, I think the story which will play out will be a very sad tale indeed, as anyone remotely tied to suspicion will be essentially blackballed from baseball. Hence A-Rod breaking the camel.

BRITTON: I honestly don’t know how far this can go.  Are the baseball writers really going to exclude an entire generation of baseball players from the Hall of Fame?  The list of greats joining Pete Rose is getting longer and longer, and doubtless more will join them in the future. I will say that I sort of by what A-Rod said about having a lot of years to prove his talent outside of steroids.

I personally don’t think it makes sense, but I think many will look at his career outside of PEDs and his willingness to at least apologize as being enough to sneak him into the Hall of Fame. But I can also see him being as blackballed as the others, because once you let one admitted PED user in, you have to really re-consider them all, and that will cheapen the Hall of Fame exponentially.

BEN: Don’t get it twisted, of all the MLB players who have been caught, A-Rod came the closest to playing this the right way. As we have seen from both Pettitte and Giambi, players who at least admit to something, generally are pressed slightly less than those who don’t. (I’m looking at you Big Mac.) While that’s not quite a second chance, it’s about as good as A-Rod could hope for. The main point is, he is one of the first to tell the truth. But did he? How are we supposed to know that he only did the juice from 2001-2003? With all of the allegations that players who were to be tested were notified before hand when they would be tested, can we truly believe anything anyone says?

BRITTON: That’s the part I don’t really like in all of this. I think someone very respected is going to really have to fall on their sword to truly open eyes to what exactly this era has meant to baseball. I also don’t really like how clean cut the time is for A-Rod using steroids. By saying it was just the Texas years, he avoids suspicion that steroids have artificially helped his career from an early point and by saying he didn’t do it as a Yankee, he avoids the wrath of the Yankee organization and their fans by forcing them to have to admit his Yankee years have been a fraud.

Throwing the Texas years under the bus seems easy, and I’d like to see more transparency of what exactly he was taking. I want names and I want to know who was giving him what he was given.

BEN: I completely agree. Going back to my camel metaphor, A-Rod may have just passed on the opportunity to be that prominent figure who poured his soul out, and revealed everything he knew about steroids. from who’s doing them to who’s passing them around like candy. Instead of breaking the camel, A-Rod could have taken a giants shovelful off its back, with a full confession. But instead of finally having some clarity on the ever apparent issue, all we are left with is confusion and more questions that we may never get answered.

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