This post has nothing to do with Hunter S. Thompson, but his trademark phrase, fear and loathing, pretty much summarizes my feelings regarding the Alex Rodriguez steroid implications.
This is potentially the worst thing to happen to baseball in a very, very, long time. Not because A-Rod did or didn’t use steroids; I could care less about that. Baseball is, at heart, a game of stories. Thanks to the prevalence of media today, those stories are driven by TV, papers, the internet, and everything else. They have a tendency, unfortunately, to overshadow the game itself.
The media’s two favorite stories of the past few years are that the Yankees spend a lot of money and that players use (or have used) steroids. Watch the 6pm Sportscenter. Is there EVER a day when there isn’t a story about the Yankees or steroids?
Well, having those two story lines combine is a dream for ESPN. As I stated in my last post, Bonds has been the figurehead for steroid use, but, justified or not, ESPN and the like has turned A-Rod into the poster boy for greed. Sports fans don’t like A-Rod. Hell, even a lot of Yankee fans don’t like A-Rod. The days of Mickey Mantle and Joe Dimaggio are over – the days when sports’ best players were celebrated far and wide. Now we focus on star athletes because we want to see them fail. That is the storyline we want and we see all events through such a prism. No one remembers A-Rods’ heroics, only the times he came up short.
If everyone wants to focus on the negative things in sports, why follow sports at all? I’ll never understand.
Maybe this whole thing will blow over – but I doubt it.
Of course, there are still countless questions: Why is only A-Rod outed when there are 104 players (well, we know why, but… will the media admit they’re after A-Rod)?; Weren’t the samples taken in 2003 “anonymous”?; Why was this information leaked?; How can anyone prove that these results are even correct when no one can verify them?
I just want to think about baseball. I hope that A-Rod blows this off and uses it as motivation to have a great season. But of course, no one wants that.