But what Johnson said about ARod, the blame-game, and the general malaise towards ARod’s #600 was probably the best thing he wrote:
Again, that isn’t a reason to hold it against A-Rod, at least not wholly. I’m not even pinning it all on Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, Jason Giambi, Bonds or any of the myriad other players whose faces will forever adorn baseball’s steroid era plaques. Those guys, as recent Hall of Fame inductee Andre Dawson so eloquently put it during his speech in Cooperstown last weekend, are the “individuals who have chosen the wrong road and chosen that as their legacy.”
Nor am I blaming it all on “baseball,” that faceless entity sometimes said to have caused the steroid mess by turning a blind eye to performance-enhancing drugs. In an effort to revive the game’s popularity a decade ago, goes that line of thinking, baseball officials allowed a few better-than-average players to begin jacking balls way beyond the limits of mortal men. They knew we dug the long ball.
Well, we just don’t dig it anymore. At least not that way. And there’s enough blame to go around for everybody, including A-Rod.
Fair or not, ARod’s eventual ascent towards (and perhaps past) Barry Bonds’ all time HR total will be tagged with an implied asterisk, as will his eventual HOF debate. Maybe Pujols’ subsequent chase of ARod and Bonds will change the tenor of the fans. Perhaps not. There’s no better player to have as your representative than Albert Pujols and if he eventually owns the HR crown, I will be happy to cheer him on.
UPDATE: Stephen from TYU has an excellent rebuttal that’s worth reading. I still maintain that fans want the “hero” to root for to restore the historical elegance of the HR record. But I remain open-minded and appreciate the discussion.