Alex Rodriguez: The Great Witch Hunt

If you couldn’t tell, we’ve held off mentioning Alex Rodriguez‘ name over the last couple of days. Why you ask? There isn’t enough information to analyze it. This blog prides itself on analyzing hard data and credible news stories, and neither fall into the category of the recent PED news. With that said, this Rodriguez bubble has grown, and real MLB investigations are beginning, so perhaps it’s time that we step away from our usual statistical analysis.

Over the last couple of days, an article came out naming a few athletes involved in a PED investigation, Rodriguez being the biggest name. The third baseman, and just about everyone else named, denied the rumors. Now we have speculation about how the Yankees could get out of the $114 million left on his contract.

(Splash News)

As far as we know, the actual evidence that exists are a few baseball players names in this doctor’s journal. This is largely the reason why this story isn’t a big deal. In journalism, you typically need two sources to confirm a story before actually reporting it, but in this case, we have one non-credible source that has a lot to gain from this sort of publicity.

In the past, I’ve been fairly outspoken on how I feel about journalistic ethics in baseball. If you’ve ever witnessed a trade, signing, or other baseball news break on Twitter, you’ll know that it’s madness, with reporters sometimes fighting over who broke the story first, and absolutely no accountability for misinformation. There are plenty of reporters that will break rumors or stories, only to have them denied with no repercussions. People continue to follow, and reporters continue to disrespect journalism standards.

Then there’s the type of seriousness that writers dedicate to the game. The latest Hall of Fame vote, showed us how steroid accusations could keep the best players of all time outside of the museum they were destined for. It also showed that players like Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza were guilty until proven innocent, in that their success during the steroid era was enough evidence to earmark them as  steroid users. The morality of baseball in the media has become that of the writer’s, rather than the player’s.

Without hesitation, the media ran with the Alex Rodriguez story, despite the lack of evidence. He was a liar, a cheater, a loser, an idiot, immoral, and reckless. This was all after Rodriguez and others denied the charges. But sanity and patience don’t sell newspapers, and they don’t draw readers to your blog. The media’s witch hunt for Rodriguez has to be one of the most embarrassing moves they’ve made in recent years. Of the dozens of pieces I read on Rodriguez, only Ken Davidoff’s remained intelligent.

We won’t know if Rodriguez is guilty until after MLB’s investigation, but even so, Rodriguez’ name has been thoroughly tainted by writers taking this game too seriously. One of the greatest players of all time, a player who single-handedly carried the team to their latest championship, is now one of the most hated men in New York. He might not have even done anything wrong!

From my perspective, I don’t know if he’s guilty or not. I won’t comment too much on the morality of the situation, but Rodriguez has already earned his money, if he was taking PED’s, it was to help the Yankees win. I don’t know the type of pressure he’s been under, but I guarantee that staying clean in that type of competition is a lot easier said than done. As Davidoff pointed out, baseball is far from this purist illusion that fans and writers are holding on to.

PED’s continue to be a clear problem in baseball. No matter how much testing is done, how often it’s done, and how advanced the tests are, someone will always try to cheat. I’m not an expert on the situation, but I’ve heard some famous sports doctors talk about refusing to give professional athletes legal and routine steroids and other PED’s for surgeries or injuries, because they are banned by the MLB. In my opinion, these athletes should be allowed the best possible health care that they can receive, and if HGH or steroids or deer antler spray can make them healthier, there is no excuse to ban them. Baseball is a tough game to play every single day, so allow the legal PED’s under strict doctor’s supervision and impose stricter penalties on illegal drugs. In theory, we’d see healthier players and less illegal drug use.

Finally, if Rodriguez is found guilty, it hardly affects the Yankees in a negative way. The third baseman would be allowed to serve his 50 day suspension on the disabled list. Marketing-wise, his name has already been tainted by his use of PED’s with the Rangers. There’s also a slight chance that the team could escape his contract, under the assumption that he saw treatment outside of the organization’s health policies.

The story isn’t that big of a deal yet, but the media has blown it out of the water.

4 thoughts on “Alex Rodriguez: The Great Witch Hunt

  1. His past health record is the required second source, IMHO. If you want to sort out the real cheaters from the innocent, just watch their “post allegation” performance records. It’s a scientific fact that roids break down bodily tissues and accelerate the aging process. IE. Arod, Sosa, Ramirez… He has stigmatized our Yankees and the team’s glorious traditions. I, for one, will be be glad to see him go.

  2. BeanTooth

    I think you maliciously attack the story. Or you didn’t actually read it. You dismiss it, saying it’s merely an accusation resulting from a single dubious source likely out for personal gain. This is not what the article alleges. A-Rod was included in the article for two reasons. First, his name appeared multiple times in the doctor’s notebook. Note that he didn’t give it to the reporter. The doctor, who was already under investigation by the DEA and MLB, has disappeared. The notebook was given to the reporter by one of the investors in his business. So while the notebook itself might not be credible, it’s wrong of you to discount it because the doctor is likely seeking publicity. But the reporter of the story didn’t include A-Rod in the story solely based on the notebook. It’s made very clear in the story that a name was only included if it was corroborated by multiple sources, in this case employees of the clinic who could attest to the info in the notebook. It’s because of this requirement that other names included in the notebook weren’t in the story. The notebook might be a weird fabrication by a delusional doctor. And of course, people should approach it with an abundance of caution. But to dismiss the story based on criteria that isn’t actually relevant to this article is wrong.

  3. hawaii dave

    “But sanity and patience don’t sell newspapers, and they don’t draw readers to your blog”.

    Truer words were never published!

  4. davy

    i agree with some of your comments. it’s still too early and we don’t know enough yet and alex rodriguez may be innocent. i’m not ready to blame him just yet. we should let this play out until the investigation is over.
    and yeah some in the media tend to jump on stories when there isn’t much there. “witch hunts” are nasty and if even if the player is proven innocent it will forever damage that player’s reputation.
    but taking HGH is not just about getting “healthier”, it doesn’t just restore your health it gives you more. hgh will enhance your performance and it will give you more muscles than you would get normally from a workout without working harder for them. which gives you an advantage over other players. if it really was just about getting “healthier” do you really think there would such an uproar.
    and even if alex’s intention when he took the hgh (that’s if it’s proven true) was to help the team win there’s no excuse for cheating. this is a case where “it’s the thought that counts” does not apply. i’m a diehard yankee fan and i like a-rod, and like i stated before it’s still early, i’m hoping this story ends up being untrue. and if it turns out that that’s the case i feel bad for him cause this will still haunt him either way.

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