Column: Give A-Rod a break
The tell-all book about A-Rod relies on shaky sources and lazy reporting.
May. 05, 2009
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
Why is everyone trying to take down star baseball player Alex Rodriguez all of a sudden? Ever since he admitted he took steroids while with the Texas Rangers, it seems like the media have made it their mission to completely ruin everything A-Rod has ever accomplished. He was wrong for doing what he did, but let's move on.
Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts is coming out with a new book in which she claims A-Rod took steroids in high school and with the New York Yankees, not just when he was with Texas, as he originally claimed.
The book claims A-Rod gained 20 pounds of muscle from his sophomore year to his junior year. It also says he increased his bench press from a little more than 100 pounds to 300 pounds. Roberts has supposedly obtained evidence that this was because of steroid use.
These new allegations that he took steroids in high school are uncalled for. So a kid gained 20 pounds of muscle in high school. Who cares? That's called puberty. If a kid works hard enough, he can turn a growth spurt into muscle. It's not uncommon for skinny kids to put on muscle during high school. Rodriguez's high school teammate and major leaguer Doug Mientkiewicz put it best, saying, "You're basically accusing every kid that's gone through puberty that they're on steroids too, huh?"
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying there's no way Rodriguez took steroids in high school. I just need more evidence than an increased bench press and a growth spurt. And with the timing of Roberts' book, it looks like she is just trying to make a name for herself by taking down A-Rod even more. She has talked to a member of Rodriguez's high school baseball team, who "confirmed" A-Rod was juicing. But, as it's all too common in journalism today, he is an anonymous source, too worried to reveal his identity.
And why would Roberts use this source? To me, and to most people, unnamed sources have little or no credibility if they are the only sources a writer has. The way this guy wanted to remain anonymous could means he's not being entirely truthful.
Rodriguez might have made mistakes in the past, but that doesn't mean everyone should try to make a profit off him. Baseball writers are getting lazy. Instead of finding real stories, they decide it's easier to pile on Rodriguez. Tell-all books with anonymous sources are easier than hard reporting.
Sports journalists need to stop trying to profit from the steroid scandal and cover news that doesn't make most fans sick of the media. The steroids stories this decade have numbed fans to the point of apathy. Most of us no longer care who took what.
There were more than 100 other names listed as failing the drug test in 2003, a test that was supposed to be anonymous. Why aren't any of these other players being scrutinized? What A-Rod did was wrong, but he's admitted he was wrong and apologized. Let's move on. There is no need to completely ruin his career. He is still a great baseball player. He's already suffered enough in the eyes of the media and the fans.