update: A-Rod has admitted to using steroids during a three-year period beginning in 2001, according to Espn.com.
This is not a drill, folks.
I can understand your skepticism, especially given Jose Canseco‘s allegations in December 2007 that the Yankee third baseman belonged on Senator George Mitchell‘s list of steroid cheats. Once again, Canseco was dismissed as a clown whose 2005 book Juiced exposed baseball’s dirty steroid scandal but apparently earned him little credibility.
Once again, Canseco has been vindicated, and the fallout from today’s revelations could shake the sport.
Selena Roberts and David Epstein of Sports Illustrated are reporting that Alex Rodriguez, the 2003 AL MVP and home run king, tested positive for the anabolic steroids Primobolan and testosterone while playing for the Texas Rangers. The 2003 survey testing was commissioned by Major League Baseball in order to determine the extent of the sport’s steroid problem and to evaluate the necessity of instituting mandatory random drug testing. As part of a joint agreement with the MLB Players Association, the identities of the 104 players who tested positive were to remain anonymous. Oops.
As Journal News reporter Sam Borden notes on the LoHud Yankee blog, Selena Roberts is a well respected reporter in the field of sports journalism. Prior to joining SI, she was a columnist for the New York Times. Not surprisingly it appears that she has thoroughly dotted her i’s and crossed her t’s.
While media outlets, particularly the trashier ones, might occasionally run an inflammatory story based on a lone source, the majority would require at least two corroborative sources for a story of this magnitude, according to Borden. Today’s story cites four independent sources. Four of them. Bottom line, reports don’t get a whole lot more credible than this one.
It is deliciously appropriate that none of this would have been possible without Barry Bonds, whose federal investigation on perjury charges led to the search and seizure of the ’03 test results containing Rodriguez’s information. Though A-Rod is hardly universally adored amongst baseball fans, or even Yankee fans, there had been a general consensus among most that it would be nice to see Rodriguez, who has 553 career home runs, topple Bonds’ record of 762, restoring the crown of MLB’s home run king to a “clean” competitor.
No one understood this better than the Yankees, who in November 2007 signed Rodriguez to a 10-year contract worth a guaranteed $275 million and laden with incentives that would boost the total value of the deal to as much as $305 million. Under the terms of the agreement, A-Rod reportedly would receive an additional $6 million each time he were to tie one of the top four players on baseball career home run list: Willie Mays (660), Babe Ruth (714),Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762), and an additional payment of $6 million upon breaking Bonds’ tainted record. The contract also reportedly requires Alex to “make extra promotional appearances and sign memorabilia for the Yankees as part of a marketing plan surrounding his pursuit of Bonds’s record.”
According to the SI report, the contract contains no language about steroids, which makes the Yankees look very stupid right about now, particularly in the wake of Jason Giambi‘s ill-fated tenure in New York. That’s right, Yankee fans. It appears you’re stuck with him.