View From Lodi, CA Pittsburgh, PA: After The Rodriguez Scandal, Clean Up Baseball's Record Books!
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What a great week to be an editorial page columnist!

I have so many opinions on the major events during the last few days: the rocky start for our "Change You Can Believe In" president, the $900 billion stimulus bill that no one outside of Capitol Hill thinks has a prayer of succeeding, the irresponsible mother of fourteen Nadya Suleman who wants to use your money to raise her kids and the Lodi Unified School District's staffing cuts made necessary by an incompetent Sacramento bureaucracy.

But since baseball pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training next week, I'll write about Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankee's admitted steroid abuser.

Earlier this week, Rodriquez apologized profusely to ESPN's baseball analyst Peter Gammons for his drug transgressions. But watching his interview, I found Rodriquez's performance unconvincing—no doubt coached by professional image polishers who advised him to refrain from using the word "steroid". 

Fans demand some type of punitive action against not only Rodriquez, but also other multiple drug offenders, most prominent among them Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens

Many also cry out for the removal of Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig because his reign began in 1998, just about the time Bonds and two other steroid users, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa, started their illegitimate pursuits of Hank Aaron and Roger Maris' career and season homerun records.

Selig, in a reaction to the common knowledge that steroids were rampant in baseball clubhouses, soon announced players would be subject to random, confidential drug testing but would not be punished if the results came up positive.

And, as we know now, in 2003 Rodriguez tested positive. The same year—not so coincidentally—the then-Texas Ranger Rodriquez won the home run title and the Most Valuable Player Award.

That winter, Rodriguez parlayed his 2003 season's offensive production into a ten-year quarter of a billion dollar Yankee contract.

With Rodriguez's betrayal now public, Selig should act immediately. And his target list shouldn't be limited to Rodriguez alone. [A-Rod Apologizes, Now It's Selig's Turn, by Theo Fightmaster, San Francisco Giants Examiner, February 10, 2009]

Using the power of his position that enables him to act "in the best interests of baseball," here are the steps Selig must take.

  • First and most urgently, to clear the innocent of guilt by association, Selig should make public the remaining 103 players named with Rodriguez.
  • Second, strip Rodriguez of his Most Valuable Player Awards won in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Even though Rodriquez claims he didn't use steroids in 2005 or 2007, we only have his word for it. And that, as we have learned, isn't worth anything.

Whoever finished second in voting, unless he too appears on a list to be released later, should become the Most Valuable Player.

  • Remove Rodriguez's name from any years that he won the home run, batting average or runs batted in titles.
  • Selig should then go right straight down the line to strip other known offenders of their titles.

Roger Clemens would no longer hold seven Cy Young Awards; he'd have none.

  • Eliminate McGuire, Sosa, Bonds and all other dirty players from "All Time" lists. Their numbers would remain on their individual statistics but with an asterisk.

Sure, such a move is punitive. Early in his career, Clemens won plenty of games and McGuire hit a bunch of homers without dope. But that's what punishment is about.

  • Finally, restore Henry Aaron to his rightful position as career homerun king.

These would be tough, controversial decisions. But Selig is paid to make them. In 2008, he earned $18 million and had a $500,000 expense account to cover his numerous job perks.

Rumors are that Selig is considering taking "action." But he'll get a tough fight from the Players Association if he tries retroactively to invoke penalties on players found to use steroids prior to collectively bargained testing from checks that were supposed to be anonymous. [Only Selig Can Rectify Steroids Situation in Baseball, by Christine Brennan, USA Today, February 12, 2009]

In a compromise solution with the union Selig could allow the abusers, all of whom claim they are "sorry," to remain on the active rosters and collect their tens of millions in salary. The owners would still rake in hundreds of millions in revenue.

What would change is what counts the most. The record books would reflect who the true baseball stars are—and always have been.

Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.

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