I had Buster Olney’s A-Rod article open on my browser for the last few days, planning on pounding out an article on it this afternoon. Alas, the best laid plans often fall by the wayside, as Ben over at RAB essentially wrote the article I was planning to put forth. Here is only a small portion of Olney’s larger point:
The Yankees will keep playing him and ignore the question that hovers over Rodriguez and every other aging player who has been linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs. They have to hope that what they’re seeing is someone simply struggling to recover from hip surgery, someone who is prone to doubts, anyway. They have to hope that he will start to hit eventually. They have to hope that he isn’t overcome by frustration with his performance and simply decides to pack it in and have the more extensive hip surgery that he already knows he needs.
The Yankees might be asking themselves the same question that rival talent evaluators are asking, about whether A-Rod without steroids is, in his mid-30s, destined to be a shell of what he was in his mid-20s, when he says he was young and stupid and juicing. But there really isn’t much point in the Yankees’ dwelling on any of that, because they cannot change the terms of his contract, they cannot ever know how much of A-Rod’s success was built on his talent and how much was predicated on his PED use.
And here is the portion of Ben’s take that echoes my thinking on the matter:
In reality, A-Rod’s slump was just that. He had a bad stretch brought about by fatigue in his hip. Yet, despite that reality, despite the surgery, we’re going to get eight years of badly written columns about A-Rod’s decline, A-Rod’s being a shell of his former self, A-Rod’s no longer steroid-filled physique. Forget the natural decline brought about by age. Forget talent. That’s the baseball world in which we live. Olney, though, should know better.
Every time Alex has a poor stretch, we are going to have a deluge of similar columns, questioning the cause of his struggles and inevitably linking them to steroids. Are you ready for eight years of questions?
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