Monday, February 9, 2009

Road to Redemption: A-Roid Must Confess to Survive

We are still in the wake of the stunning announcement that even the “hardest worker in MLB” enjoyed an anabolic cocktail before workouts.

The news has barely had a chance to sink in, but the shockwaves have already traveled beyond The Milky Way Galaxy.

Major League Baseball has been through all of this before. They have watched as record holders, surefire Hall of Famers, and heroes of the game were sucked into the black hole of steroid use.

The blacklist has included the religiously dedicated, the publicly beloved, the publicly despised, the seemingly natural, the obliviously enhanced, and hitters and pitchers alike.

Regardless of who is involved, there seems to be only one way to creep back into the hearts of the media and the hometown fans. It is a clear and simple message — come clean, and get clean.

While Roger Clemens, David Justice, and Barry Bonds battle to protect their image and credibility, public perception continues to label them as guilty until proven innocent. Others like Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire have suffered the same fate, and have simply chosen to disappear into exile.

Those who have been most successful in bouncing back from controversy have ironically been the active players. The best recipe has been a sincere apology and confession coupled with answering as many media questions as legally allowed.

Luckily for Alex, he has two excellent examples within his team’s clubhouse of how to handle the adversity surrounding a positive steroid test.

Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte were forgiven in New York following confessions, and Andy is as beloved as ever before even following a poor performance in 2008.

A-Rod may not have a decade of success and World Series titles under his belt. What he does have is a 31 ounce toothpick in his hands on game day that he still uses as a dangerous weapon.

Alex’s ‘Road to Redemption’ begins in front of a microphone. The first sentences that roll off of his tongue under pressure will determine the next nine years of his Yankee career.

Acknowledging his previous steroid use, and apologizing to the fans, city of New York, and Yankee organization is a nice start. Performing on the field would at least bring forgiveness within driving distance.

Alex’s best course of action is to quarantine suspicions solely in his time with the Texas Rangers. Whether or not it is true, it is very believable.

In 2001, Alex teamed up with Pudge Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, and Ken Kaminiti. They are all previously targeted or admitted steroid users. Alex can claim that his years in Seattle were all-natural, and that he stopped in 2004 when testing programs were initiated.

Alex can state that he was caught up with the wrong people in Texas, and apologize for a terrible error in judgment. He can try to erase three seasons from his incredible career, in order to attempt to save the other ten full seasons up to this point.

If he takes this path, and there are no clubhouse personnel or steroid suppliers ready to testify against his public statements, Alex may be on his way to salvaging a pinstriped career.

In all likelihood, he forever lost his chance at receiving a bust in Cooperstown. However, if he takes all the proper steps from here on out, Alex just may manage to save face in the city that so desperately wants a reason to like him.

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