Saturday, February 7, 2009

Torre Who?

With today's news from that Alex Rodriguez reportedly failing a steroid test in 2003, the shift of media attention from Joe Torre's book is palpable. The fallout from "The Yankee Years", including "A-Fraud", Mike Mussina's dissing of Mariano Rivera, and the "Single White Female" relationship of Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, were expected to be the main topics of conversation when pitchers and catchers report on the 13th.

But instead, a zoo-like atmosphere will surely exist, the direction of which could very well steer one way or another in the next 48 hours. The MLB Network held a forum this morning that ran into the afternoon, with Bob Costas, Tom Verducci, Harold Reynolds, and Matt Vasgersian discussing the issues.

The consensus was that A-Rod needs to make a public statement in reaction to the story within the next couple of days. That translates to an Andy Pettitte-like "mea culpa" or a Roger Clemens' type strategy of "deny, deny, deny", and hope it doesn't blow up in his face. Strength of character has never been one of A-Rod's notable traits, so we can see it being the latter rather than the former.

Personally, we are very disappointed. No matter what we've thought of A-Rod at times, there's never been any question of what we felt about his talent or accomplishments. That said, his career could be tarnished, whether the accusation is truthful or not. And that's just sad.

Costas also sat down with the main author of the story, Selena Roberts, to discuss the findings. Roberts did her due diligence and had what she felt were four reliable sources. She also traveled to Miami on Thursday to get a reaction from Rodriguez, who gave her a veiled "get lost" in his response of, "You'll have to take to the union".

The bigger issue here though, again, is the results of the drug testing in 2003 being leaked out. These results, just like the BALCO grand jury testimony, was supposed to be confidential. Time and time again, this information is being leaked. And you're not hearing about some utility infielder each time either. These are planned leaks, by whom we do not know, but an investigation needs take place.

To make matters worse, MLB player's association COO Gene Orza is being accused of tipping off players to the timing of random drug tests. It's a serious accusation, with Roberts' source being a handful of players. And rather than simply denying the charge, when given the chance to address it, Orza told Roberts, "I'm not interested in discussing this information with you."

Just when we think things can't get much uglier when it comes to performance enhancing drugs and baseball, it does.

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