By Savannah Malnar
Performance-enhancing drug use is a predominant issue in the MLB. It has tainted the names of many greats such as Joe Canseco, Barry Bonds, and most recently, Alex Rodriguez.
Last year the MLB suspended A-Rod for the entirety of the 2014 season for a scandal involving him taking performance-enhancing drugs and being connected to a medical clinic in Florida known to provide these drugs to players. This suspension was originally 211 games but was dropped to 162 games by an arbitrator; this is still the longest in MLB history for doping, and when it was issued there was plenty of debate as to the severity of the ruling by now-retiring MLB commissioner Bud Selig.
But as of the end of the 2014 World Series, A-Rod is back. Or at least he wants to be.
The suspension is in the past and the New York Yankees and A-Rod are working on their relationship. Both parties seem intent to get A-Rod, a historically great third baseman, back into starting shape. His age (he will be turning 40 during the 2015 season) and lack of conditioning from missing an entire season are a concern. If the Yankees were to drop his contract, it would force them to pay him the remaining $61 million salary.
This is a minor story that is being overshadowed by both the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series and Selig retiring; an ironic situation seeing how widely covered the story was covered when A-Rod was first suspended. The end of the suspension should be a bigger deal than it is.
The sport media needs to begin now in deciding how it will portray A-Rod. Will he be shown as a cheater, or someone to be admired for attempting to overcome all odds and recover his starting position? Already, writer Christian Red for The New York Daily News referred to him as a “steroid-tainted player.” Perhaps this is a preview of how the sport media will choose to label him.
I believe, if that is the case, it is the correct course of action. Too often, players who come back from suspension and do well are commended by the media and fans for their success in the face of “adversity.”