Mar 3, 2009

Baseball’s darkest hour: Rodriguez’s juice use devestating on many levels

by Axel Cerny

Arguably the most prolific name currently in baseball admitted to the use of performance-enhancing steroids this month, casting a shadow of doubt and skepticism over the last decade of record-breaking achievements by major league stars. But, when President Barack Obama was asked about the exposure of Alex Rodriguez’s cheating in his first press conference as president of The United States, he said,

“The thing I’m probably most concerned about is the message it sends to our kids.”

Children, adults and even college athletes have nicknamed him A-Rod and looked up to him as the most fearsome hitter in professional baseball, but as they watched him sit down with ESPN’s Peter Gammons on Feb. 9 for a 30 minute one-on-one interview, most could not restrain from thinking of his new nickname, A-Fraud.

In 2001, Rodriguez signed the biggest contract in major league history with the Texas Rangers, earning him a plush $252 million. In a recent interview, Rodriguez cited this circumstance as a cause for his mistake.

“When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day,” Rodriguez told Gammons.

So, what about those who are already beginning to feel that pressure? There are hundreds upon hundreds of minor leaguers, who have spent years staying at rickety hotels and making small change, just dreaming of their shot to step on a Major League diamond. They are feeling the pressure. But even more so, what about the thousands and thousands of college athletes who would give anything to keep playing baseball or any sport for pay once their four years of college eligibility are up. At Liberty, a small group of those players on campus compete athletically at the top collegiate level in Division-I NCAA sports.

One of those athletes is senior third-baseman and pitcher, Cody Brown. Brown is in his final year of college eligibility at Liberty and would obviously love nothing more than to take his game to the next level.
Oddly enough, Brown’s high school baseball coach also coached Rodriguez when A-Rod was in high school. When Brown was in eighth grade, Rodriguez came and spoke to Brown and his teammates encouraging them in baseball and giving them, as Brown remembered, a real example of success. Unfortunately, that example has been tarnished for Brown and millions of others who watched the great baseball star fall from the sky.

When asked about how A-Rod’s admittance of the use of steroids impacts the college players here at Liberty, Brown said, “Personally I don’t feel the pressure, and I can tell you the team here doesn’t.”
But Brown did say that he would suspect there are definitely those out there in college who are using illegal performance enhancing substances.

“Hopefully college kids are able to keep things more in perspective,” he said. But in the minor leagues, Brown admitted that steroids have gotten to be a big issue. With no other career options in sight for most of those players, they have got their eyes open toward whatever it would take to get them into the major leagues.

With all the negative effects to the body that we have learned steroids can cause, parents can only hope that when their children go to bed and dream of a future baseball career, A-Roid isn’t their inspiration.

Contact Axel Cerny at


Printable Version

» Men’s Hockey splits opening weekend series
» There’s no place like home
» Four minutes with Pat
» Flames volleyball dethrones Dukes
» Are athletes or reporters to blame?
» Men’s Soccer misfires in consecutive losses