Any fan of the game of baseball has a certain viewpoint when it comes to the discussion of steroid use and how to treat players who have been tainted by the controversy.
Alex Rodriguez served a 162-game suspension last season after violating MLB’s drug policy and has faced intense scrutiny since rejoining the New York Yankees in Spring Training this year. To the surprise of many, the soon-to-be 40-year-old Rodriguez has had a good season, batting .283 .386/.529 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs heading into play Sunday.
Rodriguez is two days removed from collecting the 3,000th hit of his career, which for added historical achievement, was a solo home run. The Yankees third baseman received a standing ovation, which seemingly served as another demonstration much of the New York fan base has forgiven the enigmatic superstar.
However, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who coached Rodriguez, has mixed feelings over the accomplishment. “He’s hit them and I don’t want to get into the whole steroid thing,” he said.
“But I think baseball in general, when I see a guy that’s really, really good and I think can really hit or a guy who can really play, I like knowing that’s coming from hard work and dedication and talent, and a guy that’s really enhanced that talent by putting in the work. Anything other than that, obviously it taints it a little bit.”
While Mattingly casts some doubt on the milestone, that doesn’t equate to a skewed view of Rodriguez. “It doesn’t necessarily change my opinion about a person,” Mattingly said. “It’s just the accomplishments, you look at them a little differently.”
Despite Rodriguez’s numerous accomplishments throughout his career, history suggests he won’t receive any benefit of the doubt when it comes to making the Hall of Fame. Neither Barry Bonds, the all-time home run leader, nor Roger Clemens, have obtained even 40 percent of votes for enshrinement (75 percent required to enter).
While it is still unclear whether these three will ever enter the Hall of Fame, Rodriguez has already received a form of poetic justice as the fan who caught his 3,000th hit decided to keep the ball.