MLB Commissioner Bud Selig released the following statement regarding A-Rod's steroid use:
On behalf of Major League Baseball, I am saddened by the revelations concerning Alex Rodriguez's use of performance-enhancing substances. While Alex deserves credit for publicly confronting the issue, there is no valid excuse for using such substances and those who use them have shamed the game.
What Alex did was wrong and he will have to live with the damage he has done to his name and reputation. His actions are also a reminder to everyone in baseball -- under our current drug program, if you are caught using steroids and/or amphetamines, you will be punished. Since 2005, every player who has tested positive for steroids has been suspended for as much as 50 games. Eradicating performance-enhancing substances from the game of baseball has been my first priority over the past decade and it is important to remember that these recent revelations relate to pre-program activity.
A-Rod shamed the game? Please, Bud, spare me. I'm really tired of baseball officials, fans, and columnists and their feigned indignity. Let's go back to 1998. McGwire and Sosa chased Maris; Juan-Gone chased Hack Wilson; the Yankees broke the regular season wins record; so on and so forth. It was the year that saved baseball from the consequences of the 1994 player strike. It was the year steroids saved baseball, everyone knew it then, and I'm tired of them pretending they're shocked about it now.
Baseball needed a year like 1998. It had struggled to get fans back to the parks since the player strike and 1998 put baseball back at the forefront of the American experience. I was in high school in 1998, and I remember joking with my friends about how all these players hitting all these home runs were on steroids. We all suspected McGwire of 'roids. But we didn't care. Neither did baseball. Those players gave us a hell of a show. Steroids gave us a hell of a show, and we all loved it. We loved the 'Chicks dig the long ball' commercials on ESPN before the 1999 season. We loved that any year someone might hit over 60 home runs. Baseball didn't ask, players didn't tell, fans didn't care.
Now, all of a sudden, these "cheaters" have ruined baseball. The truth is, not nearly as many of us would be paying nearly as much attention if these players hadn't shot up and delivered one of the greatest single seasons in baseball history. Baseball needed 1998, and it needed steroids, and I don't blame it for turning a blind eye. I think that it's good that they instituted testing once baseball was on a stronger footing, and they did wait until baseball was on a stronger footing. I just wish all these people would stop acting like they didn't embrace the steroids era with open arms and that all these players have done us all a great disservice. They didn't sell nuclear secrets. They just made baseball America's past-time again.
People may not want to accept that, but it doesn't change the fact that steroids more or less saved baseball. If your team has a new stadium, thank steroids. And stop pretending these guys ruined the game as though you didn't cheer them on with full, if not confirmed, knowledge of what they were doing behind clothes doors. If me and my 16 year old buddies new what was going on, so did everyone else. That includes Bud Selig, all these columnists screaming for A-Rod's head, and just about anyone at all involved with the sport of baseball in general. So please, enough with the feigned indignity. If you didn't raise the issue then, I don't want to hear about it now.