Add the greatest catcher of the steroid era to the ever-growing list of players that have brought shame upon the game of Baseball with their outright deception. When asked — in an interview with the Associated Press — about whether his name appears alongside Alex Rodriguez and the other 100+ players who tested positive in the 2003 MLB steroid “survey” the only pitiful response Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez could muster was, “Only God Knows.”
He didn't say "of course not" and laugh off the question, he didn't cry "hell no" and grow angry at the insinuation; all he could divulge, all he could manage was a meekly uttered "Only God knows." With those three evasive words Pudge — considered by many to be the greatest catcher that ever lived — ravaged his legacy irreparably. With his reputation on the line the best Pudge could do is refer the reporter to “God” for an answer to the question of his alleged actions?
Well Pudge, God – if he is even interested in such things – probably does know if you’re on that list, but I can guess someone else who also knows. Pudge himself. Yes, Ivan Rodriguez knows whether — when in 2003 he pissed into a little cup — there were traces of steroids in his urine. Pudge unequivocally, without a doubt, knows if he is on that list or not. And the answer he gave – his "God" only knows response – is as good as an admission of guilt, without the pageantry of A-Rod's apology/explanation/excuse laden interview with Peter Gammons.
It’s bad enough that these men cheated, but with all the evidence (dirty tests, testimony, their changing body types, ect), it is blatantly insulting to the intelligence of the fans for a player like Pudge to so flippantly address the question of whether his entire career is fraudulent.
The fact that his response hasn't drawn the ire and outrage of the public and press unlike is a strong indication of the descending state of numbness all parties interested in the game are beginning to feel towards this issue and the movement towards illegitimatizing the entire era nearly completely distorted with malfeasance.
The man with a cannon for an arm that even the greatest base stealers were hesitant to run on, Pudge dominated his position for over a decade, racking up 13 gold gloves and a 1999 A.L. MVP award when he clouted 35 dingers, the only time he would break the 30 homerun mark for his career. A player who was once a sure-fire Hall of Famer will now be left to wallow in the murk of corruption and dishonestly.
Another product of a Texas Rangers steroid culture that produced fellow alleged and/or confirmed users Jose’ Canseco, Juan Gonzalez, Alex Rodriguez, and Rafael Palmeiro, Pudge, with his own cryptic words, has sealed his baseball legacy by essentially confirming the accusation that Canseco — and Rodriguez's own incredibly shrinking body– eluded to when this widespread steroid pandemic first broke into the public sphere.
Now baseball fans from the 1990s have very few untainted, legitimate memories. The greatest homerun hitters, the most dominate pitcher, and now arguably the most dominant defensive player of the era have all been exposed as charlatans. Perhaps the only positive to arise from this opera of disgrace is the light that shines all the more brightly on players like Ken Griffey Jr., Derek Jeter, Tony Gwynn, and Wade Boggs; athletes who, thus far, have been absolved from even suspicions of cheating. “God” forbid the curtain should fall on these men too or the public might be forced to black out an entire era from their collective consciousness.Powered by Sidelines