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Why A-Rod has been let off the steroids hook but McGwire has not

Jan 29, 2010, 4:15 PM EDT

Bob Klapsich explains why A-Rod has been allowed to moonwalk from his steroids scandal while McGwire keeps getting ripped. As an explanation, I find it to be lacking:

First, he appeared to be more honest than McGwire in revealing the
detail of his cheating. While A-Rod may have fudged some details, he at
least provided the name of a complicit family member, as well as the
exact time frame of his cheating.

Wait, A-Rod gets credit for throwing a family member under the bus? Where I come from that makes things worse. And what
about “the exact time frame” of his cheating stuff?  If I remember
correctly, he took all kinds of flak over the claim that he stopped taking PEDs the moment he donned the pinstripes, as well as for other things.  Klapisch goes on:

Second, A-Rod was able to dodge the backlash by falling off the Yankees’ radar while he underwent hip surgery. Unlike McGwire, who will face
daily scrutiny as the Cardinals’ hitting instructor, Rodriguez was
absent for almost two months during his convalescence. By the time he
returned in May, he’d decided to stop talking – or, if he did agree to
be interviewed, kept his comments short, scripted and, most
importantly, safe.

If McGwire “fell off the radar” like that he’d be excoriated for ducking the media. Oh, wait, he’s already being excoriated for that even though he’s given more interviews that A-Rod ever did following his unmasking.  C’mon Bob, what’s really going on?

It doesn’t hurt, either, that he’s now officially a creature of the
postseason. Those massive home runs off Joe Nathan in the ALDS and
Brian Fuentes in the ALCS led to A-Rod’s breakthrough moment in the
World Series – driving in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning of Game
4 against Brad Lidge.

Ah, there we are.  All it takes to atone for the sin of taking steroids is to hit “massive home runs.” Nope, I see no cognitive dissonance there at all.

Look, I’m not ripping Klapisch here because, unless I’m mistaken, he’s merely explaining why, in the minds of the public, A-Rod is off the hook now, not arguing that he deserves to be off or McGwire deserves to be on or both.  But it’s pretty clear that McGwire is being held to a different standard here, and those who will pass judgment on him are going to do their damnedest to ensure that he cannot win.

  1. Rays fan - Jan 30, 2010 at 1:05 AM

    “The Hall most certainly has already ensconced a goodly number of players who used amphetimines and other early PED’s and have done so without a snicker, whimper, whine, or holier than thou protestation from the voters. Either identify these players already voted in who used PED’s and pull them out or admit that the criteria for election to the Hall of Fame is a shifting and highly arbitrary process subject to the whims of public opinion.”
    Well said! Thanks. I’d only add that almost all of the voters were baseball writers in 1998 and heaped all sorts of praise on McGwire, etc, despite the steroid rumors and without ever investigating–just to add hypocrisy to the sanctimony. (The voters have to have been BBWAA members for at least 10 years, so the most recent Hall vote was the first in which it was even possible that a voter might not have been a reporter in 1998.)

  2. yankeh8r - Jan 30, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    that’s what a-roid’s wife thought too!

  3. Rays fan - Jan 30, 2010 at 1:20 AM

    Yes, it is. However, the issue here is how McGwire continues to be blasted for it while A-Rod occasionally gets heckled but otherwise seems to have his steroid use ignored. Partly it’s because he followed his lawyers’ advice at the Congressional hearing (which I have a hard time faulting when the Dept of Justice specifically refused to offer immunity & former Rep Tom Davis of VA recently stated McGwire did admit his use behind closed doors). The bulk of the disparity, however, is as Kaitlin B said in her post–McGwire was once beloved & A-Rod has never been, at least not since he left Seattle. As a result, the public as a whole, and the media, reacted as though personally betrayed by McGwire. A-Rod angered people, but not to the same level as McGwire because there was no feeling of betrayal–it just got added to all the other reasons that many people do not like him.

  4. tom - Jan 30, 2010 at 8:27 AM

    because he is from new york,they get their way with everything

  5. NYguy - Jan 30, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    You and yanke8hr apparently are of the same misinformed ilk. This is a story about PED’s, A-Rod, Mac and the differing scrutiny each player may receive. The viewpoints vary, enormously, from person to person. Trashing the city of NY, the Yankees, and fans is more your aim than this story. It is people like you who turn the thread from meaningful dialogue to immature whining. A-Rod cheated long before he donned the pinstripes. So did Giambi and Clemens. Everyone posting here must be very naive to think every PED using player did so based upon which city and team they represented. I am sure A-Rod did not use PED’s to become the best Texas Ranger he could be. Had he signed with Boston it would not change the history. I am sure you would be offering a 180 degree viewpoint if that were the case. You already indicate you drink the Ortiz Kool-Aid. What disingenous phonies you are. Every user did so for personal and selfish gain. The cities and fans are victims. The teams, MLB and the media are complicit. Craig, how is A-Rod off the hook as long as you have the power to keep him on it?

  6. Fast Eddy - Jan 30, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    We all know this stuff has been happening for years. The N Y writers all will trash their own when something like this happens. However when it comes right down to the voting time for the HOF, they will all start to join in lock step to see their guy gets in the Hall. It will begin slowly, however they will see to it that A-Rod gets in the hall. For Mac, he is out forever. Lets see when it comes time for voting for A-Rod, how this works. He is already being granted dispensation (slowly). Klapsich started it already, writing about the differences in the two players, sort of excusing A-Rod. This will continue, and in the end, all will be forgiven A-Rod. When his time comes, it will be written that he was a great player with or without juice etc etc.. Eventually, the story will be well, no body is perfect, so let him in. he will get voted in at last. For Mac, it is all over, no matter what happens from here on out. THAT’S THE TRUTH!

  7. Nyguy - Jan 30, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    You are not Nostradamus and offer only your opinion. The truth will be known as the future unfolds. A lot may happen from now until A-Rod is eligible. For Mac the jury is still out. He is back in the the game and that could help him down the road. Only time will tell. What you state is possible, but not yet the truth.

  8. Nostradamus - Jan 30, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    This is Nasty Nostradamus talking. Fast Eddy is correct. It will happen just as he said. Mac is dead, and A-Rod will be elected to the hall.

  9. Cards Fan - Jan 30, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    Finally somebody got it right about McGuire wanting to tell the truth to congress. But we never hear much about this and why because it it doesn’t “sell”. The wholel situation might just die down and the press doesn’t want that, what would they do if they didn’t have someone to bash daily . As for the NY fan who said no one likes the Cards, well, to each his own but millions of cards fans will beg to differ with you.

  10. YANKEES1996 - Jan 30, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    A-Rod has been hated and chastised by the media and general public since he signed the contract with the Rangers. Of course right or wrong when he signed that contract everyone thought the Rangers were instant contenders and they weren’t! I can understand A-Rods’ feeling of pressure to perform and then his eventual fall into steroids, I am sure there was serious pressure on him to carry that team. A-Rod never appeared before congress about the steroid issue the way McGwire did and to his credit he never said that the steroids did nothing for him like McGwire insinuated. A-Rods’ apology was just as short as all the other guys but none of the guys accused of this is going to give a full disclosure apology.
    The tabloids have never let A-Rod breathe and anything he does is always publicized, that is the pressure that comes with being branded as the games best player, which McGwire never was. I think McGwire made a huge mistake when he said in his interview that he felt like the steroids did not help him hit the basball, the fans are smarter than that and that was a slap to the face of all baseball fans.
    Another thing that needs to be remembered about the difference between these two is that A-Rod has not broken the type of record that McGwire broke, he has not approached that type of hallowed ground and McGwire has disgraced the record book and Roger Maris. A-Rod may or may not break the all time homerun record but if he had broken it with the shadow of steroid use hanging over his head I think his treatment by everyone would have been extremely harsh.
    I like A-Rod as a Yankees fan and as a baseball fan I think he is an extremely talented player, his off field behaviour to be honest as long as he is not breaking the law I could care less what he does. If he needs to kiss himself in the mirror to hit game tying and walk-off and World Series game winning homeruns then I would install mirrors all over the place in Yankee Stadium.
    Mark McGwire made bad choices in the things he said in his apology and he insulted the baseball family and the baseball fans with the things he said. McGwire and Sosa were Bud Selig’s saviours in 1998 and Selig knew what was going on in those locker rooms and he did nothing about it because he needed McGwire and Sosa to save the game and move it forward, and the homerun race did that and Selig and his cronies turned a blind eye to the problem. Mark McGwire will have to endure a lot more harsh treatment by the fans and the game before he even begins to scratch the surface of how badly A-Rod has been treated during his career.

  11. Fast Eddy - Jan 30, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    You wrote a nice piece, however you still don’t get it (or want to). No matter what the writers said or say about A-Rod, he will make it to the hall. I am not saying he should not, however the N Y writers will see to it that he does. When it comes time to vote for the guy, they will push it through with a lot of stuff that they aren’t saying now. Mac will never get the benefit because he never played for a N Y team. And I don’t necessarily feel he belongs there. He will not get the same gloss over stories that A Rod is GOING to get when it is time to vote for the hall. A Rod said and did just as many unwise things as Mac. They are not going to be treated the same.

  12. NYguy - Jan 30, 2010 at 5:58 PM

    You seem more like a Slow Eddy in your thought processes. You are Nostradumba$$ are quite a soryy pair.

  13. Rays fan - Jan 31, 2010 at 12:23 AM

    Ah, go right for the personal insult rather than add anything cogent to the discussion.

  14. Fast Eddy - Jan 31, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    Nasty and I are both correct. When you see A-Rod in the hall and Mac sitting out, remember this day. In the meantime just keep up your stupid comments and try to argue against the man and not the facts.

  15. JohnMcG - Jan 31, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    It’s because A-Rod is white. (:-)

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