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Taking a closer look at Alex Rodriguez and steroids

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Here's your news: Alex Rodriguez is a juicer.

Here's your old news: a lot of Major League Baseball players are juicers.

But bigger than both of those pieces of news is how this will effect baseball. We're talking about Alex Rodriguez -- the "poster boy" -- of the MLB. This guy was supposed to save baseball from the ugly steroid era. This guy was supposed smash all the records and then, at the end, say: "I was clean." It was supposed to revitalize baseball.

A-Rod was supposed to take baseball out of the shadows and back into the pure image that baseball had always been.

Nope. Not any more.

I don't even want to blame A-Rod for this. He said in his interview with Peter Gammons that he "felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me." And he did. There's no denying that. In 2001, baseball was a game that coveted steroids in the locker room. A-Rod, with that "world" on his back, did what he thought he had to do to stay competitive. Was it stupid? Yes. Was it what he had to do to stay competitive? Yes.

A-Rod isn't totally off the hook, though (what, you think a Red Sox fan would take pity for a Yankee? HA!). The bottom line is that he took steroids. Period. End of sentence. It's not something that was forced upon him. It was all his and only his decision. He was a great baseball player before steroids but he decided to do something that was illegal and make himself even better.

Let's imagine that A-Rod goes to Texas and decides against using steroids. He'd most likely still be a very good player. The three Most Valueable Player awards, though, probably would not be sitting on his mantle at home. Maybe one, depending on the time period. So without steroids, how good would A-Rod be in comparison to the rest of the MLB? Top 15 I'd think. Top 20 at the worst. Could crack the top 10. Would he be the "poster boy" though? Not at all.

So A-Rod without the juice would mean less fame and less money. In comparison, that'd kind of suck for A-Rod. But A-Rod on the juice turns into an even uglier situation where he has tainted baseball.

This is just me personally spouting off, but I really don't think A-Rod is telling the complete truth. I'm going to guess he started using performance-enhancers in 1998. It would make sense. In 1996, his first full year, he hit .358 and hit 36 home runs. He finished second in MVP voting. In '97 though, numbers dropped: just 23 home runs in virtually the same amount of time.

But then comes 1998. The year for steroids. The year Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs. Well there's A-Rod in Seattle thinking to himself: "Hmm. How does this guy hit 70 home runs? The league figured me out last year. How can I be like this guy?" In comes the 'roids for '98. A-Rod hits 42 bombs that year. He wouldn't hit less than 40 until 2004, his first season as a Yankee. That is speculation, of course, but I really doubt that A-Rod only used for three seasons.

Now that A-Rod is tainted, baseball has taken its worst hit ever. Now, though, we just wait and see where it goes from here.