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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Baseball Players Disappointed in Alexander Rodriguez’ Steroids Use

    One by one, they fell from grace; a slew of potential Major League Baseball hall of famers, tainting their legacies by alleged use of the sport’s banned substances. For the past few years, baseball has been a game of asterisks and court cases.

    Superstars like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have been tangled in a web of legal matters and seen their achievements questioned.

    Monday, Alex Rodriguez was added to that list.

    A Sports Illustrated article reported that A-Rod, the sport’s highest paid player, tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in a 2003. Major League Baseball conducted the survey to determine if random drug testing in was necessary, and the results were to be kept anonymous. However, the results were confiscated by authorities, in relation to the Bonds and BALCO investigation. Now, Rodriguez is one of 104 positive tests that have dealt major league baseball another blow.

    Once the news hit, A-Rod sat down with ESPN’s Peter Gammons and admitted that he used some banned substances from 2001-2003. “I was young, stupid and naive,” said the 3-time American League MVP. “I wanted to prove my worth as one of the best players of all-time.” A-Rod won’t face any legal trouble for his positive test, since it was conducted before baseball disciplined players who used banned substances.

    So what does this mean for striving college baseball players, with dreams of one day playing in the major leagues? Baseball players at Stony Brook University all agree that Rodriguez has severely damaged his image as one of the best and completely natural players in the league. The A-Rod news is a little more personal to these guys and is a constant topic of locker room conversation.

    The fact that it was Alex Rodriguez came as a shock to freshman pitcher/shortstop Nick Tropeano, who still considers A-Rod one of his favorite players. “When the whole steroid scandal came out, everyone compared everyone to A-Rod,” said Tropeano, “because of how good of a natural player he was.” Before this, Rodriguez had never been publicly connected to a positive drug test. “Now that he did use steroids,” added Tropeano, “you can’t use him as an example anymore.”

    The news has cast A-Rod in a different light. He is no longer the face of how to succeed without the help of banned substances. Rodriguez expressed remorse, saying, “If I was a fan, I would be very pissed off. I am deeply sorry. I’m sorry for that time and I’m sorry to my fans.” He added that the young hopefuls that look up to him should learn from his mistakes.

    “It gets you thinking,” said junior first-baseman Rob Dyer, “Like, how many more people are using banned substances?” Like A-Rod, many players have admitted to using steroids, citing the pressure to perform at the highest level, day in and day out, as an incentive. However, many of the accused, like Bonds and Clemens, are still fighting to prove their innocence. “A-Rod has always come off as the clean player,” added Dyer. “He even did the interview when he straight up said no.” Dyer is referring to Rodriguez’s “60 Minutes” interview with Katie Couric’s in 2001, in which he denied ever using performance enhancing drugs. A-Rod added that he never felt overmatched and had no problem competing at any level, and that steroids give the game of baseball a big black eye.

    “As a college player, you look up to these guys,” said senior pitcher Mike Errigo. “To see them cheat, it’s just not right.” Errigo went a step further, saying, “We work hard everyday, the right way, then you see these guys taking steroids and cheating.” The proof of their hard work was reflected in a solid season last year, in which the Stony Brook Seawolves won the America East Conference Championship and earned a NCAA tournament berth.

    These college athletes have given baseball huge chunks of their short lifetimes, picking up a bat at the age of four or five and earning college scholarships through the sport. Having a black cloud shadowing the sport they’ve devoted so much time to has been tough.

    Tom Kohler is a former member of the Seawolves and is now pursuing a major league baseball career with the Florida Marlins after being drafted in June. “It is a terrible feeling,” said Kohler. “Not knowing whether the guy you are competing with or against has used a banned substance, but unfortunately, it’s a reality in these times.”

    The pressure to perform well is felt in the college ranks too, and the pervasiveness of steroid use in the major leagues has affected college athletes with hopes of one day playing professionally.

    “Honestly, it has passed my mind,” said Dyer. “Thinking, will this make me better? Will this take me to the next level?” Dyer also added that he believes that there are many college baseball players that use steroids because of this. “I’m doing my best naturally, so I would like my competitors to be natural,” he added. “I feel betrayed by people that use steroids.”

    If players are starting to inject their bodies with banned substances before they reach the professional league, is there any hope for a reversal of this steroid era? Will we ever be able to look at records without doubt that they have been set naturally and without the help of steroids? These questions remained to be answered.

    What we do know, however, is that the Stony Brook Seawolves baseball team will continue to pursue the goal of heading back to the NCAA tourney this year, naturally and with hard work. The season opener is in Boca Raton, Florida, as the Stony Brook Seawolves face the Florida Atlantic Owls on Feb. 27th at 7:00 pm.

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