It didn't get much play in the press, but if you were paying attention last week you may have read that Bud Selig earned $18.35 million for his job running baseball in 2007. If you're looking for an overpriced bogeyman for the game's steroid problem, I'd suggest you start with him, and not Alex Rodriguez. It was Selig who buried his head in the sand when the problem was at its peak, and it is Selig who, more than anyone, is responsible for the caustic relationship between players and owners that has precluded any serious movement on various critical issues for the game over the last two decades, PEDs among them. Which is not to say that the players and their union aren't culpable. But let's face reality: despite George Mitchell's very dubious report, we're never going to get a full accounting of what happened during the "steroid era." Naming names just harms the product to no good end, nevermind the patently disgraceful way the names are getting out. The hemming and hawing about records not being legit is, to me, ridiculous. Records are records. They are what happened. The drug culture was pervasive during the 1990s and into the 2000s. It may still be ongoing. It's worth noting that the best scientific evidence fairly conclusively (to my mind) indicates that steroids were for the most part a non-factor in the numbers explosion of the period in question. Did some players get a leg up? I suppose. That's life. It's unfair. Get used to it. And please don't pretend that there is anything sacred about the numbers in the record book. Ruth played in a league without integration, for goodness sake.
What becomes of Alex, though? He already had a PR problem on his hands; he's now looking at the Everest of image issues. My guess is he puts up another fine year, and I won't be surprised one bit if he has the October his detractors have so long demanded. He has the talent, and baseball is a numbers game. With the stacked Yankee roster, he should get his opportunities. We'll see what history has to say. We've got a long way to go.
I watch baseball because I love to see the game played and played well, and to cheer on my favorite team. I'm fascinated by its history, but I'm not captive to it. The game is entertainment. I wish it was better entertainment, and I wish its custodians did a far better job policing and protecting it from themselves. But we're not going to go back in time to fix the past; that can't be done. If I'm upset about anything, it's that what should be a fun spring is going to be incessantly interrupted by this story, which should never have come to be in the first place. So you'll please excuse me if I ignore it to the best of my ability. I suggest you do the same, though I'm guessing it's just not going to be that easy.