Columnist wants home runs taken away from Alex Rodriguez

Feb 23, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (13) practices during spring training work outs at Yankees Minor Leauge Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 23, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (13) practices during spring training work outs at Yankees Minor Leauge Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Chicago Tribune columnist, Phillip Hersh, says that Alex Rodriguez should get his home runs taken away that were hit when he was on PEDs.

Alex Rodriguez showed up at spring training a couple days before he was required to report. Rodriguez was recently reprimanded for his involvement with the Biogeneis scandal in the MLB, warranting a year long suspension for the 2013-14 season.

In a hand-written letter to his fans, apologizing for his actions and taking full responsibility for them, the 39-year old hopes to put this all behind him and just do what he does best: play some baseball.

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But Chicago Tribune columnist, Phil Hersh, has other thoughts about the punishment issued to Rodriguez. According to Hersh, placing the problem strictly in the past would be an injustice to baseball. Despite being the longest suspension for the use of PEDs in MLB history, he does not think it was severe enough. Hersh wants Rodriguez to forfeit some of his home runs, 190 of them to be exact.

Hersh also compared former cyclist and Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong as well as the Jackie Robinson West team both forfeiting their titles to Rodriguez.

“Lance Armstrong lost seven Tour de France titles after a host of former teammates testified he had doped and he later admitted to some of it,” Hersh said in his column for the Chicago Tribune. “Little League International stripped Jackie Robinson West of a U.S. title for playing fast and loose with geographical boundaries for its team members.”

An interesting take on the whole steroid scandal that has surrounded the MLB since the early 2000s. Taking away home runs from players who are involved with anything PED related would definitely make players think twice about taking steroids.

The newly elected commissioner of the MLB, Rob Manfred has promised the fans a cleaner game. A promise that would further protect power-hitter records such as Barry Bonds’ coveted single season home run record of 73 and career home run record of 762. This is one way to accomplish this.

But would taking away home runs from juicers really make that big of an impact?

Rodriguez cheated and was suspended for the entire 2014 season. Isn’t this punishment enough? He is far past his prime. Unless he plays for another 5 years and hits more than 20 homers each season he will not surpass Bonds on the all time home run list. Those numbers would put Rodriguez at 44 years old when he retires with no diminished returns in the home run category until he retires. A steep climb if he plans on breaking Bonds’ record.

Without that huge suspension of 162 games, A-Rod definitely had a shot at it. But not as great of a chance anymore. And if he does average 20 plus home runs as a 40-year old, doesn’t he kind of deserve the record? That was something Bonds could never do.

This is also implying that if you take away some of the home runs that Rodriguez hit you would also have to take away some from other steroid users. This causes all sorts of problems.

Bonds himself is widely believed to have taken steroids throughout his career. Mark McGuire (70 HR) and Sammy Sosa (65 HR) are also considered to have taken PEDs. Would we take away these home runs too?

There is really no way of telling who all has taken PEDs and who hasn’t. So then it is just a game of whose public relations office is better at clearing the name of their client.

No one was crying for the immediate removal of the San Francisco Giants 2012 World Series after Melky Cabrera was punished for his usage of PEDs during their title run. And this came at the same time as A-Rod’s suspension, just a less severe, 50-game penalty.

I am by no means condoning the use of steroids. Cheating of any kind is wrong. It should be widely looked for in professional sports and punished as necessary. A-Rods suspension is most likely severe enough. Removing any of his 654 home runs would ultimately do nothing productive for Rodriguez or Major League baseball. The MLB should learn from its past mistakes regarding drug use and implement more efficient drug-testing policies and preventative practices. But for now, they must do as Rodriguez has done and put their drug-ridden past behind them.

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