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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Cleaning out the locker

By Peter Steele

Whether you care about it or not, the big business of the week is New York Yankee’s third baseman Alex Rodriguez’s admission to using steroids during the three years he played for the Texas Rangers. Alas. Why can’t a Major League Baseball player just tell us the truth for once? We’re all adults here. It’s not as if A-Rod’s admission came freely, because of a crisis of conscious. It came only after Sports Illustrated reported over the weekend that he had tested positive for banned substances in ’03. Furthermore, when asked exactly what substances he was taking and where they came from, Rodriguez’s reply was that he didn’t know. “It was such a loosey-goosey era.I’m guilty for being negligent, na’ve, not asking all the right questions.” In other words, you were young and vulnerable, right? Geez. You can almost see the poor guy squirming in his chair. But seriously. Other players in the Texas clubhouse with A-Rod those years included Rafael Palmeiro, a long since convicted steroids offender, and Ken Caminiti, who died in 2004 from causes related to his steroid use. With this surrounding cast, Rodriguez knew exactly where the drugs were coming from, and exactly what they were. There was no one sneaking into his room at night while he was sleeping and stabbing a needle in his butt. Why can’t he just tell us that?

Of course, not everyone was glum about the whole episode. ESPN seemed to be having a wonderful time milking it for all it was worth. They gave A-Rod the kind of treatment usually reserved for politicians who’ve done gone and told a whopper: a serene, non-judgmental interview, grand piano and flower pot in the fuzzy, warm-looking background, and an attendant standing by with tissues for when the proceedings get all teary-eyed.

Perhaps it’s too much to ask the players to tell us the truth. By doing so, they are jeopardizing their careers, their images, and their legacy. Perhaps it’s too much of a risk for them to open up. In any case, it seems destined that we’re forever going to have a much longer list of steroid suspects than steroid convictions. We are never going to put the Steroid Era behind us by hunting down and bringing to justice every single player who ever pumped the juice. The one way we can put it behind us is to accept that there are tougher testing procedures and penalties than there used to be, that steroid use is now much harder to get away with, and with that in mind, to let bygones be bygones. What doesn’t help is when sports media sources such as ESPN blow the whole thing up every time a new player or trainer is implicated. On behalf of fans who, like me, lose a little bit of interest in baseball every time they hear the words “steroids” or “Mitchell Report,” it’s time to move on.

And now for the fun stuff:

Some people like Coach K, lots of others don’t. Either way, his complaint earlier this season that the media was over-hyping the Big East and not giving enough credit to the ACC was spot on. You can look at the college basketball rankings and argue that the Big East has more teams in the top 25, as has been the case all season. That will always happen, simply because the Big East has more teams (16 to the ACC’s 12). But at the very top of the rankings, where it counts, there isn’t much difference: The Big East has No. one, and four teams in the top 10, while the ACC has thre in the top 10 and two in the top five. Also, the quality of play on a night-in, night-out basis is as good or better in the ACC. So don’t be surprised when it’s an ACC team hoisting the national championship trophy come April.

Two weeks ago, Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer in the finals of tennis’ Australian Open. It’s his fifth Grand Slam, and four of them have been wins over Federer. I used to hate when this happened (Nadal beating Federer in Grand Slam Finals), and the reason was because I was in it for the history. I wanted to be able to say I grew up watching the greatest tennis player ever to play the game. For a long time, that player was unequivocally Roger Federer. He was well on his way to besting Pete Sampras’ career record 14 Grand Slams, and I didn’t want this upstart Spaniard ruining my preferred version of the story. But now, I’m starting to realize that I could be witnessing something even better than the greatest player of all time: the greatest rivalry of all time. So far, almost every Federer-Nadal match has been epic, and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue. So rock on, Rafa.

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