Thom Loverro: A-Rod's PED controversy will be hard to swallow for Hall of Fame voters

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Sports,MLB,Nationals,Thom Loverro

Here is what has been one absolute about steroids and sports, something I've been saying for 10 years now and proven right every year:

What we know now about steroids and sports today is not as damaging as we will know tomorrow and what we may know six months from now.

If you believe some of the amazing performances you see in sports -- the miracle NFL, the Jamaican track and field show -- you have a thick pair of rose-colored glasses.

But there aren't lenses thick enough to make anyone believe that Alex Rodriguez -- on the disabled list as his body breaks down -- has been anything more than a fraud for much of his impressive career.

A-Rod is now the target of the Biogenesis investigation, along with Ryan Braun and nearly 20 other major league ballplayers who were allegedly customers of Anthony Bosch, the Miami dealer who is now reportedly cooperating with Major League Baseball in its probe.

They could face suspensions of 100 games, but looking down the road, this sets up the most dramatic Hall of Fame votes of all time.

The steroid era has divided the Baseball Writers Association of America. Neither Roger Clemens nor Barry Bonds were elected in their first year of eligibility. Clemens received 37.6 percent of the vote, while Bonds got 36.2 percent. Players need 75 percent to get into Cooperstown.

Those who have made public they voted for Bonds, Clemens and others have defended it with the argument that since the entire era was tainted by steroids, and you can't be sure who else didn't use them, you can't make judgements against these players -- even though there is strong evidence, and admissions of guilt for most of them, that these particular stars were steroid users.

A-Rod, though, will put that argument to the test for the steroid era defenders. He will be the ultimate hold-your-nose vote for those writers.

His numbers are among the greatest of all time -- 647 career home runs, 1,950 RBIs and a .300 average over 19 seasons. But his disingenuous record of proclamations of innocence in steroid use will make him the most difficult of the cheaters to ignore.

His name showed up on that 2003 positive test list, and four years later, A-Rod told Katie Couric on "60 Minutes" that he never used performance-enhancing drugs. A little more than one year later, he was forced to admit using steroids after a published article reveals the truth in Sports Illustrated, but A-Rod claims he barely touched the stuff, and blamed it on his so-called cousin Yuri.

There was Yuri. Then there was Angel Presinal, a trainer banned from baseball clubhouses. Then there was busted pusher Dr. Anthony Galea, Tiger Woods' Dr. Feelgood. And now there is Anthony Bosch, the shady Miami dealer.

Will all of them attend A-Rod's Hall of Fame induction? Hold your nose, voters.

Examiner

columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

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