Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Baseball [Print without images]

Saturday, February 7, 2009
Updated: February 8, 7:58 PM ET
"Baseball Tonight" reacts to A-Rod

ESPN.com

With the news that Alex Rodriguez reportedly tested positive for steroids in 2003, we asked Steve Phillips, John Kruk and Eric Young of "Baseball Tonight" several questions.

Read their responses below:

What will be the damage to A-Rod's legacy, and can he fix it?

Steve Phillips: I think we have to assume from this point going forward that every story will reference A-Rod's alleged positive drug test in 2003. It will be with him forever now.

Steve Phillips

It will be part of the discussions when he comes up for the Hall of Fame and part of the discussions in terms of his place among the greats of baseball. This will stay with him forever.

I'm not sure how he can go about salvaging his legacy without knowing for sure if he used steroids or didn't, and if he did use steroids how long did he use the drugs for. It's still too early to see how his legacy can be repaired.

John Kruk: Baseball is the one sport where you must always think about your legacy, because unlike other sports this one embraces its past. You can't help but think that with the Hall of Fame voters taking a stand against Mark McGwire because of the speculation that he was on steroids, A-Rod's legacy and Hall of Fame chances are kaput, and rightfully so. You can't cheat the system and that's what it seems like he tried to do, and he's going to be punished for it.

A-Rod needs to stop hiding behind the union and his agent and come out like a man and make a statement. If he cheated, then he needs to admit it immediately and prove that he's clean now. If I was him, I'd take a public steroids test every two weeks and have an independent lab release the results to prove that I'm a clean player. That's the only way he has any chance of salvaging his reputation.

Eric Young: A-Rod's legacy is done. Undeserved or not, his reputation before this was as a fragile crybaby who couldn't come through in the clutch. There are a lot of people who didn't like him before this result was leaked, and now the label of cheater will be added to that description.

It's going to be extremely difficult for him to outrun these allegations, so I believe he should simply come forward and talk about what he did and didn't do. Follow the lead of Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte and be as honest and forthright as possible and meet it head on. If he did use steroids, then now is not the time to just sit back and let his handlers do the talking.

What will A-Rod's reputation be around the major leagues now?

Steve Phillips: I'm not so much concerned with how his fellow players are going to handle this news.

I'm more intrigued to see how Yankees fans are going to treat him when he comes up to the plate and runs out to his position. Yankees fans have no issue with booing a player because of his performance on the field. It's going to be interesting to see how the fans treat A-Rod right from the very start of the season.

John Kruk

John Kruk: His reputation will be dirt because this isn't a guy who needed to use steroids. It may be wrong, but there's a different mentality when a positive test result hits a guy who is a career minor leaguer in terms of talent and when it's a guy like A-Rod. The reason for this is because A-Rod had all the natural talent in the world to be one of the great players in the league his entire career. This guy had the physical makeup and skills to be great, whereas a mediocre player would need the drugs to stay in the league. I'm sickened by this and think a lot of players also will be.

He's a fraud who should have his MVPs taken away if this is proved, because if he was on steroids then he didn't deserve them then and isn't deserving of them now.

I feel bad for the state of baseball because this affects the game on every level. If I was a 15-year-old kid growing up in this era and wanted to be a baseball player, then seeing something like this would discourage the hell out of me, and that's the really sad part of all this. What are kids supposed to think when they see a guy hitting home runs and doing amazing things and then find out that he's a 'roider?

Eric Young: There have always been whispers about A-Rod and the use of illegal substances around the league. The speculation was borne out of seeing the things he was doing on the field and also because of the allegations that Jose Canseco threw around in his last book.

Those allegations fell on deaf ears to many people due to the vitriol that Canseco spewed, but players took notice of what Canseco said and it sullied A-Rod's reputation a bit. Now that there's a positive test, players are going to take notice and possibly get in his ear a little bit.

Should players be worried about the privacy concerns regarding tests being leaked?

Steve Phillips: This is one of the most disappointing parts of this entire story. The fact that this was leaked only reinforces why unions don't want to do drug testing.

Steve Phillips

If the results of a test that is supposed to have been kept anonymous [were leaked], then the players have to be upset.

It doesn't victimize Alex or anyone else, but it is disappointing that these results are out there, and if the reason the samples weren't destroyed is because of a paperwork error, then the players should have a serious issue with the union.

John Kruk: Forget about privacy. I wish that A-Rod had found out about his positive test result and informed everyone and then promised to reform, but that didn't happen.

The truth came out, and I hope this serves as a deterrent to players who are thinking about cheating and think they can get away with it. Somehow, some way the truth will come out, as it should.

Eric Young: As a former player, I'm very disappointed that these results were leaked because it's vital to the relationship between the players' union and Major League Baseball that trust is never an issue.

Now players have to wonder if the union has their back and the union has to wonder if MLB is dealing from under the table when dealing with it. This isn't the way this sort of situation should be handled, and it's sad because it reaches into so many different parts of the game.