Step 8: “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
Step 9: “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
Stop me if this sounds familiar. The MLB suspends a former league MVP for more than 100 games, ignominiously ending the player’s career. Nope, not A-Rod. This time we’re talking about another perennial liar, Miguel Tejada.
Tejada, like Alex Rodriguez, has a real problem with telling the truth. He also seems to have a problem ingesting drugs. Consider Tejada’s history. He was listed in the Mitchell Report as a steroid abuser. Tejada lied to Congress over his drug use and narrowly escaped a prison sentence—he received parole, instead. In a 2008 interview it was revealed that Tejada had been lying about his age from the moment he stepped foot in a Major League stadium. Oh, and he used a different name than was on his birth certificate—it reads “Tejeda.” Now Tejada has received a 105 game suspension for once again violating league substance abuse policies. It appears Adderall was the drug of choice this time around.
The punitive measures taken against Rodriguez and Tejada tell us more about MLB than they do the players. We already knew A-Rod was a cheat and a narcissist. We’ve known for years that Tejada is a fraud in nearly every aspect of his professional life. Yet with all this information on the table, it’s taken the five-plus years for these guys to get their comeuppance.
Bud Selig’s tenure as commissioner is starting to resemble the lifecycle of a recovering alcoholic. The cycle begins with innocent fun. Things escalate until personal tragedy hits. What follows next is denial and dependence. At some point there comes a moment of clarity. It ends with 12 steps towards repentance.
Selig started hot and was the toast of the town—the owners loved him. Then the 1994 strike hit, and the World Series was cancelled for the first time in 90 years. Attendance numbers and Q-ratings plummeted. Players began juicing in larger quantities, but offense was up and viewers tuned in, so Selig kept his head buried in the sands of denial. He needed the inflated stats, especially the instant gratification they offered, long-term effects be dammed. The Mitchell Report was a moment of clarity for Selig; the PED problem was much larger than he thought. Now, in the twilight of his tenure, Selig is doling out overdue suspensions like an addict making amends.
After years of fans clamoring for justice, it is hard to be upset with Selig’s new sheriff persona. Nonetheless, it’s bizarre that every major suspension this season is rooted in time gone by. It’s as if he has taken stock of every superstar who damaged the game—and, in turn, Selig’s legacy—and is now leveling a bit of retribution. The cynic may wonder whether these penalties are an effort to make amends with fans, a true stab at discipline, or just a Goodellian lawman’s ego trip. It’s apparent, though, that Selig feels a need to right ills of his past.
Much like an ex-president that turns to global charity, Bud Selig is attempting to rewrite his legacy. Ex post facto suspensions are only a lukewarm attempt to win over fans. The best thing Selig can do is to continue his 12-step recovery and move on to Step 10.
It reads, “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.”
Accountability, that’s all we fans ask for.