Steroids and performance-enhancing drugs as a whole have been the major topic of conversation in baseball ever since the Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa homerun race was labeled with a giant asterisk. From then on, there have been two types of P.E.D. users. I’m not talking about the ones who use HGH and the ones who use steroids. I’m talking about two different categories:
The ones fans like and the ones fans hate.
The fact these two categories exist when we talk about P.E.D.’s prove one thing—Image matters.
Most players associated with P.E.D.’s fall in the latter category. When names such as Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun are brought up people immediately think, “Aww man, they’re a black mark on the game of baseball.” However, what separates them from guys like Andy Pettite or David Ortiz?
David Ortiz recorded his 2,000th hit last night and will be celebrated around the league as if fans completely forgot he tested positive for steroids in 2003.
Andy Pettite is still a fan favorite and is respected by many fans around the country.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. These two individuals are great players and deserve the love and praise they get from fans.
The thing that separates them from the other three individuals mentioned is—to be quite frank—people don’t think they’re jerks.
When Barry Bonds was being accused of doing steroids people found him to be cocky and arrogant. Also, it may have rubbed many the wrong way that one of his own guys was sitting in prison for him.
When Ryan Braun was accused the first time, he dragged Dino Laurenzi Jr.’s name through the mud.
As Alex Rodriguez is being accused, he has used every trick in the book from conspiracy theories to possibly outing information on other players. He was also forgiven by fans once before
There are many who care about P.E.D. use in baseball and how it has tarnished the game. However, P.E.D. use is not the be all ,end all of a career when it comes to how you are viewed by fans. If men like Bonds, Braun and Rodriguez are to repair they’re reputation they will have to act quickly and put in much more work with the fan base.
Baseball’s faithful have proved they can be forgiving and possibly care about a player’s actions after they’re outed more than the fact they were outed.
If anyone associated with P.E.D.’s wishes to have their careers’ become like that of Pettite and Oritz they’ll have to change the way they carry themselves. They’ll have to cop to what they did and appeal to their fans. Oh, and it helps to never use the stuff again. When these players work to get back in the good graces of the people that love baseball they can be forgiven and repair their image. Because when it comes to P.E.D. use in baseball, image is everything.