You learn as early as pre-school that actions have repercussions, right? (Even if you don't know the word "repercussions" until fifth grade, like us.) Stands to reason that Alex Rodriguez telling Peter Gammons he used a banned substance from '01 to '03 will affect the lives of people aside from the Yankees' 3B. We decided to (attempt to) make a list of those people. It's not in any particular order, nor is every single entry 100 percent serious. If you can think of some people we missed, e-mail us.
PEOPLE WHO ARE AFFECTED
(1) DEREK JETER
The New York Times claimed on February 10th that the Yankees are A-Rod's team (because of the amount and duration left on his contract), but we disagree. As long as Jeter is playing SS (or CF), it's Jeter's team. He hasn't won a World Series since 2000, and missed the playoffs entirely last year for the first time. This A-Rod situation opens his 2009 season on a sour note—after he hit a Texas football game with Roger Clemens this fall. Jeter is a consumate professional and will stand by his teammate for sure, but what's his true thought process on all this, and could it affect the Yankees' ability to nab him for that final contract?
(2) ALBERT PUJOLS
Pujols is 29 years old, and has 319 career HR. He went over 40 HR for four straight seasons, then dipped below 40 in his last two. If he plays 12 more years and hits 35 a year, he'd still be short of Bonds. We could be wrong, but he doesn't seem likely to be the next HR king (we got a bunch of e-mails about it yesterday). And even if he were to do it…does this scare you at all?
(3) THEO EPSTEIN
Does this guy look like a genius or what? (Sorry, rest of AL East.) Him dumping out of the 2004 A-Rod situation = Red Sox have two titles, Yankees have zero and a whole bunch of drama.
(4) BRIAN CASHMAN
Ugh, hasn't been a good winter for this one. His longtime friend kinda throws him under the bus in a new book for not backing him up, his star investment is shown to be somewhat tainted (granted, not during the Yankee era) and who knows how the Yanks will do, even with that new front-end pitching? We kind of want Cashman to get fired and guide the Nationals (he's a DC-area guy) to the NLCS, because then it would be like…
(5) JOE TORRE
…gets out of the Bronx as the place is, pardon the ESPN reference, burning. He's got the Manny situation sittin' there like a Chipotle burrito, but if you were a baseball lifer, would you rather deal with Manny's money or A-Rod's soul?
(6) DON MATTINGLY
We're sure his desire is still to be a manager, but he's gotta be happy he's not entering '09 Spring Training in pinstripes, right?
(7) JOE GIRARDI
Catchers always have plans, right? Right?
Dunno. We just wanted to throw this in here. Even if they were seen making out in Central Park tomorrow, though—Madonna can seemingly rebound from anything.
(9) DAVID WRIGHT
Did he just take the mantle of "best 3B in New York?"
(10) OMAR MINAYA
Those K-Rod and J.J. Putz additions are sound. Lineup is good. Starting pitching may be somewhat questionable, but if Minaya can define the message as "We're the anti-zoo," it could be a good first year for Citi Field and the Mets in the NL East.
(11) BUD SELIG
Even if the entire thing isn't his fault, he'll forever be linked with it from a management-side. New figures on his salary in a time of recession probably don't help.
(12) GENE ORZA
What exactly was this guy doing in '03 and '04?
(13) KEN BURNS
How soon 'till he starts getting footage of this stuff?
(14) OLIVER STONE
(15) CYNTHIA RODRIGUEZ
She got out at the right time, eh? (And got paid.)
(16) HANLEY RAMIREZ
If you have a bar discussion with mostly-informed baseball fans, over 50 percent will put Ramirez at No. 2 for "all-around baseball players" behind A-Rod. He plays in a smaller market, and you could argue that a pitcher should be there, or the other notable Ramirez, or even someone like Dustin Pedroia. If you believe it's H. Ramirez—the Marlins are underrated this year, albeit in a competitive division—does any pressure increase for him?
(17) JOSE CANSECO
Fo' serious, his credibility index is fairly high, is it not?
(18) KEVIN LONG
Yankees' hitting coach has a pretty good relationship with A-Rod (insofar as the media knows) but might face his greatest challenge this season in trying to focus the slugger post-admission, post-divorce, etc.
(19) TOM HICKS
He says he feels betrayed. Something odd: Hicks lives in the same neighborhood now as ex-President Bush, and is linked with A-Rod as the guy that gave him the first super-huge contract. Dude is surrounded on all sides by pariahs!
(20) HANK AARON
The true king. While all this is going on, look at some people who hit up Aaron's 75th birthday last week. The guy is a living legend.
CONCEPTS AND ORGANIZATIONS AFFECTED
Fairly broad, eh? Think about this, though: Maris held the single-season HR record for over 35 years. The guy who broke it? Not going to make the HOF, likely. The all-time HR leader? Not going to make the HOF, likely. The guy who had a legit shot to pass him? Now might not make the HOF down the road. The (can be debated) most dominant pitcher from 1986 to 2006? Not going to make the HOF, likely. Fans may come out in droves, but that stuff is depressing.
(2) YOUNG BALLPLAYERS
Not trying to be super high and mighty here whatsoever. We hope the lesson that comes from stuff like Bonds and A-Rod is "You'll eventually get caught, and it'll mess up your integrity." That would be awesome. We really hope the lesson farmed down isn't "You can be among the best, but to be the best, you're gonna need a little something extra."
Excuse the homerism. There was no way A-Rod was going to give the first interview to Sports Illustrated, but by giving it to ESPN, he further pushed them as "the place you go when you want to spread a sports message."
(4) THE YANKEES
They were No. 65 overall, and No. 16 for MLB, in our 2008 Franchise Rankings. Think they'll fall at all? A-Rod's coronation as HR King seems less impressive and important now, no?
(5) "THE NATIONAL PASTIME"
This goes with No. 1 on this section, sure. Again, get in a bar discussion and most people will say NFL has surpassed MLB. Some might even say college football has, and the NBA has a huge global presence as well. All those sports have cheaters too—every small element of society has cheaters, honestly—but is the term "the national pastime" completely blown out of the water after this last admission?