18 Feb 2009
Rick Reilly has an interesting idea this week, give the awards won by PED users to the people that finished second in the voting. I like the sentiment, now that we know A-Rod used steroids in 2003, why should he keep the MVP? But the solution is flawed.
It’s easy to sit here and say this player should have won or that player should have won instead, but that assumes that the runners-up were clean too. Does anyone want to make a substantial bet on that fact? Sorry Mike Greenwell, but you don’t deserve the 1988 MVP because Jose Canseco used steroids unless you can prove that you didn’t too. Sorry Albert Pujols, you seem clean but we just can’t be sure.
Unfair you say? Absolutely, but the players created this mess and they need to live with it. Instead of giving the award to the runner-up in any given year, strip the award away entirely. Let the records show through history that the 2003 MVP award was taken away from Alex Rodriguez because of PED use. If it is ultimately proved that Clemens and Bonds used too, strip their awards away as well.
One of my biggest worries about the steroid era is how will history put it into context? Baseball has done nothing to address that and apart from most of these guys never making the Hall of Fame without buying a ticket, it doesn’t look like they will. Taking away the awards is a small step to fixing that.