[A little context: last week I used a series of ESPN articles in a workshop on direct quoting, hence the sometimes forced references. I think the workshop was successful, however.]
Dear Commissioner Selig,
I understand in the wake of recent news the desire to punish Alex Rodriguez and to strike his name from the records. I understand the desire to cleanse baseball.
I understand writers such as Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn discrediting Alex's testimony on the grounds that he had to know what he was taking. Perhaps they, along with Gene Wojciechowski and Rob Neyer and countless others, are right: Alex is still holding back on us. He hasn't told us the whole truth. Perhaps he is even still lying to us.
But, in terms of records and punishment, please understand you do not have to punish Alex. The baseball media will do that for you. I am sure Hall of Fame Voter Pedro Gomez is not alone in his stance that "As a hall of fame voter... I know I have made up my mind that I will never vote for anyone I believe to have used PEDs." Furthermore, as Gomez reports in "It's only just begun for A-Rod," he can expect harsh treatment on the road and at home, in front of suspicious, rough, and scorned Yankee fans. A suspension might be merciful on Alex at this point.
In the end, the desire to punish Alex extends from our own guilt, and an unspeakable desire to reprimand ourselves. All of us, baseball owners, executives, fans, and players are to blame for the willful ignorance necessary to produce the culture that Alex describes. As many commentators have argued, we will never know the extent to which performance enhancing drugs permeated the game. Let us not engage in a witchhunt. Let us not engage in revisionist history. Let us take responsibility for our own culpability, let us deal with a stained record-book, marked only by our guilt and disappointment. Let us allow this past to serve as a reminder that we need to work vigilantly to preserve baseball's future. Let Alex return to the field to pursue those once hallowed records; let us all remember what we sanctioned.
Marc C. Santos