Alex Rodriguez did the right thing. Maybe not in 2001-03, but he did the right thing today. Sitting down for a full interview with one of the keepers of baseball's spirit, Peter Gammons, and admitting he was both "stupid" and "selfish" was extremely important in regards to his future. While the longterm effects can't be predicted, it can only help him to be honest about his past steroid use.
He took the Andy Pettitte road, not the Rafael Palmiero road. It is the only road these guys can take now. Secrecy is no longer on their side. People are finding ways of finding out. Close confidantes and teammates are revealing clubhouse truths. And Major League Baseball has opened the flood gates and is now taking names. It's a new era. Adapting is the only way to survive- that's what Alex Rodriguez did today.
Though Rodriguez is going to have to deal with the question of whether his image is tarnished forever (most likely, yes), he did himself and baseball a huge favor. Most importantly was the wording: he identified "the culture", the "everybody's doing it" mentality that went on in earlier days. It's crucial to put that on the table, because Rodriguez is a man among many who used and made to feel it was acceptable.
You may be feeling things can only get worse from here (103 other players anyone?), but it can only get better in many ways. We should not crucify those players, anymore than we crucify Josh Hamilton for his past drug use. We embraced his comeback. And why? Because the drugs he used weren't "performance enhancers"? These are men with terrible problems and their biggest addiction isn't anything they can inject or snort, it's their egos and the culture MLB fosters, allowing them to be arrogant and carefree. It's no longer acceptable. But it's also no reason to cast them out of baseball and say they have no place in it's history.
What we have to do, to steal a line from Rodriguez, is move forward. We must. And maybe we're just starting to figure out how. I have gone on record about how little good I think Jose Canseco did for baseball by revealing what he did (see: personal agenda). I think what Alex Rodriguez did today, did a world of good. Don't hate the player. Reject the culture, wipe the slate clean, blame those who need blaming. And begin again. Afterall, looking forward is at the very core of this game we love so much.