Friday, August 12, 2016
Posted by el duque at 11:26 AM
Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for this great honor.
I wish I were here to receive it in person. Alive and breathing.
Because then, I could pitch it back into your faces.
If I were still alive, I would be standing outside this once hallowed Hall and blocking the entrance to this ceremony. I would be yelling to the world not to come or bear witness to an institution that honors the likes of Bud Selig, George Steinbrenner and many others like them - yet turned its back on men like Marvin Miller, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.
But let me get quickly to what you surely most want to hear.
I took steroids. Yes, I did.
Of course, you all know this. By now, I suspect there are numerous deathbed confessions by rivals and teammates, who came forward to describe the horrible things we did to our bodies, to our minds, and - yes - to our souls... all to win baseball games, all to hear the sound of cheering fans.
Ah, the sound of cheering fans. We would do anything for it. We would stick needles into our hearts. And the fact that none of us are here bears testament to the price we paid.
Yes, I took drugs. I took HGH. I took drugs they didn't have names for. I took drugs so exotic that nobody really knew how they would affect me. Yes, I did.
I took them to win games. I took them to become the best ball player I could be, because, in my mind, the worst scandal any player or team could ever bring to the game was to NOT try to be the best they could be. If you thought others were juicing, how could you NOT try to compete?
Isn't that why we still consider the Black Sox as the darkest day in baseball history? They threw the World Series. But what is the difference between Shoeless Joe Jackson and an owner who dismantles his team - sells his players at a tidy profit - to basically throw an entire season? Is that not a scandal? The players are fighting with everything they've got, but the owner would rather make money? Why was that not a scandal? Why were owners like that not banned from the game?
Yes, I took drugs. Yes, I did. And yes, I was not the most likeable guy.
But long before I hit those depths, I devoted my life to the game. I made myself the best player in baseball. Nobody else can know the sacrifices I made. Certainly not the owners, whose greatest achievement was to inherit their teams. They bought me, and they sold me, and when I made too much money, they turned on me.
As they turned on Babe Ruth. As they turned on Pete Rose. As they turned on Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. Some of those owners are honored in this hall, this supposedly hallowed hall. And for what? What did they do for the game of baseball, other than own it?
Well, what can I say? I'm dead. I thank you for this honor. Now, I ask two favors.
One: Take down my bronze plaque and melt it for scrap. Pull my jersey out of that glass case, and yank my banner from this podium. They chased me from the game. They made me a pariah. They wouldn't even bring me back for Old Timers Day. I'll be damned if I'll let their sons and daughters sell merchandise on my name.
Two: Make sure my home runs stay in the record books, and take any asterisks off my numbers. Those games happened! Those home runs were real! The victories and the defeats, they EXISTED! I played. I fought. I gave my teams everything I had. If I went too far, it was to WIN. They didn't like me, and so they got rid of me.
Well, I stayed out of this Hall in life, and I'll stay out in death.
But my numbers belong in the books. Because I was here. I was here.
I am and always will be... the one and only... A-ROD.
I am not sure if I am watching this ceremony from Heaven or Hell. Either way, one last favor. Let me hear the sound of fans cheering one last time. Ah, the sound of fans cheering. Whatever happened, wherever I am, I assure you... it was worth it. God, what a time it was!