Maybe I’m an idealist, but personally, I don’t have a problem with labeling players “clean” if they have not tested positive for or been linked to steroid use.

That’s just me.

However, I think I’m in the minority of baseball fans when it comes to this subject. Maybe most fans don’t label everyone in the Steroid Era “dirty,” but they aren’t comfortable labeling them as “clean” either.

To each his own.

Before I go any further, let me clarify some things right off the bat.

1.    I am not trying to make any claims as to which players I think are innocent or guilty of using steroids, unless their positive usage has been proved.

2.    I will not be making any excuses for players who have admitted or who have been credibly linked to steroid usage. I have no sympathy for them whatsoever.

3.    These are my own opinions; feel free to disagree.

So, back to my point.

As a whole, I have found that baseball fans are skeptical of any player who is dominant for any period of time. That is the fans’ right.

For me, it all started on Capitol Hill as I watched Mark McGwire repeatedly dodge the question, and Sammy Sosa conveniently forget how to speak English.

Then there was Palmeiro’s finger-pointing. Yeah.

Since 2005, 27 players have been suspended for violating Major League Baseball’s substance abuse policy, including Manny Ramirez, Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Guillen, Neifi Perez (twice), and J.C. Romero. Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, and Andy Pettitte have also admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs.

There are other players I could list who have been linked to steroid use, but I won’t.

The point is that baseball fans have a right to feel jaded, cheated, and betrayed.

As a result of the Steroid Era, fans are, for the most part, skeptical of anyone who puts up career-year type numbers.

Even those players who have not tested positive for steroids and who have never been linked to using them aren’t given an automatic free pass anymore.

Nobody—not Ken Griffey Jr., not Frank Thomas, not Chipper Jones, not Randy Johnson, not Albert Pujols, not Derek Jeter, not Greg Maddox—nobody (save Yuniesky Betancourt) who played during baseball’s Steroid Era is safe from skepticism.

That’s sad to me.

There are countless players who are victims of the era in which they played. Are the players I just listed all clean without a shadow of a doubt?

I don’t know. That’s not my point.

My point is that there are players who were legitimately clean—who did it the right way—during the Steroid Era. Unfortunately, many of them will have to fend off accusations of guilt (or non-innocence) simply by association, and that’s not fair.

When will the skepticism end? I don’t know.

It would help if Major League Baseball would expand its testing for HGH. Until then, innocent players will be caught up in the crossfire.

I guess I’ll have to learn to live with it.

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