Poll: Fans say no on A-Rod for Hall of Fame
AP Baseball Writer
More than half of baseball fans surveyed say Alex Rodriguez shouldn’t make the Hall of Fame after admitting that he used steroids. And as for the game’s hallowed records? Those same fans seem to care less and less anyway.
An Associated Press-GfK poll released Wednesday also showed this: Fans are losing interest in the whole steroids issue.
With 553 home runs, Rodriguez is considered likely to break Barry Bonds’ career record of 762. Five of the top 12 home run hitters in history ” Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Rodriguez ” have been tainted by allegations of steroid use.
According to the poll, 62 percent of baseball fans now take the game’s records less seriously for that reason. But what about their marks?
“You can’t take the numbers away from the guys,” Texas slugger Josh Hamilton, suspended from baseball multiple times for illegal drug use, said Wednesday.
“Did it make them feel better? Absolutely. But you’ve still got to hit the ball, you’ve got to throw the ball and you’ve got to catch the ball. I’m not defending them, but they’ve still got to swing the bat,” he said.
As for Rodriguez, 52 percent said he shouldn’t be allowed into the Hall when he becomes eligible, five years after his final game. In an AP-AOL Sports poll in April 2006, 61 percent of fans said Bonds shouldn’t go into the Hall.
Eric Scott, 32, of St. Louis, said the Yankees slugger “should be suspended.”
“People who have set records recently, there should be some kind of notation they were doing these illegal drugs,” he said.
“They knew it was wrong. I feel sorry for the people who work really hard and may not be an All-Star because they didn’t use performance-enhancing drugs. That’s who I feel sorry for,” he said.
Rodriguez admitted Feb. 9 that he used banned drugs from 2001-03 while playing for the Texas Rangers. On Tuesday, he went into greater detail at a spring training news conference, saying his cousin repeatedly injected him with performance-enhancing drugs from the Dominican Republic during that period.
Overall, 55 percent of fans surveyed earlier this month say they care “a lot” about whether players use steroids ” down from a high of 71 percent in an AP-Ipsos poll in June 2007.
Among other poll findings:
– 72 percent of baseball fans believe steroid use is a major problem in Major League Baseball; 71 percent say MLB is not doing enough to halt the use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs.
– Female fans were more likely than male fans to consider steroids a serious problem in baseball (83 percent of women vs. 65 percent of men).
The AP-GfK Poll of baseball fans was conducted Feb. 12-17 and involved landline and cell phone interviews with 367 fans of professional baseball. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.