The Reusse boys' annual baseball trip took us to the Bronx in July 2007 to watch a four-game Twins-Yankees series. We spent a couple of games sitting near the home dugout in Yankee Stadium.
The first time we saw Alex Rodriguez in the batter's box from that low view, we offered a two-man chorus: "Dang ... he's enormous."
I had interviewed A-Rod from a media crowd and watched from near the batting cage as he took pregame hacks. But there was something about seeing him from that angle -- towering in the foreground of the Yankee Stadium scene -- that made you say, "This is an NFL defensive end, not a third baseman."
That put the shock meter at zero Saturday when Sports Illustrated's website broke the story that Rodriguez came up positive in 2003, when Major League Baseball tested for steroids for the first time.
This was the survey testing agreed on between management and the players association. The agreement was that if more than 5 percent came up positive, then the union would agree to a formal testing program. The threshold was exceeded when 104 players tested positive.
The names and the results were supposed to be confidential. Eventually, the courts gave the government access to the records of 10 players who had testified before the BALCO grand jury.
Barry Bonds is one of those 10 and is scheduled to go on trial March 2 on perjury charges. There's also a case in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Pasadena, Calif., with the government and players association fighting over the records of the 94 other players who tested positive.
Rodriguez's name comes from that list, according to SI.com. And now that one of those 94 has been named, we can expect more leaks.
That will be another full-blown steroids scandal just as Commissioner Bud Selig kicks off his second World Baseball Classic, the ridiculous event that excites both Bud and handfuls of fans around the globe.
The Rodriguez revelation wasn't the only body blow to baseball Saturday. The SI.com report also said it was told by three players that Gene Orza, CEO of the players association, tipped off A-Rod in September 2004 that he was going to be tested that month.
You have to go back to some of the nation's best college basketball teams fixing games in the early 1950s to find this level of embarrassment for an important sport. Baseball figured it could offer George Mitchell's report and put a name on the cheating, the Steroid Era, and the embarrassment would start to fade.
Now, within a period of a few days, we have the government unsealing evidence it plans to use at trial against Bonds, the game's all-time home run leader, and we have multiple sources telling SI.com that there are positive tests revealing that Rodriguez, the player who was supposed to wipe out the Bonds' stain on the record book, also was on steroids.
So, what the Steroid Era (roughly, 1994-2005) has brought baseball is the disgrace of Roger Clemens, previously advertised as the game's greatest pitcher of all time, and the pending trial of Bonds, the game's greatest slugger, and now an accusation aimed at Rodriguez, currently the game's best player.
There will be more jolts to come as the names attached to those '03 tests continue to be leaked. We should not be surprised if the allegations strike against more superstars. We should not be surprised if names on the list strike close to home.
Anything's possible from the Steroid Era, and yet Bud Selig, the man in charge during this long period of disgrace, continues as the boss (now at $17 million per annum).
The steroids web now includes Clemens, Bonds and Rodriguez -- the equivalent of Jordan, Bird and Magic being caught fixing NBA games -- and Baseball Bud simply goes on, apologizing and worrying about Netherlands vs. Venezuela.
Really, Mr. Selig, you're a nice enough fellow, but it's time to ride away on a golden parachute and make room for an articulate, square-jawed replacement who will declare war on the cheats (past and present) and restore trust in the Tarnished Old Game.
A-Rod is disgraced now -- A-Rod! -- and you were the man in charge.
That's your final hint, Bud. The game needs someone to make heads roll, and you're not him.
Patrick Reusse can be heard 5:30-9 a.m. weekdays on AM-1500 KSTP. • firstname.lastname@example.org