Tony Clark, the union's new executive director, faces a baptism under fire while getting acclimated to his role as the successor to the late Michael Weiner. The players' association needs to be conscious of the sentiments of its members while simultaneously taking steps to ensure that they get due process and their rights under the collective bargaining agreement remain intact. If there's one sure thing, it's that Clark, a respected former player, will have his ear to the ground. The irony is that while the union just fought an exhaustive battle on A-Rod's behalf, the next step in A-Rod's self-preservation tour could be going after the union in court for failing to represent him adequately in the Biogenesis case.
So what comes next in the steroid fight? We'll almost certainly see a move toward stiffer penalties for PED use, with the blessing of both the union and MLB. But players are adamant that accidental violators shouldn't be punished as severely as steroid cheats, and it's going to take some work to craft a solution to that problem.
Sometime next week, or the week after that, it's likely that MLB will send out a press release to announce that another minor leaguer has been suspended for a PED offense. Life goes on, competitive instincts are what they are, and the promise of money and stardom are going to prompt athletes to take shortcuts and make bad choices. If you think it happens in baseball only, you're deluding yourself. Baseball is just held to an exponentially higher standard than football or the other major professional sports. Its spats and soul-searching are messier and are constant fodder for public consumption.
If A-Rod's tragic downfall serves as a lesson to some kid who might have otherwise used PEDs, that's a start. For all the homers and RBIs, the All-Star Games and the lies, his ultimate legacy might be as a cautionary tale.