Baseball: A Grim(sley) Future?
June 9, 2006
Steroids Steroids Steroids. Jason Grimsley. Barry Bonds. FBI. I don't really have much to say about the current steroids issue, but just putting those words in this blog should earn a few extra hits from Googlers. In truth, a spirited reader has requested, nay, demanded that I write about the goings on because he believes steroids are going to completely destroy baseball as we know it.
As I've mentioned before, the topic of steroids exhausts me. The shock is gone, so finding out that 80% of players in the 90's were on steroids wouldn't shock me if it were true. Finding out specific names loses its luster when we already know that just about everyone is suspect. Revealing that pitchers were hitting the juice hard shouldn't be much of a story since the few suspensions already seem to involve pitchers.
It's a shame that it got to this point; baseball should still take increasing measures to rid the sport of steroids now and in the future, but you simply cannot change the past. Home runs were hit, strikeouts were recorded, and records were broken. Asterisks won't change any of it. While the public loves to talk about it and read about it, in the end, I don't think steroids will deter fans from baseball. In fact, it's well known that many more players on today's rosters were (or still are) using, but that's not stopping us from putting 37,000 through the turnstiles every night.
Why? Because from the fans' standpoint, baseball is a sport, a game, something to pass the time between work and sleep. Would it be better if our hobbies were filled with less corruption? Sure, but what exactly are we proving by choosing not to watch just because some guy prodded himself in the bum with drugs? The masses have proven that the home run is a crowd favorite, upping the attendance with every long ball.
The players take health risks into their own hands to hit more crowd pleasers, we cheer, then find out the truth and suddenly boo the player we once loved. Money is the root of the steroids problem, but before we praise players of yesterday and condemn those today, consider the situation. On a recent episode of Costas Now, Mike Schmidt, Bob Gibson and others admitted to varying degrees that if steroids were being used in their eras by others and the results were positive, they would have tried it at the very least.
So who is the lucky one? Bob Gibson, whose legend is intact but whose salary didn't compare to today's multi-millionaires, or Barry Bonds, who is currently richer than he needs to be but has created an environment for himself in which he will never feel comfortable? It's an interesting question simply because if both players were born at opposite times, we might be praising Bonds (maybe finishing his career with a steroid free 600+ HRs) and condemning Gibson. The same can be said about Mike Schmidt and Mark McGwire.
In no way am I supporting what the players have done to the game. I understand the problem and the lack of moral integrity that exists in sports today. I understand that current and future action is required to fix today's problems. I understand that memories can change. Finding out after the fact that your memories of your team's World Series victory are tainted because the DH had a steroid/HGH/amphetamine cocktail before the game is similar in situation to realizing the great times you had the past three years with your wife weren't so great because you just found out she's been sleeping with the pool boy all along.
I show little emotion about the first change of events while the second one would affect my life forever because even though the situations are similar, their impacts are worlds apart. My wife running away with the pool boy leaves my life in shambles, not to mention my clothes unlaundered and my food uncooked. Realizing the game I'm watching has a bunch of steroid freaks running around the outfield leaves my life, well, pretty much the same.
Do I think baseball players should be punished for their wrongdoings? Yes. Do I lose sleep over it? Not a wink, and I can't figure out why so many others do. I've got more important things to worry about, like why we have a pool boy when we don't even own a pool.