It’s been a few days since HWSNBN has been outed as a steroid user by Sports Illustrated and he’s recently admitted to the claim to Peter Gammons. Adding to the fact that Miguel Tejada is scheduled to plead guilty to lying to Congress today what is a baseball fan to do?
I’m glad you asked. The question now isn’t why should fans care but SHOULD fans care. And the simple answer is: no.
We shouldn’t care that professional athletes cheated the system to find some kind of edge, whether performance enhancers actually do help you focus on hitting a baseball. Why shouldn’t we care? Simply put: it technically wasn’t illegal as according to the rules at the time. And we all know how annoying “technicalities” can be.
Obviously MLB didn’t care that its employees were cheating. Many knew, the Union HAD to have known since they fiercely opposed mandatory drug testing for years and what are unions for? To protect the interests of its members. And in the interests of its members, drug testing had to go lest their secret come out.
So if the heads of the company didn’t care, why should we?
Oh, you say the integrity of the sport is at risk? Since when? Since now? So it wasn’t at risk after the 1919 Black Sox scandal? Or the Pete Rose betting debacle? Or the blatant racism? Or the cocaine mess in the ‘80s? Or either of the two player strikes [1981 and 1994]? Or how about the cold shoulder Curt Flood received when challenging the reserve clause? Or what about the prolific reputations of certain drunkards, abusers, philanders, racists and so forth? They didn’t tarnish baseball’s integrity?
The truth is baseball’s integrity has been tarnished for many years already. The problem surrounding most of the disclosure is people’s unrealistic and misguided belief that baseball is pure. Nothing that is a business is pure and MLB is two things: 1] a business and 2] a game, but mainly a business. I will admit that had these allegations been revealed back before I started college, I would have been DEVASTED just like all the other fans. But now that I’ve studied the field and have worked in it, I see it for what it actually is, not the dream people are trying to sell and I am thankful for my insider’s knowledge. It’s way past time to peer behind the curtains folks.
As a fan it’s hard not to become personally and emotionally tied to your favorite team, the company banks on that because that’s how everyone in the business pays the bills. But that blind devotion always fails and then you’re stuck facing the reality of the situation and it’s never pretty. This is why people are upset and disappointed but they shouldn’t be [that includes you, Mr. President]. This is what happens when we place our full trust and hope on these men and make them to be demi-gods; nothing good ever comes from the realization that they’re but mere mortals like ourselves. Everything that is done in the dark eventually surfaces to the light.
What would I do as Commissioner? Put me in right now and I’d start the clean up. Past cheaters will stay on simply because there were no official rules on the book. Future cheaters? I’ll insert a new rule prohibiting performance-enhancing drugs, more testing and continued research into finding tests to discover the newer designer drugs, the union be damned. And the penalties? One and done. Not only because there’s now a documented rule against it but simply because the drugs are illegal unless prescribed and administered by a medical doctor. That goes across the board.
If a regular company can institute drug testing and terminate employees who violate it, so can MLB.
Oh, you wonder what we are going to tell the children? We’ll tell them that baseball is no different than any of the other professional sports in that it’s a business and should not be romanticized to be anything but. We regale them with stories but make sure they remain firmly grounded. We tell them that sometimes people feel the pressure to perform and win and do crazy, stupid and sometimes illegal things and we tell them that is not okay because eventually, those people get caught and end up losing a lot more otherwise. We tell them that their decisions affect not only themselves, but those around them as well. We tell them the physical and personal effects of their decisions. We tell them these things because WE are the parents and WE should be the ones who impart wisdom and principles onto our kids, not some guy on the TV.
We need to step up and reclaim our roles as educators in the lives of our children. Take this opportunity as a golden chance to explain and teach them a lesson and instill in them a sense of duty, honor, and strong morals. Be a parent.
As far as HWSNBN, it remains to be seen just how much this admission will affect him. Yeah it’s funny that his was the only named revealed but his was maybe the biggest name on the list. Who knows. Regardless, he is still a phenomenal player but questions do and will still lurk. Were the 2001 – 03 seasons the only seasons he used steroids? “That’s pretty accurate, yes.” Um, there are really only two answers to that question, sir: yes or no. There’s no check box for “pretty accurate.”
And I can tolerate him saying he was young but I can’t accept him being naïve about the effects steroids could have on his body. It would be crazy to believe that when he played with Ken Caminiti, Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez, and Juan Gonzalez, and especially not when the latter three all played with Jose Conseco.
I also find it especially hard to believe that someone who so meticulously and methodically works out as much as he does would be unaware of the substances he would put into his body. Any hard core fitness buff knows exactly what they are putting into their bodies, whether in food or pill form.
It’s all just…curious. Maybe one day he’ll care to elaborate.