Monday, February 09, 2009

The Good Of The Game

The Players, The Player's Association, Baseball Management, The Teams--you could probably even throw in The Media covering the sport for not reporting steroid use earlier by Major League Players. Many were holding back on the truth. Remember when fans at Fenway Park, in Boston, were shouting "Steroids!!" at now admitted user Jose Canseco, and few involved in Baseball and The Media--the so called 4th Estate--seemed to care.

The "Good Of The Game" had been threatened by a disastrous lockout, over money, courtesy of The Owners and The Commissioner of Baseball in 1994. Upon opening the stadium gates again in 1995, fans had turned away from America's Game in droves. What a surprise when so many involved in the game turned their heads as well, this time though, winking as the game became embroiled in an ever escalating baseball drug crisis. Thankfully, Cal Ripken, Jr. had something positive to add to that late 90's baseball revival by breaking Lou Gehrig's Consecutive Games Played Streak--but so did the many prodigious blasts sent screaming out of every Major League Park in America--beginning in 1996.

The Home Run Was In Fashion.

Yes, there was no turning back now. Fans were loving it. Baseball was truly back on the front pages for a supposed good reason. The ballparks were filled. Major League Baseball was again becoming America's Game. There was even Expansion--The Arizona Diamondbacks and The Tampa Bay Devil Rays (now just Rays) were given fresh franchises in 1998.

The Cash Cow so many owners dream of was heading up stream.

And it wasn't all because of Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa or Barry Bonds (and you can insert your own players here).

Little guys were whacking baseballs out of the ballpark every day. Remember Randy Velarde? I can't tell you the number of times I mentioned to countless friends in the late 90's how Velarde had virtually grown overnight. A living specimen in his mid to late 30's of age--which all of a sudden made him a power hitting middle infielder. He was never that good in his 20's--not even close. How interesting that Randy Velarde quickly faded from the game after the 2001 season.

Yeah, you guessed it--Velarde was eventually mentioned prominently in The Mitchell Report.

I also can't tell you how much this all bothered me back then. I was pissed--mad at the players, the owners, Major League Baseball and The Players' Association for hiding it all. In retrospect, MLBPA Executive Director Donald Fehr and his assistant, Gene Orza, did little to lead the very players they were hired to protect.

But now, with Sport Illustrated reporting and ESPN confirming in their exclusive interview that Alex Rodriguez is the latest Superstar of Baseball to fall from grace--an admitted performance enhancing drug user--I find myself today at the point of not caring anymore. You see, the enjoyment of Major League Baseball has not faded from my mind.

For some time, I have made my peace with this disgraced era of baseball. As saddening as it is to realize the most sacred record in the game (Career Home Runs) may well be physically enhanced and bogus. And that many teams were competing on an uneven level for nearly a decade. My Love Of The Game goes farther than any one person or league, or association can attempt to ruin.

This "BOMBSHELL" about A-Rod, as the media has portrayed, will not kill the game. Nor will the 103 other players that tested positive in the 2003 results--run by Major League Baseball--when their names become known. And it's just a matter of time now for that to happen. Easily, Owners along with Management and Players and their Agents have done enough to kill off Major League Baseball probably 100 times over.

Yet, they haven't finish baseball off. No, not by a long shot.

Understand, I will never forgive Barry Bonds for his unrepentant way--although as I mentioned previously--he is still a Hall Of Fame Player in my mind's eye.

The same holds true for Alex Rodriguez's ticket to Cooperstown. A-Rod is a Great, Great Player (Do you remember that Home Run he hit at RFK Stadium to DEAD CENTERFIELD in June, 2006 that had the Old Ballyard on East Capitol Street BUZZING?--the very game Our Washington Nationals came from 7 down to win!!). To his credit, Rodriguez did finally admit usage today, a little late, after being caught and denying the rumors beforehand--but at least his comments to Peter Gammons of ESPN at his home in Miami--can only help to resurrect his now tainted career.

Like anyone, Americans don't like to be swindled. But we tend to be a forgiving bunch and if someone, anyone, shows remorse and diligently works their way back into the public's eye positively--that person usually gets that second chance. I don't see many people complaining about Andy Pettitte or Jason Giambi now--both admitted users of performance enhancing drugs these days.

Sincerity helps heal.

Pettitte & Giambi learned that. And now Rodriguez has, hopefully, as well.

Despite this major setback from the "Steroids Era" of the game, my admiration for baseball will never fail from my heart.

I love the game. Always will.

Foolish choices will never kill baseball--for me. Yes, the game has been tarnished again. But the Good Of The Game is far greater than any group of selfish foes can accomplish to ruin it. Baseball will live on and the very fact that Alex Rodriguez has been exposed as a previous user will not put a damper on this coming or any future season of Our Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball.

Records were, thankfully, made to be broken. And one of these days an untainted player will again re-claim that glory of the most sacred honor in American Sport--Career Home Runs.

All For The Good Of The Game.

You can count on that too.


Anonymous said...

Maybe someday someone will legitimately hit 756 HRs, but until then I'll won't get tired of honoring Hank Aaron as the All Time Home Run King.

Anonymous said...

We've also seen baseball now is a huge and cruel business, unlike perhaps any other.

A game, yes; however, it is more a bug business than anything else these days. Someone needs to call out the Union and investigate how they could have seemingly shown utter regard for their own members.

Of course, it was all about money, filling the seats and keeping the golden goose happy.

Kenny G said...

Good points! All of this A-Rod stuff (seems to have) happened in the past and baseball should just move on. Maybe release the other 103 (or 104?) names and then just move on with it.

Anonymous said...

That Jose Canseco is nothing but a truth teller.

Owners need to put into the contracts restitution payback if any form of misconduct so that players can be honest since they can't seem to do it on their own.

Take the interlocked NY off and leave the pinstripes...that's where A-Fraud belongs since he is a Fraud.

Anonymous said...

Small factoid, in 1991 Fay Vincent who was the Baseball Commish (and subsequently Selig in 1997) wrote steroids were against baseball rules. The FDA over a decade before made steroids illegal unless prescribed by a Doctor.

There was no testing program in place so you got what you got, lot's of Home Runs.

In 1998 you could go to the GNC store in your local mall and buy Mega Build w/ Andro, Creatine, and other potions in tin cans with cool labels of bulked up bodybuilders. Many of these formulas were pre-cursors to steroids and completely LEGAL.

You have to give McGwire some credit as he had his supplements on the top of his locker and didn't seem to be hiding anything. He answered the reporters questions in August 1998 and took a lot of heat back then.

Why didn't the media expose the overall evil plot at that point in time?

Read local sports reporter Dan Daly's article in the Washington Times on August 27, 1998 on McGwire's supplements.

Also keep in mind that steroids were studied by the Russians in the late 1940's and it was widely speculated that Russian Olympic athletes in 1952 were juiced!!! Yes, the 1952 Olympics.

The dirty secret has been out there for a long long time.

Anonymous said...

We don't have to worry about our Nationals and Performing Enhancing Drugs now that LoDuca and Nook are gone.

Heck, the Nationals HR leader in 2008 had all of 14 Home Runs (Zim/Milledge).

[INSERT JOKE] Where is Adam Dunn?

Anonymous said...

Honest Joe - Jose Canseco may be a truth teller, but he operates like a sleezy paid police informant coming out from the shadows in an alley.

Canseco himself was an admitted cheater and turned in fellow players for money. He's a great guy....

Anonymous said...

There is no reliable test for HGH and the derivatives of Human Growth Hormone. While not as effective on muscle growth as an Anabolic Steroid, the cheaters still have a way to cheat.

Rick Ankiel was caught receiving HGH so don't think the cheating is over.

How pervasive is the problem of PED's today? Do they need to give random lie detector tests like the CIA? How long have they been in baseball? 20 years, 40 years? Pathetic.

SenatorNat said...

It has always been a known fact that athletes improve past age 33 - that is why these revelations are so difficult to reconcile with the empirical evidence. Finally, we have a young guy in A-Rod acknowledging that he needed the help of steroids to keep up with the many "plus 33 year-old superstars." Perfectly understandable.

I find spending VERY stimulating, too!!

Trust in Shoeless Joe Jackson. All White Lies.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Maybe someday someone will legitimately hit 756 HRs, but until then I'll won't get tired of honoring Hank Aaron as the All Time Home Run King.

Someone already did. His name is Sadaharu Oh.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

[INSERT JOKE] Where is Adam Dunn?

Clearly waiting for a team more to his liking to make him an offer.

An Briosca Mor said...

It has always been a known fact that athletes improve past age 33

Senatornat, I believe you are confusing athletes with whiskey here. Although perhaps it was the whiskey in Babe Ruth that allowed him to improve after age 33...

paul said...

As Maradona says, "You cannot stain the ball." In other words, it is still a beautiful game.