So many things have taken place this week that it's difficult to choose what to write about. The Mitchell report on steroid/HGH use in baseball is the hot topic right now. Yesterday, every front-page headline across the nation had a headline about the Senator's findings on the rampant use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. To many of us, it wasn't so much that he'd discovered steroids and human growth hormones were juicing baseball players; it was the names of some of the games superstars, many of which are known as "good guys", that was such a revelation.
I must say that I didn't realize Major League Baseball had installed a drug policy on steroids back in 1991. It would be another seven years, at least, when Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa pursued the record for most home runs in a season that the whispers about roids began to creep up in conversations on a regular basis. And it wasn't until Barry Bonds became a name that every American knew that baseball seemed to start taking the problem seriously. Now, there may be some people who knew this was going on all along and they may say to me that, Scott, we were talking about steroids back in the 80's. But you see I'm an average fan. I follow one team and read only a couple of national columnists (when I can find the time). So, as an average fan, I'm telling you that this scandal did not begin until the late 90's.
As fans, us average joes watched with wide eyes, as records were broken. Home runs. Strike outs. Games saved. It was exciting to see and it brought this great game back into the national spotlight after falling into the shadow of the NBA and the NFL. Now, the great game has been embarrassed and they will have to work hard to repair its public image. Still, that doesn't mean people are going to quit on baseball. People need to be entertained and in the summertime, baseball is still a reasonably cheap way to occupy a weekend afternoon with the family. Better than paying to see a movie you may or may not like (sitting in sticky seats and watching on fuzzy screens). It is easily forgotten that baseball is entertainment. These guys on the field are paid a shitload of money to make us smile, cheer, boo and scream. In other forms of entertainment, drug use is always overlooked, especially if the end product is art ("Nevermind" or "Exile on Main St." anyone?). Why should baseball be any different?
This game is supposed to represent America. And America is every bit as messed up and troubled as baseball. So the major league owners and the players have to clean up their image. They will. And the game will once again flourish (even though other forms of drug use will still go on in the game).
What else can be done? Owners and players must learn from the mistakes and find a better way to play the game. And we, as fans, must be able to forgive these players (at least the ones we like) and let the game move on. That is what's best for baseball and that is what's best for America. I mean, it's not like these baseball people took us into a war that couldn't be won.
George W. Bush was no longer an owner of the Texas Rangers when that happened