Friday, May 15, 2009
Seriously Chapter 4: What'll Happen to Baseball, Y'all?
Several years ago I was looking through a large, red leather-bound coffee table book featuring 100 years of New York Times front pages and I remember thinking to myself - the same damn things that were going on back then are still going on now. People were worried about the middle east, politicians were crooked and taxes were definitely going up. Yeah, I was probably stoned at the time and, yeah, those of you who know Seriously might say "that's probably the last time you ever picked up a book," but let me get to my point. People thought baseball might never be the same after the Black Sox scandal of 1920, where 8 players were banned from the game for life, and I've got to think some are wondering if it's true with regards major league baseball today. Steroid abuse has always been rumored in baseball but wasn't really front and center until the firestorm surrounding Jose Canseco's claim that 80% of active MLB players were users in his (now vindicated) book "Juiced" in 2005. Then there was the sorry spectacle of the same year with sullen, red faced home run king, Mark McGwire, testifying-but-not-testifying in front of a congressional committee about his use/non-use. This was followed by Raphael Palmiero, he of near Hall-of-Fame credentials, wagging his finger in front of the committee saying he "never, ever, never" used performance enhancing drugs of any kind, only to see him gone from baseball for good two months later after he tested positive for steroids. This was before the death of Ken Caminiti and the 2007 era of that monstrous rectum, Barry Bonds. And now with The Saga of the Obvious that is Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez, all I can focus on are the guys running around on the field and I try not to think about anything else. Until they figure out a way to get drugs out of the game or come up with true comprehensive testing, isn't baseball really just a bit of a fraud at this point? It seems the only other solution would be to go libertarian and say, screw it, what players do with their bodies is their business. But isn't the game a little more sacred than that? I'm a louse and far from a prude but wouldn't that be a slouch towards us as kind of a degenerate nation? Attendance is still high and there's billions being made so the baseball powers that be want nothing to do with anything even getting close to slowing the gravy train, even for a moment, even if it were better for the game in the long run. Invisible Bud Selig is more than happy to continue the facade that is MLB's cracking-down-but-not-cracking-down policy. Though I'm hopeful (the way the Black Sox scandal was overcome) what the hell is major league baseball right now besides a case of mold that's been nicely painted over?