Some very big names leaped off the pages of the Mitchell report on using performance enhancing drugs in professional baseball. Names like Roger Clemens (arguably the best pitcher in the history of the game), Eric Gagne (renowned Canadian reliefer) and of course Barry Bonds.

Where does this indictment leave true-blue baseball fans? I expect with a feeling that we have been cheated. It means that a sport we once loved and trusted is nearly as bogus as World Wrestling and that a long list of the game’s most hallowed records are in the hands of cheats.

In this context, if you are a 22 year-old athlete pursuing a $40 million contract and you lack a strong moral foundation, the real question is – why wouldn’t you take steroids.

The sport that Americans love to mythologize as an embodiment of old-fashioned values turns out to have been as tainted by drugs as the Tour de France or Olympic sprinting. It was a field not of dreams but of cynical, well-paid cheats.

A sad day for baseball, is it not?



  1. 1
    John Says:

    It may or may not be a sad day, Neil, but it’s not a surprising one.

    I think most people have long given up hope that major league sports are anything but polluted with performance enhancing drugs.

    The point that Mitchell makes over and over again is that it was everyone not just the players. By turning a blind eye the league executive, owners, etc were just as guilty. For years, the league neither banned such substances nor did it have a drug testing policy. As long as what the players were doing was generating revenue no one raised an eyebrow.

  2. 2
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    I wouldn’t know if it’s a sad day because I don’t watch baseball.
    During the OJ Simpson murder trial a witness from Germany who was on the street at the time of the murders was on the witness stand and, as it happened, he gave testimony that was favorable to the defense. Marsha Clark asked him whether he said what he did because he was enamoured of the celebrity of OJ, who was sitting in front of him. The witness’s response was: « No, I am from Germany and don’t really know who he is so I really am not in a position to be impressed. And, besides, I find football boring. » To which Judge Ito replied: « Wait until you see baseball. »
    That pretty much sums it up for me.

  3. 3
    Chimera Says:

    It’s not enough to blame the players, the teams, the leagues, the managers, the coaches, the owners. We need to lay the blame where it truly belongs…on the society that creates a phalanx of heroes, only to turn them into ducks in a shooting gallery.

    As children, we have our superheroes. Mine were Superman, Batman (and not as idiotically portrayed in the movies), Green Lantern, the JLA. As we grow up, we realize that there are no superheroes, and we go on to real life. But the hunger for someone to admire and worship is still there. We have been conditioned to respond to heroes that do not exist. We are like addicts in permanent withdrawal.

    So we create our own heroes as adults. And our heroes naturally have to be better at everything than we are, so athletes, with their amazing physical abilities, become the heroes for a lot of us. We then insist that they climb up on pedestals and stay there.

    We worship them with the dubious gifts of too much of everything — too much money, too much publicity, too many rave reviews, too many excuses when they’re not quite perfect, too many criticisms, too many emotional appeals for them to be role models and heroes…and gods.

    But they are, after all, flesh and blood, just like us. And we tend to like our gods to be invulnerable and omnipotent. We put ‘way too much pressure on human beings to be superhuman. Not only do they become our drug, but we become theirs. And some of them turn to still other drugs to help them keep us satisfied.

    This situation with baseball and steroids does not surprise me. It doesn’t sadden me. It goes a long way towards supporting my thoughts on the emotional infancy of human beings, though.

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