Rambling ‘Bout ‘Roids

I've seen this way too often...

I've seen this way too often...

Baseball is a strange sport.  Its history reaches farther back than any other and the records, stats, and other numbers that go with that history and tradition are valid as much in 1929 as they are in 2009.  A 95 mph fastball was still 95 mph in 1910, and a single through the left side in 1947 looks the same as a single in 2004. 

The same cannot be said of football, hockey, or basketball, as the players have gotten bigger, faster, stronger over the years, not the mention how much better the equipment and coaching is in today’s game.  Baseball has seen the same trend towards better athletes and better techniques, but at a snail’s pace compared to the other big sports.

This is what endures it to its fans.  The game has seen an extreme accleration in both men and equipment in the sports-crazed environment we now live in, and performance-enhancing drugs have played a major role. 

Alex Rodriguez was viewed in my own mind (and in many others) to be the legitimate player that would reclaim the career home run tally from embattled roid master Barry Bonds, when he topped Hank Aaron’s coveted 755 total with big head, small marbles, and damaged integrity.  A-Rod has only a little over 200 homers to go to catch Bonds and with easily another 5 years of productive ball in front of him, one does not have to stretch their imagination very far to see Rodriguez taking back the record for baseball.

That now seems to be shattered and baseball has mud on its face once again. 

Some argue that we owe the revival of the game after the debilitating strike of 1994 to performance enhancing drugs, as the Home Run Chase of 1998 between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa caught the nation’s imagination and brought people back to the ballpark and in front of the television.

Try telling this to a Royals fan.  Or a Pirates fan.  Or better yet, to an Expos fan.  The Royals have never had the money to afford the home run hitters or the power pitchers that entertain the idea of being bigger and stronger by way of illegal performance enhancers.  Only broken down or marginal players like Benito Santiago and Jason Grimsley have been caught in the public uproar over steroids in KC.

But we Royals fans sure have been victims of those that have engaged in illegal and fraudulent behavior.  How many homers has A-Rod hit off Royals pitchers?  The answer:  40, including his 1st (off Tom “Flash” Gordon) and his 500th (off Kyle Davies).  It is frustrating to fear players like Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, and Rafael Palmeiro, only to discover they have been cheaters and liars the whole time.  Their success (well past their primes in Clemens’ and Palmiero’s cases) has led to my team’s struggles.

I follow the Royals with a passion and have for years.  What makes a situation like this maddening is that players and teams are stuck in a cycle that absolutely does not favor a team in the Royals financial position:

For players:   Steroids = Statistics = Money

   For franchises:  Money = Better Rosters = Wins

Using a little math here makes Steroids = Wins.

While this isn’t always true, it can be argued that it happens more times than not.  Small market teams are not in a position to construct rosters through free agency (see Yankees, New York) and must build efficiently and draft smartly.  Perhaps this post lends itself more towards the push for a salary cap rather than railing against steroid use, but the argument is there nonetheless.

I just find it interesting that the Yankees have ended up with players like Jason Giambi, Andy Pettitte, Gary Sheffield, David Justice, Clemens, and now Rodriguez and since they obviously spend to win, it seems the currency of baseball isn’t pitching.  It’s steroids.  I wonder who will be next.

~Greg

If I never would have known that A-Rod took steroids it wouldn’t have changed the way I feel about him.  I still feel like he is a shifty scumbag.  Here’s a guy who cheated on his wife with Madonna, who looks like a cross between something out of a George Romero movie and an albino Sasquatch.  Seriously, Madonna has more hair on her jawline that I do on top of my head.  So automatically I’m highly distrustful of him.
 
Couple this with the fact that he cheats to win, and then he doesn’t deliver.  Seriously, what’s the point of cheating if you aren’t going to win anyway?  I believe in win at all costs.  I believe in running up the score.  I believe that if someone steps on the field to compete you should take them at every pass, show no mercy and win, win, win.  So what did he even gain by taking steroids?  Bigger arms?  More homers?  More pop superstars that look like something out of a Harry Potter movie?  Who cares.  I’m as uninterested in this story as I am in the next Kate Hudson movie.  Just another chick flick with an obvious twist and an annoying character.  In this case, though, it story happens to be about another shifty scumbag sleeping in the bed he soiled.   
 
Now, all that aside, I am proud of him for mostly coming clean today.  The whole Madonna thing still creeps me out, though.  Guy Ritchie broke up with her because he said it was like “cuddling up to a piece of gristle.”  How can we trust a guy who cheats to win and then doesn’t win and wants to have an affair with Madonna. 
 
The answer is, you can’t.
 
Max
I detest the media so much that I honestly don’t care if someone tested positive for steroids six years ago. Weird how the story just happened to break last week when Sports Illustrated had nothing else to talk about in the world of sports. I’m sure it was just a coincidence. The media builds players up for one reason – so they can tear them down. It’s a ridiculous and contrived recipe and the unwashed masses fall for it hook, line, and sinker every time.
 
1. Build someone up for deification (see Favre, Brett; Tebow, Tim; Phelps, Michael)
2. Hype them relentlessly to build up ratings, sell magazines, etc. (see all of the above)
3. Pounce as soon as a mistake is made and tear that person down as fully as possible – just in case they rise back up so that another great story can be written (see Favre, Brett; Phelps, Michael; Rodriguez, Alex)
4. Write pathetic and sanctimonious stories about how players “cheated the game”, “let down the fans”, and perhaps the most ridiculous statement of them all, “Alex Rodriguez was the last hope baseball had in restoring the bridge between past and present. That bridge is now irreparably broken.”
 
Build Up, Tear Down, Move On. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
 
The media wants players to apologize – as long as they as ultra-specific and apologize for exactly what the media wants to hear.
The media wants players to accept responsibility – as long as they accept on the reporters terms and in time to make a deadline.
Then the media writes articles about how the steroid era “just won’t go away”. Of course it won’t – not when 5.5 years after someone tests positive, it becomes a front page story on a generally respected national sports magazine.
 
In the end, I understand that the media responds to what excites most people. Most people respond to the hype and hyperbole and incessant noise and yapping that occurs in the current culture and news cycle. Apparently there are millions of people out there who want to know about every single indiscretion ever committed by any professional athlete or celebrity.
 
Lost in ESPN-izing of sports is the fan like me. I just want to watch and follow the games. I don’t care about useless predictions or Who’s More Now or Power Rankings. I don’t care about who is going where in free agency in two years, who tested positive for what ten years ago, or which player in which sport might or might not make the Hall of Fame when their career is over. I care about the games and the players and the statistics.
 
Amazingly, I don’t follow sports to gleam insight from sports writers. I don’t give a crap what the media has to say. They can say what they want, spin what they want, and ask the same questions over and over until they get a tepid response and then run with it. God forbid a player says he thinks his team is going to win – “So-and-so guarantees victory” exclaims the headline. The meda asks the questions they want, frames the responses the way they want to and tries to inflame everything. I’m sick of it. You’d think the media would want fans to like sports, but they don’t care about the fans any more than owners do. In fact, they view them the same way. Owners want to fill seats to fill their pockets. The media wants to sell magazines and cultivate viewers to line thier pockets. The time of media as an unbiased observer certainly is over, and probably never started. For me, the disingenuity was revealed during the Brett Favre retirement saga last summer. ESPN and other networks talked about it every single day ad nauseum. And then one day, I heard someone on ESPN talking about how the media coverage of the issue was suffocating. True – except that the point was made in between two segments about Favre. Very post-modern, but disingenuous to the hilt. I’m not sure if that was the tipping point for me, but it was a moment of clarity.
 
So, from now on, I am taking the same pious stand as the media and everyone else out there who gets sanctimonius when it turns out someone famous has done something wrong. I am not going to concern myself with the fact that people cheat on their taxes, cheat on their spouses, steal from their employers, their employees, and any store they enter. I am going to forget that I do plenty of things wrong on a daily basis and instead rant and rail against other who dare to perform their bidding in the public spotlight. Except I will not reserve my emnity for baseball players or celebrities. Mine is for the media. I will not accept anything less than full responsibility. From now on, every time there is a “report” that turn out to not be true, I demand a public and visual apology by the media person responsible for the report. Every time a “source” releases information that is not ture, I demand the media member who quoted the source accept full responsibility. After all, what’s fair is fair, right? I know this would never happen. but a guy could dream.
 
To sum this up, I am fatigued on reports and unnamed sources floating information that isn’t true. The media would much rather speculate and what could happen and report stuff that may have happened to bother with the games. Because the dirty little secret is that we don’t need them. Well, I don’t anyway. And they know that, which is why they play to the lowest common denominators – hype and noise. So my years long boycott on pre- and post-game shows contninues, but is now extended to just about anything that involves opinion by any member of the media. Because I like sports – and I am not going to have any biased scribe tell me how I should feel or why I should be bothered or outraged by failed drug tests from 2003. Huh – you say ballplayers were on steroids then? Wow, thanks for the breaking news. Here’s more breaking news – players in the 70s and 80s popped amphetamines like they were Skittles. Guess that’s OK, though, because they weren’t cheating the game.
 
I could add more, but I already delved far enough into that which I detest. I will no longer contribute to the noise that exists on the Internet and in the ether.
 
Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.
~Bristol
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~ by goetgre on February 12, 2009.

2 Responses to “Rambling ‘Bout ‘Roids”

  1. at this point i can hardly remember whether using steroids in pro sports is illegal or not

    Like

  2. Just passing by.Btw, your website have great content!

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