Tag Archive | "Drug Use"

The Purity Of The Pastime

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Purity Of The Pastime

Posted on 01 March 2013 by Nick Schaeflein

The game of baseball is something that is near and dear to me. It has been passed down from family members and played since a young age. The game, along with the eventual bride to be, is two things that I am absolutely crazy about with the hopes of making baseball a career some day. Growing up, if the uniform was not dirty, everything was not left out on the field. Playing the game hard and the right way were core values given to me by some great coaches. The beauty of baseball can also be turned into life lessons as well.

RetroBaseball

Steroids are a delicate subject currently in baseball. It is a line in the dirt that has affected the game for the wrong reasons. However, it has not ruined the game entirely. Despite all of the reports, congressional hearings, PED’s, HGH, and any other abbreviations there is still much to be celebrated.

This past offseason, the latest report naming players that allegedly took substances was released with more high profile names included such as Ryan Braun again and Gio Gonzalez. The latest report appears to have a common factor of ties to the Miami area and university. The university has already had its fair share of troubles and this is seemingly being added to the list of dark clouds.

Since the mid 90’s, the game as been viewed as the “steroid era” and the image and commissioner have both taken a hit for that facing the questions of just how clean is the game? While the commissioner has implemented great things that have improved the game such as the Wild Card and instant replay, many believe the stance on drug use was turned the other way.

Some may even forget that these talks and questions really began to take shape in 2005 and 2006 when Jose Canseco released the book Juiced. The information published in that book caused a serious stir around the game. Denials of any and all claims mentioned became the thing to do and Canseco became an outcast. Fast forward nearly a decade and now many of the things written have been discovered as truths rather than fiction.

In baseball, much like the other sports has some bad that comes with the good. For someone that loves the true meaning of sports that is hard to accept. The beauty of sports should be that for those two or three hours that the game is being played nothing else should matter. The game should be the story, the heart, and hustle. There should be no back drop of steroids, or criminal allegations to clutter things. It is sad when the games fans love are taken advantage of, because who would not give anything to trade places with a professional athlete? We should take notice of the clubs and players doing things the right way as opposed to the select few that do not.

Inner circles use the terms like dirt bags or grinders. Guys that seemingly give every ounce they have for their team and leave it all on the field. Guys like Dustin Pedroia, Chipper Jones, and Derek Jeter often have uniforms where dirt is the primary color and earn that respect from their peers. Steroids are never brought up about guys like this. Rather, the effort and hustle are praised. They are just a few players that do not take the game for granted.

This year, for the first time in a long time no players were elected into the Hall of Fame. The question is what does that mean for future players? Will a few bad apples ruin it for the rest? I do not believe so. During the era, some players still did it the right way and will be honored. Upcoming Hall of Fame eligible players include Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux, and Ken Griffey Jr. who should all be first ballot inductees.

No question, my favorite player is The Kid. Along with the on field talent, he brought that energy, that purity, and that smile to the game. He was a human highlight show and role model with the purest swing in the game. For the saber metrics, Griffey’s 1997 MVP season reads as a .304 batting average, 56 home runs, 147 RBI’s, and the most important number, 0. Zero being the number of steroid reports, PED’s, and accusations leaked.

The use of steroids should never be condoned, however the era should never be completely ignored or have an asterisk next to it either. It should be treated and accepted as apart of the game and just another chapter as good still emerged during the same period as well. The same time frame brought us stories such as the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks and Cal Ripken becoming the new iron man. History does not discount the dead ball era and in today’s game this should be no different. No asterisks are found on pitchers stats such as the great Bob Gibson prior to 1969 when the pitching mound was different and clean players today should not be discredited with accomplishments either.

The purpose of the Baseball Hall of Fame committee is to vote and elect the best players from the sport and enshrine them in Cooperstown. They are to be impartial and select only the few worthy players. As the game hopefully moves away from the PED’s and gets cleaned up, those players will still rise above the rest and become enshrined.

As Opening Day approaches, here is to the steroid cloud hopefully fading away. The game still has and will always have many things to cherish about it. The core is still pure. To borrow a line from a movie, “The game does not stink, it is a great game.”

Comments (1)

A Modest Proposal

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Modest Proposal

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Will Emerson

Once again the baseball world is rocked with news of Performance Enhancing Drug use.

SteroidNeedle

In case you live under a rock or something to that effect, The Miami New Times News printed an article Thursday that reported on the busting of a Miami clinic that has sold performance enhancing drugs to professional athletes, including several Major League Baseball players. Think BALCO-East. This is news, no denying that, but the whole PED thing in baseball is old. MLB continues to try and crack down more when it comes to not only preventing PEDs from finding their way into MLB clubhouses, but also punishing those who get caught with said PEDs. But in light of these recent events, many have to, and have, asked if the current punishment is enough to scare players away. First of all, these are the ones who get caught, which is not necessarily all, or close to all, of the players who have used PEDs. The first offense is 50 games, which clearly has not scared off every, if any, ballplayer from taking the risk. So naturally, many people think maybe there should be a harsher penalty, which may be true, but I feel like there is a simpler answer that we are all overlooking. Allow PEDs!

Yeah, you heard me! Is this not the most obvious answer? The biggest concern for fans, other players, Bud Selig, etcetera, etcetera, more or less,  is that using PEDs is cheating and gives these players an unfair advantage, right? Some might even say it “enhances” their “performance”. Well? Go ahead and allow a free for all! Level the playing field, so to speak. Now, all of a sudden, it becomes about who can get the best stuff and utilize it. In theory, aside from the fact that certain players could get better “stuff”, there would not really be any advantage to taking PEDs, as everyone who wants to be, will be, bigger and stronger without that pesky worrying about being caught and punished. Homeruns would be leaving the parks, left and right! Straight away center too, I suppose. We know MLB loves the longball, after all there’s no Opposite Field Single or Sacrifice Bunt Derby at the All-Star break. Only a Home Run Derby, folks. Plus the free for all with the ‘roids and other PEDS would help us really determine how much these help players who are just not as skilled and talented. PEDs won’t necessarily help you hit Uncle Charlie, right? (For those not up on baseball slang that means curveball, not some old uncle that gets rolled out to be hit repeatedly.) That is one arument, sure, and it is has a bit of a point. You do need to have some talent to begin with, but let’s not completely dismiss what PEDs can do. But isn’t this kind of just the rich getting richer, so to speak?

Well, sure, the players who are more talented and are already making more money as a result of this can probably afford better PEDs and whatnot, but how would this be different than if no one used PEDs? In that no-PED scenario the more talented players are better and make more money, in theory, anyways. So if everyone used PEDs this would not change the overall tiers of talent in Major League Baseball. Everything is back to a level, or at least the same, already off-kilter, playing field that would exist without PEDs, right? It would be like playing a friend in a video game where you both know all the cheat codes, would it not? So, where’s the downside? Players have no advantage, really, other than their natural skill levels, which they had to begin with and they can go ahead and shatter home run records to the delight of fans all over! Well, wait a tick, there is that whole side-effect, danger of doing these drugs, thing.

Do you remember that SNL sketch from the 90s, where they had the All-Drug Olympics? If you don’t, let me lay it out for you. Basically the sketch starts with Dennis Miller as the Weekend Update Anchor leading in with, “In response to what its sponsors claim is an idea whose time has come, the first All-Drug Olympics opened today in Bogota, Columbia. Athletes are allowed to take any substance whatsoever before, after, and even during the competition. So far, 115 world records have been shattered!” Miller then goes to Kevin Nealon, as the correspondent at the All-Drug Olympics. Nealon informs us he is at the weightlifting competition, where a Russian competitor is about to compete. Nealon goes on to list off the drugs the weightlifter is on and that the Russian is about to attempt lifting 1500 pounds which would triple the existing world record. Well, the weightlifter attempts to lift the weight and, basically, he pulls his arms off, to which Nealon says, “Oh! He pulled his arms off! He’s pulled his arms off, that’s gotta be disappointing to the big Russian!” It is hilariously delightful. I am not sure if I can link the clip through this post, but if you just enter “SNL All-Drug Olympics” in the search engine of your choice everything else is gravy. But the point is, yeah, there are consequences beyond just being penalized.

Aside from the penalty of being caught, in the simplest terms, PEDs are really not good for you. But the dangers and side-effects of most, if not all, of these drugs are known and these effects go a lot further than backne (on an unrelated note, typing “backne” made me wonder want Brandon Backe is up to). So without risk of penalty, there is still a “do this at your own risk” caveat. But there it is! At your own risk. Perfect! You know what you’re getting into, you’re adults, go for it! If you think it’s worth it, then do it tto it! Let’s start the All-Drug MLB!*

*If not obvious enough to you, the reader, this proposal was in jest. It is an oversimplified and, quite frankly, asinine idea that I would not seriously propose, although I am sure there are some that would throw this idea out there. PEDs should never be allowed and they probably do need harsher penalties that will actually make players think twice about using them.

Comments (0)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here