M.L.B (Men,Lies, Biogenesis)

mlb

“Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd, buy me some….”. Ok, perhaps this song needs a remix. We do live in a Hip Hop generation, so lets go the route of reggae superstar Shaggy. “You caught me with a steroid? It wasn’t me. They said they saw me at BALCO? It wasn’t me. They say my body got bigger. It wasn’t me”. If only I could use this Jedi Mind-trick when my wife asks me about the dishes in the dishwasher. Then again I didn’t marry a woman who lacks intelligence and (in my Hahn Solo voice) “Cause no mystical energy field controls my destiny”. I, on the other hand, subscribe to a little thing that seems to be a foreign dialect to the Sammy Sosa’s of the world (no speaka the englis). I like to call it “the truth”.

Baseball is often considered America’s Pastime. Such a befitting phrase as it mirrors the true essence of America, at least from a governmental standpoint. Yes, baseball, much like our government elected officials, specializes in the art of empty promises, negligent behavior and the ability to lie in front of a camera with a straight face. The sport throughout its history has always been marred in controversy. They have endured The Black Sox Scandal, Pete Rose’s lifetime ban for gambling on games and of course the reason I am writing this blog; performance enhancing drugs. I, for one, often wonder whether baseball officials were aware of steroid usage prior to the mudslide of sullied assaults on historical baseball records. Jose Canseco was the first noted whistleblower, who actually came out in a book proclaiming he used and that many of his peers were users of steroids. Baseball pretty much 8 Balled him and declared his claims as blasphemous and unfounded. Fast forward and we now find that Jose Canseco has been the only truthful person throughout the scandalous era, commonly known as the “Steroid Era”. Baseball, post the lockout of 1994 , had fallen from atop the rankings of the major league sports (football, basketball, hockey) in America and desperately needed a makeover in order to revive and reestablish it’s stature. Enter an epic duel between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s chase of Roger Maris’ 61 single home run record. I will admit that for that moment, I too became a fan of “the game” more so as I have always stated that I’m a fan of the Yankees and not a fan of the game in its entirety. The whole world watched, which means more viewers, more advertisement and more attention. We would find out years later that both men were being investigated for drugs that gave them an added edge in competition. We would then see the likes of Barry Bonds slay the home run margin a few years later, after a noticeable change in his body structure. Bonds would also go on to break Hank Aaron’s all time home run record. Other noteworthy Hall of Fame candidates like Raphael Palmiero, Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, would also face allegations of using banned substances in order to gain an advantage in competition as well. Can we truly believe that Major League Baseball had the proverbial wool pulled over their eyes or were they simply wearing rose colored transitional glasses? We know about Major League Baseball implementing stringent drug policies now, however, why was steroids not handled with the same ferocity and unforgiving stance like Pete Rose when the knowledge became available. I’m sure the player’s union would fight tooth and nail in the best interest of their clients, however, who is fighting for the best interest of the fans of baseball? We now have Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez facing the same types of allegations in 2013. Braun went on a campaign of personal integrity and character assassination as he stood in front of the world blaming a lab sample transporter for his testing positive for a banned drug. Now, he decides to finally admit that his campaign of personal integrity was a campaign of shameful smoke and mirrors and that he was guilty of “something”. Of course, Alex Rodriguez is blaming the Yankees for conspiring with Major League Baseball in order to void the remainder of his contract. My question is what good business entity would not try to void a contract that is detrimental not only financially but publicly as well. If this was a normal job, there would be little debate; he would have had his ties severed immediately. But being that this is not a normal occupation and the standard of operation is not normal as well, who do we blame? Should the players receive lifetime bans? Should baseball label this era differently as it pertains to the Hall of Fame? Are performance enhancers/steroids a bad substance if administered properly? All poignant questions that we may never have answered, but we can conclude that baseball, much like cleats on a rain soaked field, will be forever muddied by men lying about companies like Biogenesis.

What does this teach our children or generations to come? In all honesty it says cheat, until you get caught and depending on who your employer is, will determine the type of penalties you will face. None of these noted drug users and corrupters of justice have faced a minute of jail time. It teaches them also that life is not fair. America’s Pastime has become the American way; the way of lies, drugs and deception. “One, two, three strikes you out…”, pertains to the game itself, however baseball continues to strikeout on an even grander scale. From the majors to the minors, all have felt an impact of this “steroid era” and high school was not safe from steroids even when I was there some twenty years ago. Perhaps the Hall of Fame, needs a Wing of Shame added to it, in order to justify how a routine catch turned into a botched play. No more peanuts and Cracker Jacks, we only want the truth and the facts. #playball

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