Throughout my life, I have been a baseball fan. Like many others, I dreamt of one day playing at Wrigley and Fenway.
While I have always been a Chicago Cubs fan, I grew up idolizing guys like Frank Thomas, Rickey Henderson, and Cal Ripken Jr.
To me, being a baseball fan is more than about being loyal to your team. A true baseball fan can and will appreciate true greats, no matter who they play for. In today's game, I have always been a fan of arch rival Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, and John Smoltz.
This isn't easy. Giving kudos to guys like Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell was not fun, but it was deserved.
In 1998, one of the greatest spectacles I have ever seen in sports, captivated a nation. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa helped bring the game of baseball back to the forefront after Michael Jordan and Co. helped push the NBA ahead after baseball's strike.
Now, to me at least, it seems like a figment of my imagination.
Baseball doesn't have the caliber or person to help it amid its biggest scandal. Anyone that speaks out about steroids is just as likely to be a culprit as the one before him.
We all saw the congressional hearing when Sosa forgot how to speak, McGwire plead the fifth, and Rafael Palmeiro pointed while saying "I have never done steroids. PERIOD!"
We know how all this ended, or better yet, progressed. Not a word that has been said can be believed. The most truth we have heard has come from the mouth of hated antagonist, Jose Canseco.
Now, here we are, spring training 2009 is right around the corner and another great of our our generation has fallen. Alex Rodriguez is a great talent, he always has been. On the other hand, he has never been the best at making decisions.
I myself am tired of the excuses. It is wrong, there is no excuse. If I get pulled over because I was drinking and driving, I can't say, "Sorry officer, I was trying to get home and do the dishes because my girlfriend thinks I am the best boyfriend in the world. I am sorry, I just have to live up to it!"
I very rarely write an article that is completely opinionated. I almost always have facts and statistics to back up my opinions. What I have witnessed today has just made me furious.
With the players of the late 90's and early 2000's falling like flies in the steroid scandal, I am in complete awe. One thing that I remember older baseball fans talking about, was them watching their idols play. Great games, no-hitters, and walk-off home runs.
Those years of idolizing baseball players as a young boy are over for me, they have been since 2003, when my playing days came to an end. I will never have that connection to baseball, where a player is my absolute hero.
Now, I feel that I have lost more than that. The memories I have of Sosa hitting monster home runs and Kerry Wood striking out 20, now come into question.
How can we believe that these type of feats were true and not tainted? Right now, I just don't believe that I can. Worse than that, it feels terrible because I have always been an innocent before proven guilty guy, but I just don't trust these guys at all.