MLB Apathy at Root of Steroids
While many people believe that the Steroid Era was given an official face when A-Rod told ESPN that he has used performance enhancing drugs, this is not the case.
If you really want to put an image on this depressing epoch, it would be a collage of people involved in the game during the past few years. Appearing would be nearly every league official, from Bud Selig on down.
When Alex Rodriguez admitted to using performance enhancing drugs just 48 hours after Sports Illustrated broke the story of his failed 2003 drug test, he not only added to the already tarnished image of baseball, but also proved that no one involved with baseball cares for the game.
If someone did care, mandatory testing would have been implemented years earlier than it was. Instead, the Players' Union and the owners all turned their collective head while players popped pills, rubbed creams, and injected needles.
The result? A tarnished league with tarnished records, with nothing but a handful of skeptical fans.
Why should any of us assume that anybody on the field is clean? The list of proven users continues to grow. If the majority of MLB players really care about the game they play, why aren't teammates outing the cheaters quicker?
The reason is that money is too high a priority. I guess steroids fits into the manly mantra, “Win at any cost.”
How many more times will we hear "I'm sorry"?
The fans are tired and can no longer trust anyone on the field. If the players really cared about the game, they would all wake up and realize that if a teammate is guilty, then the accomplishments of the whole team will be questioned as well. They wouldn't stand idly by while Gene Orza tipped off the users to the dates of the random tests.
Though the mess is already considerable, more names may be announced from what was supposed to be confidential list. Beyond A-Rod, the list includes 104 players who failed tests in '03. Until these names come to the surface, anyone who played during that season is a suspect.
As poorly as the MLB has handled the steroid problem, it still has die-hard fans that are going to watch, no matter the drug situation.
The current fans are not the issue; it’s the fans yet to discover baseball. To them, baseball is a game full of cheaters whose feats are accomplished only with drugs. If a young boy finds out that his heroes used steroids to become great baseball players, will he even think about doing it clean?
Baseball has its chance to admit its mistakes while the wounds are still fresh. In a perfect world, the commissioner, owners, players, and union would come clean.
But in our imperfect world, it seems that no one cares.
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