No One, Absolutely No One, Is Innocent in Baseball's Asterisk Era

J. Robert ByromCorrespondent IFebruary 26, 2009

Everyone who has invested anything, whether time or money, personal or professional, in major league baseball in the last 13 years is guilty of damaging the game of baseball.

Absolutely no one is innocent not the players who never juiced, not the coaches, not the owners, not the media, not the fans, not the union, not the commissioner, not the old timer's who played before steroids, not the original whistle blower, Jose Canseco, or the writer of this article.

Not Jeter who hopefully never did steriods or Doug Glanville who claims all clean players of his time are tainted by playing in the midst of the steroid era. Maybe the purely stupid are indeed innocent but very few were stupid enough to not know something was going on.

I am going to start this article by doing something no one else seems to be able to do taking personal accountability that I was part of the problem. How was I a part of the problem? Well, I watched, I went and, most importantly, I paid.

About halfway through the home run chase of Sosa-Mcguire, I thought to myself there is no way that this happens with two guys in the same year, I realized Mac looked much bigger and stronger than he had previously but I turned a blind eye.

I let myself believe that is was a fluke and there was a good chance that they weren't taking anything illegal. I watched every Sosa-Mac game I could late in that year and I jumped up and down then kissed my girlfriend passionately when I watched 62 that year.

By the time Bonds broke the record Big Mac's record, I knew beyond a doubt that steroids had invaded the game. Players that used to hit 30 home runs were hitting 50 those who used to hit 50 are hitting as many as 80. Bonds used to be built like a gazelle, when he hit 80 he was built like a mack truck.

Yes you broaden when you get older but you  on't become three times as thick. Johnny Damon looked like a fresh-faced young farm boy in 1996 after a few years in Oakland his head had morphed into the same shape as CRO-MAGNAN man.

Farm boy to caveman in a few short years, I knew these are not changes bodies make naturally, but still. I watched, I went and I paid.

Every time the Yankees came anywhere near my part of the country, I would pay hundreds of dollars and drive hundreds of miles to go see them. Even though, I knew many of those players were taking steroids. 

I doubt there has been a game I watched since the home run chase where at least one player had not took steroids or HGH at some point in his career.  I could of not went, I could of turned the TV off, I could of left my money in my wallet but I did not and thus I am as guilty of damaging baseball.

So now that I have admitted my own folly, let us move on to everyone else, because I am sick of hearing I was not responsible, I didn't know, I never took steroids so do not look down on me.

The media is on a witch hunt or that someone will never be allowed in the hall of fame because everyone who is saying these things bears responsibility for their part in the asterisk era.

I will start with the most esoteric and go to the most obvious that I feel had their part in the era.


The Fans

I am not going to rehash everything I just said in claiming my own responsibility but I am going to reiterate the part that I feel makes all fans guilty.

Even though we knew the players were taking PEDs, we watched, we went, and we paid good money for an tainted product. Instead we lied to ourselves ignored the evidence that our heroes were artificially inflated and kept handing our money over to a league that allowed this to go on.

The Fans were the enablers, if we would of turned our backs on the sport the financials would of forced them into steroid testing much earlier and the problem would not of kept growing.

In many ways the fans are both the most innocent and the most guilty parties of the whole mess.


The Players who never

While I am cautious to even use names in this category because it is hard to believe anyone anymore, I will use two people that publicly claimed not to have done steroids in the past week, Jeter and Glanville.

Yes, you may have never done steroids but you were the ones in the best position to know and suspect players of doing such.

You saw the guilty ones up close, you had personal conversations with them, they confided in you, you had an audience with them, you had your suspicions but you never sad anything because baseball is a good ole boy system and ratting is not allowed. 

Well that is fine, it was a hard situation, you were put in I know but because you did not say anything do not complain that your name is tainted and people cant believe your accomplishments without questioning them because you were the ones that knew the most and were in the best position to stop it but you kept your moths shut so, you made the bed you now sleep in stop whining that it is uncomfortable.


The coaches

They are in the same boat as the players they either knew or should of and said nothing did not try and get to the bottom of it.  They were just happy there horses were hitting the ball harder than ever before. They cared about their careers and winning more than the sport of baseball or the long term affects on the players.


The Owners

The owners are in charge of giant networks who scour the planet for talent looking for the best player to add to their ball clubs and when these players that were having huge ungodly jumps in numbers came across even though they had never seen it before, they didn't question it.

Instead they increased the amount of money, they were willing to pay for their numbers without questioning the hows or whys these huge numbers were happening.

I am sure there were owners who did much more sinister things and knew what was going on and even promoted it. If I can see it as a casual fan with little invested in it there is no way someone with hundreds of millions of dollars invested in his team is going to miss it. 


The Commissioner

Now, one thing I will say about Selig is that he tried, but not enough. He was not willing to risk it all and go up against the union and the owners and demand it get cleaned up.  But he knew, and we know he knew by the way he had to be drug to San Fran to watch the Hank Aaron record get broken. 

He could of done and said more, he could of turned to the fans asked for their help he could of aired things publicly. He would of lost his job, yes, but he could of done more, but he did try which is more than we can say for most.

But even today, he still does not have the guts to do what he knows is right.  He has facts we do not yet and some we do.

If a player is known to have taken steroids during a given period of time then those stats accumulated during that time period should be dropped from the record books and every award they won rescinded but he has not done it in any case because he is still to afraid of the union to do what he knows is right.


The Union

The Union has always put its interest ahead of the sport and the fans and this may be the most blatant case in its history. There is no doubt that steroid testing would benefit the sport and the sanctity of the competition but they fought it and did not change there tune until Congress got involved. 

Make no doubt about it, if congress had not stepped in there still would not be a drug test even though almost every sport the world over on the Olympic or professional level understands the importance and necessity of drug testing.

This is another example of how all players are guilty, the Union is not some faceless entity, it is made up of the player's and the player's that remained part of the union even though it opposed drug testing are as guilty of damaging the game as anyone.


The Media

The media has access to player's on an almost daily basis, plus they get paid to search every nook and cranny for every story to do with the sport. With it being so obvious that something was going on, they ignored it, and covered every big moment like it was monumental and the most historical thing ever, then when the stories do break.

They want to turn there backs on the moment and lambaste the cheaters for stealing an amazing moment from the fans when really there lack of investigating the obvious facts right in front of there faces and their own immense hype is what allowed the moment to happen in the first place.

Plus, as is rampant in their profession, they are overreacting to every new story.  Should these players be banned from the hall of fame? Of course not, but there numbers should be banished from the record books for the times they were caught or admitted to steroids.

If you take 2001-2003 off of A-Rod's stats and he still beats Aaron's record let him have it and let him into the Hall, if he comes up short when you remove those numbers so be it. If you find out he used more than than those years remove those numbers as well.   


The Users

Now in my finger pointing I am not forgiving the actually users, they are the most guilty by far and everyone else is guilty only by association but guilty none the less.

They are the true villains and the ones who put us in the mess to begin with they cheated everyone one this list including themselves and though we should forgive them we should never forget they should be taunted and questioned and put through enough torment to make other realize it is just not worth it.

One last point I want to make about this killing the game, all these recent accusations are at least five years old. Though, the game is not clean yet and HGH still cant be tested for, we are talking about a historical problem that has came along way towards being fixed. 

SO please stop with the ruining and killing the game garbage. 


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