Before you can wave goodbye to the Steroid Era, Major League Baseball, you have to accept that it's still here. And still a problem.
Dear Major League Baseball,
First of all, thanks for being so great.
Really, you provide all the entertainment, drama and competition we could want in our favorite sport, MLB.
(We can call you "MLB," right?)
When it comes to that, we couldn't ask for more.
But that doesn't mean we won't.
Look, it's no secret these days that, without a doubt, the biggest problem you're facing is the latest performance-enhancing controversy, which proves that, in many ways, the Steroid Era isn't over.
We all thought that period had come and gone thanks to the structured, defined and rigid penalties you adopted about a decade ago when things got really out of hand, when players like Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa hitting 60 and 70 homers in a season, like, every year and your record books started re-writing themselves.
Except it's becoming pretty clear now—in light of the latest scandal involving Biogenesis, Anthony Bosch, Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and others—that you aren't yet finished with the performance-enhancing muck.
And who knows, maybe you never will be.
While we recognize and applaud all the efforts you've made in the past decade to clean yourself up, there is just one thing we'd like to ask for.
Acceptance that things aren't where you'd hoped they would be by now.
We're here for you, and sometimes it's best to hear the harshest words from someone who's in your corner. It's not always easy, but don't pretend like you'd rather hear that from some football fan or those folks who hanker for hoops or hockey.
From our point of view, what still gnaws at us is that you always seem to be working at and trying to fix the PED problem—without ever really acknowledging that, well, you have a PED problem.
We don't mean to go all intervention on you here. OK, maybe just a little, but our intentions are well-meaning. We only want the best for you. What's right for you. Because then we get that, too!
The first step—admittance—is almost always the most difficult one.
And when we ask for this, please realize, MLB, that we mean we're asking it of everyone: the league, the owners, the executives, the managers and coaches, the players, the writers, even the fans.
But remember, if the party's at your place and things get out of hand at the shindig, well, you're the one who's going to get in trouble if something bad happens.
So we're saying this to look out for you. And to help you look out for yourself.
And look, we realize that you might not have realized that you had this problem at first. Maybe you knew about it but hoped it would go away. Or maybe you didn't even have a clue at all.
Either way, it's important to accept it. That's the only way all of us are going to be able to put it behind us and move on. Eventually.
"I do not believe there can be an end to the 'steroid era.'" An interview with Fay Vincent, former MLB commissioner: http://t.co/bY5g0drnE6— SB Nation (@sbnation) May 31, 2013
So it's understandable that you've had some issues in dealing with this. Seems that, at times, rather than face the problem at its core, you've tried to pretend things were better than they actually are.
Sure, the drug policy and the suspensions, those have helped address the issue and let folks know you mean business. But it still feels, at least to us, that maybe some of the motivation behind your efforts comes from guilt. Guilt over a problem that went on for too long.
It's gotten better, maybe even a lot better compared to the way things were throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s. But we're still afraid for you, considering what's going on now.
Two of your best players of the past 20 years are at the forefront of yet another PED scandal, and Commissioner Bud Selig and Co. are doing all they can to get to the bottom of things.
And that's good. But it's also bad.
Because, what happens if the other shoe drops and you have to suspend a bunch of players, especially a few of the big names like Alex Rodriguez or Ryan Braun?
Are you really ready for that? Can you handle that kind of hit, that amount of betrayal?
That's why we're here. For you. We want to help.
We want this to go away—and if you're lucky and we're lucky, it'll be gone for a while. It probably won't ever be completely gone, but it can be managed. With a lot of hard work and a lot of will power and a lot of communication.
There's plenty of blame to go around. More than enough, in fact. But rather than pass that baton around, we'd rather fix the problem. Fix your problem.
But it starts with you, Major League Baseball. You need to accept that things aren't great right now. And that, unfortunately, they might get a whole lot worse.
Once you do that, though, once you acknowledge everything and come to grips with the situation, well, you'll feel a big weight lifted.
And then? Then you can really get to work on fixing things. All of you.
And us, too.
Sincerely and hopefully,
Your friends and fans