Keep your eye on the ball, baseball was supposed to be the sport in which any size or shape could participate and succeed as long as you kept your eye on the ball.
It was a saying to live your life by.
You knew you would be okay in all aspects of life as long as you kept your eyes and hearts open to see that ball. All that was left was to swing for the fences. If your eyes stayed on the ball, you would be left with the beautiful sound of wood hitting cowhide, but if you miscalculated for just a split-second you would be sent right back to where you came from.
You were taught growing up you could accomplish anything in life no matter who you were.
Sports however, was the wake-up call to what you could not do. You could not play basketball unless you had speed, a vertical leap, size and strength. You could not play football unless you had speed, quick feet and a massive amount of size and strength. To play hockey you needed strength, toughness, skating ability and a Canadian accent.
Some people are just not built for these sports. Baseball, however, was the sport where you needed brains not brawn. We watched players like Cecil Fielder and Joey Cora play and succeed on the same field as Ken Griffey Jr. and Bo Jackson. We watched David Wells do something Nolan Ryan never did; throw a perfect game. We watch Tim Lincecum reach the same velocity as Randy Johnson. We watched Bobby Jenks record the last out of the World Series just as Mariano Rivera did.
It was pure athletes competing against, well, pure baseball players who gave hope to every human being that they could succeed. Until, of course, they broke our hearts and hit us with reality.
Now we cannot use baseball as a metaphor to show our children that anyone can succeed. Instead they learn the harsh truth of life. They learn in order to get to high places you need to cheat and know the right, morally wrong, people.
Baseball has become the game of who is the strongest player, instead of who plays the game the right way.
People who are in their 20s have never known the game without steroids and in a way have been hit the hardest by life.
The best pitcher, Roger Clemens and the best hitter, Barry Bonds, of their generation have done steroids.
They've watched cheaters succeed immensely just as they have in real life. The people of this generation have also been hit with a terrible economy, which happened due to the greed of a few which spread to the greed of many just as steroids did.
What have they learned? They've learned there is no way to succeed without selling one's soul.
The game has shown its true colors just as life has, there are no heroes.
There are just good people who go unnoticed. We glorified the Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez and Mark McGwire's of this world, but forgot the Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Ken Griffey Jr and Frank Thomas' until the crooks were brought to light.
Until the crooks are put away, there is nothing we can teach our children. Until then, we cannot trust anyone.