The David Ortiz Case: Time To Stop Blaming Everyone Else
You. Me, every single loyal fan of the game.
As the story settles in that David Ortiz, one of the most likable and genial players of the game, tested positive for the use of performance enhancing drugs, (or more to the point in this acronym and initialized sensationalist news world we have become drones to, PED’s), blame is running more rampant than the drugs themselves.
And it’s fascinating to watch this theater of trickle down effect as it plays out....again.
Bud Selig is to blame for being a spineless and complicit Commissioner, allowing such a travesty to happen on his watch. After all, he was and remains one of "them", the guys who at the end of the day are living in several mansions and choking down illegal Cuban cigars.
"Them", of course, are the owners. Every single one bears a lion’s share of blame for keeping their mouths shut and wallets open at a time when fans and money were pouring into the pockets like so much manna from baseball heaven.
The media was too busy sucking up to the players and those very owners for their daily game stories and often useless pieces of drivel. All they were doing was filling air time and killing trees with nothing of substance.
I will give you all these points as givens. Inarguable and cast in stone.
But they are all merely matters of convenience. It’s time we as fans shut our mouths and took the heat we so richly deserve and have earned.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s we all knew players were popping those little diet pills to stay awake on long road trips. It was no secret that they were slamming back a few, before the games themselves to put a little extra jack in their step. Former major leaguer John Milner even spoke of getting his "greenies" from Willie Mays and Willie Stargell.
We complained, but we kept buying tickets.
In the 80’s it was as if someone opened the flood gates on nose candy. Players were stuffing anything and everything up their noses, as salaries skyrocketed and arrogance prevailed. Dave Parker, Lee Mazzilli, Keith Hernandez, and Tim Raines just a few of the notable names hauled in front of a Grand Jury investigating rampant drug use.
We screamed about how these role models were ruining our children with visions of being famous and getting away with illegal drug use.
But...we kept buying tickets.
We now know the 90’s and into the 21st century are polluted by the specter of muscle and performance enhancing additives. Steroids became fat contract laden accessories and a necessity if you wanted to succeed. Players were bending over for injections in their derriere, and we were bending, learning how to accept it as just another part of the game.
We are indignant now that not one, but two World Series titles have been tainted. We wonder how such a teddy bear like "Big Papi" could have lased out at drug users one day, and then wind up caught in the PED nets the next.
We watch. We listen. We use sports talk radio as our verbal therapy, slapping blame on players, coaches, trainers, locker room attendants, owners, hot dog vendors, and whoever else happens to be close by.
But we are the ones who buy the tickets, tee-shits, jerseys, hats, overpriced beers, and skyrocketing parking spaces.
We are the ones, whether individually or via another band of corrupt politicians, who green light the building of baseball palaces at the public's expense.
We are the ones who put a sly smile on the face of every owner, agent, players' union representative, TV network official, and Commissioner. The ones who know they can spit in eye of these suckers and cash another check.
We are the ones who give them a very public, very obvious, and very solid "thumbs up" to proceed in any manner possible.
Just give us a winner, a few hours of entertainment, and whatever you do, it’s OK by us.
We are just as complicit in the steroid era as anyone else.
And just like them, we’re all cowards in looking for someone else to blame.
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