Dear Jose, Mark, Sammy, Rafael, Barry, Roger, Ivan, and everyone else who put us in this testosterone-infested mess,
I already know what you're thinking. I must be crazy. Thank these guys? They ruined baseball! What kind of a fool would thank a bunch of cheaters who injected and pill-popped their way to the top of America's pastime? Some of you probably won't read any further.
You know why I thank them? Because they made me care about the game. For you older fans, they made you care again after the strike.
Look at what's happened to the NHL after their strike. I'd bet AT LEAST 25% of Americans who call themselves "sports fans" could not tell you who played in the Stanley Cup Finals. On top of that, most probably couldn't name a player in the series besides Sidney Crosby.
I'm glad I never have seen baseball slip that far.
So what if they cheated and broke records? Go ahead, put an asterisk next to the records! I don't care! It was beyond exciting to watch.
And what a ride the Steroid Era gave us! Big Mac and Slammin' Sammy in the '98 home run race. Countless duels between Pedro (probably clean) and Roger (obvious juicer, supposedly past his prime). Barry hitting 73. More home runs than ever. Teams make more money, build new ballparks that are big upgrades (Cincy, Pittsburgh, Philly, NY Mets, San Fran, San Diego, etc.).
Some of you are probably doing a little digging and discovering that I'm a big Red Sox fan, and no big Boston names have surfaced in the uncovering of the scandal.
I, unlike some Sox fans, am not ignorant enough to think that no Red Sox have juiced. I know some did. Mo Vaughn, Nomar, Trot Nixon, Varitek, and more might have juiced. Even Big Papi and (gulp) Manny may have juiced. I don't know, but I've enjoyed the ride. I am by no means saying that these guys cheated, I'm just saying I wouldn't be surprised if they did.
Since May 2003, the Red Sox have sold out every single home game (over 400 in a row). And they aren't the only ones that have experienced jumps in attendance, this jump has been widespread, and it's because the game has become more interesting.
Once the juicers are gone, one slip and baseball could become unimportant as well. That's what happens to sports that have potential to be "boring".
So don't be so quick to judge the juicers; they sparked interest and gave you memories. Maybe you took your son to a game and he saw a 38-year-old Barry Bonds hit a 480 foot home run. He won't forget that.
Don't look back at the Steroid Era with a frown; look back and remember all the fun you had watching it unfold.
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