He said what?! You support steroids in baseball? Are you serious?
In a way, I do. I miss seeing mammoth home runs being shot to the upper deck on the simple flick of the wrist. The shouts of "Wow" that would emanate throughout the stadium from the fans. Plus, the naive state that many baseball fans stayed in (including many today) in believing their baseball heroes were clean and played pure baseball was hogwash then and now.
Well, to those who are purists and want answers, all I can say is this: I do miss players staying with their original teams; I miss every team having a chance to win the World Series title and I miss the days when you didn't have to throw away a full day's itinerary around a Sox-Yanks game. If that's your thing, fine. I on the other hand, am so numb to the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry that the desire to address this topic awoken in me.
Let me be the first to state that my favorite baseball player of All-Time is and will probably always be Ken Griffey Jr. I don't believe he used, so whether or not you believe he used 'roids, I am not a particular fan of players who use steroids, I am just a fan of the type of game that was being played during that time.
Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, and others as the list goes on are not going to be on my favorite players sheet. I have a feeling others feel the same way. Their cowardice from not speaking honestly about the steroids is my main issue, not the steroids themselves.
I really wish one of them would have just come out and said: "Yeah, I use steroids. I play better, get paid more and give my team a better chance at winning. That's why I use them." Nope. Not a single word of that dialogue was spoken by a single player at the time. Everything was hush hush around the league which made more of an annoyance looking at things now, but also made them more intriguing as time progressed.
I, for one, enjoyed the other side of baseball that was forgotten as all of these recording breaking Home Run numbers were being put up. That would be the pitching aspect of the game.
Watching Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez going at it in the Steroid era was great. Having these behemoths of meat staring you down at the plate and still being able to be effective at pitching is simply impressive.
It makes what Pedro Martinez did from 1997-2003 astounding and an almost resounding reason to put him into the Hall of Fame.
In 1997, back when he was with Montreal, he posted a 1.90 ERA with 13 Complete Games over 241 Innings Pitched. Already a fantastic season under his belt as the Steroids Era was under way, he would follow this with a trip down to Boston to continue his career.
Now Martinez would take on competition during the hey day of Steroids. How would he respond?
During 1999, Pedro only allowed 9 Home Runs over the season while pitching 213 innings. A ratio that works out to only one Home Run in every 23.6 at bats. That went with a 2.07 ERA that year. He would follow the next season with a "decent" 1.74 ERA. He would hold a 2.21 ERA over this seven-year period.
That is part of what was so great about the Home Run Era over the Dead Ball Era to me; it truly showcased the great pitchers of the time. I also believe with this blueprint put in place, it should resolve any questions about Mike Mussina legitimately making it into the hall.
Now to the opposing side of the field and focusing on Offense, who doesn't like scoring? Americans are starting to come around on Hockey and Soccer/Football depending on how you want to address it, but scoring still reigns.
Did the West Coast Offense not make the 49ers and Professional Football all the more appetizing? I believe so. With that thought in mind, Americans love scoring whether it's with each other or when its watching an event in front of them.
I was living in Seattle when Brett Boone was a Mariner, and I can say he was 100 times more fun to watch on 'Roids. Not only was he belting Home Runs at a record pace for a second basemen, but he was making unbelievable defensive stops to save games.
I can just imagine if Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle or Babe Ruth would have been able to Juice. That would have been crazy. So crazy that no matter how much one might be against steroids, you know seeing a Mantle/Aaron/Mays fight for Home Run supremacy today/then would be great. A healthy Mickey Mantle against a young Aaron and a primed Mays would be awesome, no other way to face it.
Everyone hates Barry Lamar Bonds, however no one argues that he wasn't a fantastic player on steroids or that he wasn't also fantastic at being an ass. People didn't need reality T.V., they had the ups and downs of a Major League player on the juice to watch. He showed us the numerous strengths and faults we can find in humans displayed in so many ways in just one person. He was a truly polarizing figure.
I also miss the days of hating Bud Selig and the owners. I personally see them as the main contributors to this Era in baseball. Selig had a chance to nip this steroid problem in the bud; but following the strike of '94, integrity was not going to go ahead of dollar signs and the long ball fun was going to continue. He was a fun villain to root against and today unfortunately, he is just that guy who allowed a tie in an All-Star Game.
My frustration now, is that so many players had to use just to compete with others who were using at the time. No one wanted to be taken down to the minors, so you did what you had to to survive. If your rival third basemen on the team is taking, are you going to stay clean and get demoted? That was an issue many faced and with Selig not cleaning things up, players had to say yay over nay way too many times.
With the past transactions however, have we become so sensitive to steroids that we have taken them out from everything in our society?
The new Predator movie called "Predators" is coming out and who does it star: Adrien Brody and Topher Grace! Now I love Adrien Brody, he deserved the Best Actor award for the Pianist in 2001, there is no question about that in my mind. Turning towards the movie Predators however, how can I take him and Topher Grace serious as the men who are going to stop a Predator.
I need the Steroid base men who fill their meat head roles. Brody and Grace are lovers, not fighters and I would like it if Hollywood realized that. Please leave my favorite Hollywood movies remade realistically. No one wants to see Schwarzenegger in a love story, same with Brody in an Action flick.
Steroids can have negative and positive effects, it is acknowledging their uses that is key. I don't condone players to use them because they are messing with their health by overusing them and I am not a supporter of that function. There are people who have needed steroids to treat life threatening illnesses and I fully support their usage if they can help improve their quality of life.
In the end, it is a contradiction I live within when it comes to steroids. I long to see the game played the way it once was, but at the same time I do not condone unhealthy functions by the players.
Young men of high school age have followed their heroes in paths to sometimes tragic results and that is a shame.
Again, I'll admit it I miss the Steroid Era of baseball. That being recognized, I also enjoy the growth that people can make with their minds instead of just their bodies. Here's hope that the mindset of people can continue to grow over desires to modify only the body.
Home runs are nice, but knowing how to build a home is a little bit nicer.