Roger Clemens Indicted: The 10 Saddest Stories of the MLB Steroid Era
The Steroid Era has officially left its mark in professional sports while tarnishing the reputation of America's pastime.
With the recent indictment of legendary hurler Roger Clemens, the next generation will be very confused about which players to look up to.
Players like Roger Clemens have forced parents to lie to their Little Leaguers and young baseball stars by telling them their favorite players are stand-up citizens.
Steroids and PEDs (Performance-Enhancing Drugs) leave fans with a bitter taste in their mouths. Are there any true heroes left? What role models will our children have in the realm of professional sports?
Here are 10 of 10 of the saddest stories of the steroid era in professional baseball, and the destructive wake they have left behind.
P.S. If you like this article, check out my article on the Dodgers for next season: 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers Fantasy Roster By Position
10. Miguel Tejada Indicted For Perjury
Miguel Tejada followed in Palmeiro's footsteps and in 2009 pleaded guilty for lying about his use of steroids.
The main travesty here? He only received probation and community service; a slap on the wrist that did nothing to make a statement about the use of PEDs.
9. Manny Ramirez & The Tainted Fairy Tale
For years, Manny Ramirez was a beloved star in front of the Green Monster.
For one of the most storied franchises in all of sports, Manny was the poster child and the fan favorite for his personality and prolific hitting.
Ramirez was instrumental in snapping a century-long curse, bringing a title to Beantown. But the relationship was soon strained.
All the while, Boston fans knew something was going on behind the scenes. Like a girlfriend suspecting her boyfriend of cheating, Sox fans' patience was wearing thin.
Then when it seemed Manny was in the middle of a triumphant comeback with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he made headlines for receiving a 50-game suspension while testing positive for a hormone used to control the side effects of steroids.
His name is now added to a list of sluggers on the dark side of baseball. Will any of these names ever be in the Hall of Fame?
8. Jason Giambi's Tearful Confession
Behind every future steroid user is a young man with a dream of playing professional baseball. But the pressures of major contracts and playing in front of thousands of fans can wear down even the most innocent minds.
Although Giambi is a former steroid user, he showed class in coming forward with his confession. He realized he was done with the lies, and is still around despite public humiliation.
The sad part of this story is the wonder of what his career could have been without the juice.
7. Mark McGwire & The Asterisk
Sammy Sosa's home-run race counterpart is perhaps the Godfather of the steroid era. McGwire has always been a power hitter, and his name was synonymous with slugger.
However, McGwire began the shockwave of the steroid era when it was discovered fans that cheered for him every step of the way were betrayed.
The questions were raised: What is a player without performance-enhancing drugs? Would they still be able to hit the ball as far?
And most importantly: Do their names belong in the history books alongside names like Gehrig, Ruth, Cobb and Cy Young?
In the same gene pool of the discussion was the asterisk. Players like McGwire may never escape that word, and may hear it in their nightmares for the remainder of their days.
6. Barry Bonds's Historic Run Has a Subplot
While Bonds was chasing down Hank Aaron's all-time record for career home runs, fans in San Francisco were wondering, "How does someone's head muscles grow so big?"
It's a crying shame that one of the most hallowed records in sports is currently held by a proven steroid user.
Bonds was once the spitting image of the golden boy, complete with that giant gold cross hanging from his ear.
Bonds carries himself with flawless speech and a silent swagger. However, he is just another name on the list for the steroid era.
5. Rafael Palmeiro Lies To Congress
Rafael Palmeiro was on his way to baseball immortality. Known as one of the best hitters for average and power in the game, Palmeiro was a catalyst for the entire league.
Then the Mitchell Report surfaced, and several players around the Majors, past and present, were named as steroid users.
Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in 2005 for testing positive for steroids after giving a sworn testimony the United States Congress saying he had never used PEDs.
It was the most blatant lie in professional sports, and it proved anyone has their price when it comes to sacrificing morals.
4. Alex Rodriguez Youngest to 600, With a Catch
Perhaps the shining example of the flaws of Major League Baseball is current New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
After signing the most lucrative contract in professional sports history, betraying the city that made him a star for money, A-Rod added to his "legacy" by testing positive for steroids.
Perhaps more perplexing was the initial outcry of Yankee fans, followed by eventual cheering every time he hits one out.
3. Sammy Sosa's Career Crash & Burn
When Sammy Sosa burst onto the Major League scene, he was an instant fan favorite and a Chicago icon.
Cubs fans adored their slugging outfielder and cheered his praises every time he walked from the on-deck circle to the batter's box.
Sosa vs. McGwire was a legendary campaign towards history, but that would all come crashing down in a heap of dust and PEDs.
In the midst of allegations of doping and drug enhancement, a not-so-common broken bat would begin a ripple of filth for Sammy Sosa.
On June 3, 2003, Sosa was ejected from the game after it was discovered his bat was corked. The split piece of lumber revealed a concealed cork buried within the barrel of the bat.
Placing a cork in the bat makes the bat lighter by hollowing it out and also causes more "pop" in the bat.
On top of the corked bat, Sosa released a questionable statement saying the bat was a practice bat. What purpose would a corked practice bat serve?
Either way, it was the beginning of the end for Sosa, and in the years following the incident, there was one punctuated point of Cubs fan betrayal after another.
Sosa and the game were never the same...
2. Big Papi Is A Big Fake
Like the Bash Brothers of the Mighty Ducks getting penalized, David Ortiz, the prodigal son, went down with running mate Manny Ramirez for the same rap.
After Ortiz was continuously surrounded by steroid allegations, he finally confessed to the Red Sox faithful.
Like a slip of the tongue, they forgive but secretly don't forget. Things will never be the same in Boston.
The bright side for Ortiz: Babe Ruth had his troubles off the field too, but he is still regarded as one of the best baseball players who ever lived.
1. The Lies & Deceit Finally Catch Up To Clemens
Roger Clemens has been indicted by the US Congress with several counts, all surrounding his lies to a Federal Grand Jury in regards to steroid use.
Like a child denying a chocolate feast with the evidence in the form of a full goatee, Clemens continued to deny and evade steroid allegations after being named as a user by former trainer Brian McNamee.
There cannot be an easier way of making yourself the villain than to continually lie to the public, tie up the courts over the issue while refusing to come clean, then counter-sue your accuser for libel and slander.
It's guys like this that should be screened by MLB before being allowed to play. Roger Clemens, you ARE the reason baseball will never be the same.
Honorable Mention: Jose Canseco Becomes Best-Selling Author
Once the running (or jogging around the bases mate) of Mark McGwire while they were teammates on the Oakland Athletics, Jose Canseco published his testimony on steroid use in Major League Baseball, exposing the ugly under-belly of the sport.
The reason the publishing of the book makes the list as a sad story is simple: The story broke in the book, not from officials of MLB, showing they either wanted to cover it up, or didn't realize it was going on.
P.S. Why aren't other sports taking action the same way MLB is?