Monday, January 11, 2010

No Joy In Baseball

So the cat is out of the bag. Mark McGwire finally admitted that he used steroids for a chunk of his career - including his epic 70 home run orgy in 1998. You know, the one that "saved baseball."

Amazing. Every once in a while, I'll hear that Cal Ripken "saved baseball" with his streak in 1995 (another topic, another time). Never do I hear about a team saving baseball from the selfishness that can be the Major Leagues. Who won the World Series in 1998?

Oh. Yeah, them. One hundred twenty-five wins. Yawn.

Anyway, we had Chad Jennings on "The Press Box" today, so let him give you the details about McGwire. Then follow that up with his thoughts.

My first reaction was that of shock. Shocked that he had the balls to come clean once and for all (Roger Clemens, it's your turn...along with a few others). Then it all came together. McGwire wants back into the game, so he'll make nice.

Yet within a few minutes, all I felt was...nothing. What good is there? He can start making a Hall of Fame case? He can clear his conscience? That's not to say that he shouldn't have admitted - hell, we ALL knew it, and knew it years ago. He should have admitted it, but it doesn't make the queasy feeling go away.

It's sickening and as I've said before: we're not done. No way. There are those walking around saying that they are innocent, and there are those who the rumors persist about. But we'll get more names. Lots of them.

And then what? See? What good is it? I want to know, but it's not like it's good for the sport. Did I really feel vindicated when David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were "outed?" Not really. Sure, it gives a Yankees fan ammunition to shut up the Red Sox fans who harp on the Pettitte/Clemens/A-Rod steroids stuff. Same with the Mets who have and will eventually be forced to admit their wrongdoing.

Sorry. There's just nothing positive that can come of this. Except for the fact that it's now out. Maybe now we can see that indeed almost everyone was doing it, and see players for who they are.

As for the Hall of Fame argument, please spare me the sanctimonious crap. Once again, take a look around at the cheaters and non-Boy Scouts in the gallery. Ruth (drinking/womanizing)...Cobb (personality disaster)...Mantle (drinking)...Gaylord Perry (cheating)...Fergie Jenkins (cocaine). Shall we now find the racists, the anti-Semites, the other cheaters, and so on?

It's just so flawed, as much as I love it.

Let the players who dominated in, and let their plaques tell the story. Stop making it so flowery. Roger Clemens was a Hall of Famer. So was Barry Bonds. I can make a better case against McGwire, but if the committee eventually elects him, then note that he admitted to steroid use in 2009. And most of all, let the parents, who will walk their kids past those plaques, tell them the truth. Our court of public is normally the best way to go.

And let's move on, but never forget.

So now, how do we paint the beautiful picture here? I mean, we hold a Jackie Robinson night every year now to over-saturate and over-PC the race issue. There is a Civil Rights Game. The sport has retired number 42. What should we do to right this? Hold an annual "Just Say No" game outside the Betty Ford Clinic? Have all players wear a syringe for a night instead of a uniform number? How are we going to dress up this pig?

This, as my friend Sean Kilkelly says, is bowling shoe ugly. For baseball. For fans.

No comments: