Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What a mess

ON BASEBALL

Does anyone even care anymore?

Do modern-day records even have any legitimacy anymore?

Yes, it's gotten to this point.

If it weren't for the Red Sox winning its first World Series in 96 years and the White Sox its first in 98 years, wiping out the past 10 years of baseball wouldn't be a bad idea.

Seriously.

Here's how bad things have gotten for MLB commissioner Bud Selig: Arguably the game's best hitter of all time, Barry Bonds, is generally assumed to have taken steroids and was recently indicted for obstruction of justice and perjury.

And arguably the game's best pitcher, Roger Clemens, looks just as dirty. According to last week's Mitchell report, Clemens had his trainer inject him with Winstrol.

While I'm not jumping to any conclusions, Clemens has done nothing in the week since the report came out to make himself appear innocent. Tuesday, he issued a statement through his lawyer believable as Bonds' countless "I am innocent" statements.

If Clemens were innocent, he would have immediately called a press conference after learning of his name's inclusion in the report. He would have stood up in front of dozens of cameras and told the truth. But, no, instead he said in his heartfelt statement that he will speak at the "appropriate time."

When will that be? Once, of course, Clemens' legal team figures out what can happen to him because of the report's findings.

Whatever.

No matter what scheme Clemens' team puts together, I'm not believing him. He had a chance last week to refute the report. Statements through lawyers don't count. Call me Mike Nifong, but Clemens is guilty.

Which makes him no better than Bonds.

So following that thinking, here we stand in 2007 — with two of the game's greats under a nebulous anvil, not to mention several other high-profile players, such as Andy Pettite who admitted to using HGH twice.

Once, twice, 18 times, it ain't right, Andy. Even if you're supposedly using it to heal from an injury. Yet Pettite's apology, if you can call it that, read (AP), "If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize. I accept responsibility for those two days."

"If," Andy? C'mon. Illegally obtaining HGH from a trainer isn't exactly a good deed. Who are you trying to kid?

Not only are the guilty players unwilling to stand up for their actions and admit they were 100 percent wrong, Selig thinks he tried everything to keep this from happening.

You serious, Bud?

Let's see. Despite that home-run jacking Summer of '98, when Big Mac launched 70 and Slammin' Sammy added 66 — after hitting 36 the previous season. Despite Bonds' jump from 49 dingers in 2000 to 73 to '01. Despite increased long balls from Miami to Seattle, Selig refused to implement a steroids policy until September of 2002.

And despite revisions before the '05 and '06 seasons, it's still as weak my non-existent triceps (see my previous column, "Baseball needs to follow IOC's lead").

Yet Selig, like Bonds and Clemens, refuses to apologize for what the nation's former pastime became.

In an AP story, Selig said: "I'm proud of where we are. We have the toughest testing program in American sports. We banned amphetamines, which were a problem in our sport for seven or eight decades."

Selig went on to say that minor league drug testing has been in place for eight years now

Yay! Good to know we've been catching the guys who we don't care about anyway. It's not the younger players — the minor league players — who have done the most juicing, Bud. It's the older guys who need that boost to make it through the long season.

And as far as baseball having the "toughest testing program in American sports," who cares?

I hate when people defend themselves through comparative means. Sure, baseball has a stricter policy than the NBA. But I'm sure if David Stern smelled a rising HGH addiction among his players, he'd institute harsh penalties. Heck, Stern regularly suspends players for flagrant fouls even when they appear to be going for the ball.

But back to that other sport.

This isn't going away. Not this year. Not in five years. Maybe not in 10 years. The debate will be heated when Bonds and Clemens become eligible for the Hall of Fame. And when, and if, A-Rod approaches Bonds' home-run record.

I've already suggested a lifelong ban for MLB players who are caught taking steroids or HGH. It won't happen. Players, unfortunately, won't be scared to use the next undetectable product on the market. They won't be afraid of getting caught.

At first I thought the Mitchell report was a good thing, which helped to shed light on baseball's Big Problem and submit suggestions for the future.

Now, I don't know. Now, I don't care.

Being naive is no longer an option. The truth is too transparent.

Baseball, its players, its records and it holy shrine in Cooperstown are all tainted.

And will likely continue to be tainted.

2 comments:

Tyler Hampton said...

I agree. Baseball is going downhill and it won't be coming back up until a stricter policy is enforced. Pettite seems pretty truthful and also when he said he only used HGH twice, he said he used them during the time period where those were legal. Now whether or not he is telling the truth there or not is another question, but baseball on the whole is in a bad state.

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