I am SOOOOOOO freaking tired of this.
Baseball news this offseason has been all about only 3 things
1 – those horrible Yankees have bought 3 new players at the cost of 400 something mill and now they have bought themselves a championship and we need a salary cap to make sure that ballplayers get paid a lot less (and owners get paid a lot more.)
2 – baseball players are overpaid. Look at even the utility infielders getting 400K a year. They shouldn’t be paid more than, um, us sportswriters. It is critical that the team owners get to keep even more of the income from MLB than they do – which has, by the way, been rapidly rising; 10 years ago, ballplayers salaries accounted for 58% of all MLB revenues and they now are 42% but that won’t shut the sportswriters up until ballplayers have to live under bridges or off their wives’ stripper earnings.
On the other hand, nothing is wrong with Bud Selig getting paid 18.5 mill a year.
And nothing is wrong with musicians/actors getting paid more than A-Rod per year.
3 – and speaking of A-Rod, well, we ALL knew what a terrible horrible person he was because he couldn’t never say the right thing and besides, the Rangers offered him 252 mill for 10 years and he took it which makes both him and Scott Boras e-v-i-l. Because A-Rod SHOULD have stayed with the Mariners and forfeited his right to free agency and just took whatever salary they were willing to give him, just like Back In The Good Old Days Of The Reserve Clause When Ballplayers Had No Rights Except Not To Play At All – Before Free Agency “Ruined The Game.”
That’s when the media/fans started hating A-Rod. He committed the terrible, serious crime of taking the contract from the highest bidder. No one does that in real life. And it went downhill from there.
In spite of being a focus of media hate, A-Rod was the almost opposite of Barry Lamar, the other focus of media hate. Both have been portrayed, in one way and another, as bad human beings. Disliked by teammates (with A-Rod, this began immediately after he signed that contract – I never heard about this when he was with the Mariners) and also the best player in their leagues, the media always was determined to continuously find flaws in each man at the expense of extoling virtues.
Now, it seems that A-Rod has committed The Final Sin – he (apparently) used steroids BEFORE they were banned by the CBA in 2004. Now, columnists are howling for his head even more ferverently than they were previously, even demanding that the Yankees write him a check for the remainder of his 272 mill contract, which has 9 years to run so that he is permanently banned from baseball (ala Barry Lamar) to removing every single one of his stats (as well as Barry Lamar’s and Roger Clemens’ stats from the record books. Not even the Yankees can regard 272 million as spare change, but even if they did, they would simply be fools to remove the best player on their team (who, by the way, has been steroid-free since at least 2004.)
Naturally, the sportswriters have zero interest in removing the stat lines of JC Romero, Manny Alexander, Alex Sanchez, Matt Lawton or Ryan Franklin, to name a few. Using steroids is only an egregious sin IF you happen to be one of the best players of all times.
This is just too stupid.
Anyone else remember Ken Caminiti’s confession to Sports Illustrated back in 02/03 when he not only admitted his own use, but said that use was rampant, that a GOOD 3/4 of baseball players were ALSO suing? Anyone else remember reading that famous pitching coach Tom House said that he used back in the 60s and so did lots of other guys?
Nobody cares, because this is ALL about discrediting baseball players who have played in the juiced BALL era, from 1994 – 2005. Yes, the baseball itself was a bit different enough, would by machine instead of by hand, and bouncing at the highest end of MLB standards. Offense exploded in BOTH leagues and every single guy suddenly shooting up can’t account for that.
Sportswriters especially WANT to discredit ballplayers from the last 15 years because of their fantasy about wonderful, pastoral baseball played by sweet little choir boys who would NEVER have used a chemical to gain an advantage and whose only vice was incessant adultery (which is a wonderful thing to the writers, who wish they had legions of young females with lower morals wanting to fornicate with them) and of course, the players Back Then were “loyal to the team” (much as slaves were “loyal” to their masters) and had no interest in money but played ONLY For The Love Of The Game.”
It’s all about the fantasies – that and, as Pat Jordan once noted, back then, the ballplayers HAD to suck up to the sportswriters to get noticed, and getting noticed in the papers significantly increased your chances of staying with the team. In these days of stats and internet access, baseball writers no longer have the significant clout they once had (hence the hatred of the Buzz Bissingers of the world – Back In The Good Old Days, modern bloggers/commenters had to confine themselves to writing letters to the editor.)
And the fans themselves? Many consider using steroids before they were banned by the CBA to be “cheating.” Not sure why, exactly, except that they supposedly enhance performance. Yes, they do increase muscle size, but they sure as heck have no effect on hand-eye coordination or ability to judge the flight of the ball off the bat, or to improve the accuracy of one’s throwing arm, or even one’s ability to throw a baseball into the strike zone (see Steven Randolph) or the ability to judge WHEN to take an extra base or to steal one. Baseball is not simplistic, like running a foot race or swimming faster. And unlike football, losing control of one’s emotions is NOT conducive to victory, unless a ballplayer is the type of person who concentrates better if he feels full of anger or hate.
No one complains about any other sort of chemical that enhances performance, such as painkillers or cortisone. And as to the complaint that testosterone-like steroids are now (since 1990) a controlled substance like morphine or cocaine, I would point out that absolutely no one vilifies pre-1990s ballplayers for using dexedrine – failure to use was referred to as “playing naked” and ballplayers who refused to use were scolded by teammates. I will remind you at this time that there WERE ballplayers back then who were opposed to their use (somewhat like Frank Thomas and steroids) and that dexedrine was a Schedule 3 drug since 1960, just like morphine and cocaine and now testosterone.
But who cares that Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays and Hank Aaron used these illegal drugs to gain a performance enhancing advantage? (And if amphetamines were not performance enhancing, why would they be banned by Olympic rules?)
Certainly not the sportswriters. Certainly not the fans. Who all scream about “doing it the right way” as if using illegal drugs to enhance performance Back In The Good Old Days was just peachy.
I’m really tired of this. I’m tired of the constant vilification of baseball stars – and ONLY stars, who used testosterone-like compounds prior to their being banned by the CBA. It is over, done with, dealt with, and now, I just want to talk about baseball. As for “hallowed” records – how about growing up and realizing that hitting/throwing/catching baseballs are NOT acts of heroism and that accomplishments in each particular era (dead ball, lively ball, pre-1900, high mound 60s, etc) are looked at under the standards of that era.
Enough of this, PLEEEEZE…