Baseball, unlike other professional sports, is defined by its rich history. From The Babe to Bonds the sport holds its heroes sacred and the records they set like scripture in the history books. However, is it because of this loaded history that some players are turning to illegal substances to help them live up to monstrous expectations? Or is it the greed of a fat paycheck?
As the game evolves and athletes become bigger, faster and stronger, the bar has been raised. Pitchers are throwing harder than ever with as much spin and movement on the ball as a Bugs Bunny cartoon. To compensate, the hitters are taking action. Unfortunately, most of that action is taking place in a makeshift clubhouse pharmacy rather than in the batting cage.
The professionals that have become legends to this generation weren’t perfect, but their play appeared to be as pure as the freshly dressed fields they played on. The chalk lines newly painted, dirt raked and watered and the grass cut to specifics. While most of us weren’t around to see Ted Williams roam the outfield of Fenway Park or Jackie Robinson ignore the racial remarks being spit from the bleachers at Ebbets Field and lead his teams to the World Series, their records and accomplishments have withstood the test of time. Yet, who are future generations going to idolize, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire? Even Roger Clemens, the Rocket, has lost all credibility due to his pharmaceutical choices.
As the steroid problem hits newsstands again with baseballs’ last hope, Alex Rodriguez, admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs, the problem appears bigger than ever. A-Rod was the player fans could still believe in. He was supposed to be the anti Barry Bonds, the superstar who was going to pass Bonds on the all-time home run list without any doubt to his credibility.
So the search continues for a true professional that is incorruptible. Major League Baseball needs more than ever an athlete to break through with unlimited potential that puts up monster numbers without help from cycles of anabolic steroids and HGH. The crybaby athletes of today’s Major League are disrespecting the heroes and legends of the past, whose records are now being broken.