Pro baseball fans (and I’m one of them) are busted
Baseball fans are reluctant to react emotionally to the idea of steroids because, quite simply, we’ve been implicated. Even as Barry Bonds deflects (and deflects and deflects) the accusations, we fans don’t have that luxury. We’ve already heard the gavel’s hammer. In case you don’t know, it’s loud, and it hurts the ears.In this case, it also wounds the soul; to be more specific, the image of Mark McGwire before Congress tears at the fabric of all the souls who played before the “enhanced” era. McGwire, apparently represented by a 7-year-old attorney who was too small to be caught by the cameras, insisted before Congress that “I will not speak about my past.” I imagine that works when you’re 7, when you don’t have a past …Yet while McGwire sat there and told the truth by not saying anything, it became suddenly clear. We loved this man. And we loved Sammy Sosa, who had the same body shape and hit the same kind of home runs, and who also quickly drifted from notoriety once baseball opened its closet to find some big, burly skeletons. We followed our super-enhanced heroes by the thousands – perhaps millions – because what they did was marvelous. As they hit 99 mph fast balls into the ocean or, as they call it in Chicago, Waveland Avenue, we gave them our money, our support and our blind faith.Officially (and if you want more proof check the Congressional record), baseball fans have been implicated in the steroid era. Perhaps, as we ponder scratching the record books clean – and while I’m sure a chemist with a large house is laughing at the obviousness of the “old” drugs – it will be the fans who learn the toughest lesson of all. We’ve been injected in the arse by skepticism, and rightfully so, because we didn’t ask any questions at the time. Instead, grown men crawled into the attic and sorted through their rookie cards.In the end, maybe it was McGwire who was really onto something. Maybe it’s better not to talk about the past. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who will still remain a baseball fan, and feel bad about telling my kids about giants (or a Giant) who took chemicals to oblitirate all the records. My kids will then feel bad about telling their kids, thus growing – and growing the old fashioned way – the legend of our National Pastime*.* Not the official pastime from 1998-2005.Ryan Slabaugh can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13600, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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