Monday, December 17, 2007

Baze-eh-ball been bery bery all of us

I haven't written yet about the Mitchell Report concerning steroid usage in baseball. I wrote about Barry Bonds' indictment the other day, but I just haven't had the gumption to write much about this until now, mostly because of a deep-seated feeling of disgust.

I'm a fan of Charles Barkley, partly because he once said that he wasn't a role model for kids--their parents are supposed to be the role models. While I like Sir Charles' sentiment, I'm afraid it's not that simple. People DO look up to professional athletes. Even as adults, we look up to athletes. Ken and I both admire Tiger Woods, I really admire Peyton Manning, and who could NOT love someone like Walter Payton? (RIP, Sweetness) That makes the Mitchell Report all the more dismaying.

I love sports. I love the competition of it, I love seeing athletes working hard and trying to do their best. Athletes like Larry Bird and Reggie Miller (I know there are many others, but those are two of my favorites) practiced for hours on end to perfect their shooting and their game. And it's pretty obvious that neither of those guys took steroids! Tiger and Peyton are known for their commitment to bettering their play--they study for hours on end, and they work hard to strive to be the best. THAT is why I love sports.

Using steroids is cheating. That's all there is to it. It is using drugs to enhance performance. There are many to blame for this shameful time in professional athletics: the players themselves for using the drugs and sullying the profession; the owners and managers who have turned a blind eye to this problem; the doctors and trainers who give the players the drugs, then take the money and run; and the fans who want a win or a championship at any cost, whether it's to the good name of athletes and sports in general, or to the health of the players. In my opinion, however, the greatest responsibility lies with the commissioner. This has been an obvious problem for many years, and while the NFL and the NBA have cracked down and required serious testing, the baseball higher-ups have dragged their feet and let the problem get so out of control that it caused a major investigation.

Mandatory testing is not perfect. Marion Jones managed to make it through the stringent IOC testing requirements. But at least the Olympics are obviously serious about not allowing doping, and the NFL and NBA have made great strides. It's time for baseball to step up and realize that the majority of fans want to see great games, great teams, and great players, but they don't want to see it happen through questionable and dishonest means.

For the love of sports, clean up your act, Baseball.

Speaking of sports, I think Rory Sabbatini needs to shut his trap.

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