Face it… there is no Superman, Batman, Aquaman or the like. We live in a world where we look for Heros in life. People that we can look up to and admire or even aspire to be. For some people that is a scientist or doctor, for others it can be a Rap star or athlete. Which brings me to my topic.
When I was young, I followed such sports stars as Bruce Jenner, Steve Garvey, Reggie Jackson and Pete Rose. I will be the first to admit that they were no saints, and they had their issues, but compared to the things we are seeing from today’s players… they were pearls.
I consider myself to be a pretty good judge of character, and fairly knowledgeable in the way people think; which is why I am truly perplexed when I see people like Darrell Strawberry, Barry Bonds… etc, who think nothing of pumping crap into their system, then get mad when they are caught.
Let’s go back and do some comparison… and we will start with my Childhood hero… Steve Garvey.
Steve is one of the many of the “boys of summer” that NEEDS to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Just look at his record by clicking here, he is truly one of the greats. He was not perfect, though. He later had some issues pop up regarding messing around with women other than his wife. There was also a suit regarding a diet program that he hyped, but this is probably as bad as it got.
Now to Pete Rose.
Every time I think of this guy I just feel sick. Here is a guy who has been up to bat more than 14,000 times, and raked up 4,256 hits… and because he gambled, he was kicked out. Talk about your raw deals. Because of his involvement with gambling, he is not eligible for the Hall of Fame. When I think about this, it makes me wonder how gambling is so much worse than using drugs… Because unless I missed something in my research, were he even have as good a player, Darryl Strawberry would still be eligible for the Hall of Fame. Now THAT is sad.
I love baseball… and I am dedicated to two teams. Saint Louis Cardinals and the Toronto Blue Jays. I watch them as often as I can. But Baseball as a whole is disappointing me these days. I look at the book that Jose Conseco wrote, and cannot help but wonder if it was a blessing or curse for those of us who are baseball “truists”. We learned about something that most of us really did not want to know about, and that many players did not WANT us to know about. Suddenly the baseball great of the modern time, are not so great. They are teaching us that a little hard work to get that extra edge is no longer required, just a friend that can provide you with some steroids. How is this NOT cheating? How is this NOT giving yourself an unfair advantage? Can anyone out there tell me that what they are doing is creating a positive image of themselves?
If we look back, knowing what we know now, to the “Challenge” between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire, back in 1998, we cannot think about it without a little bit of skepticism. Was the incredible feat they created that year them or was it the needle? In fact, this question was answered. Sammy may have actually answered the question by not answering it in this interview with Rick O’Reilly. To make matters worse, Conseco’s book reports that McGwire used steroids in 1998 as well. So this Home Run race was a farce.
Baseball has long been the “Great American Pastime”. Players were respected, lauded over and considered American icons. They made people, youths especially, feel that with hard work and keeping you eye on the prize, you too could be one of them. Today? What once were Heros and inspirations for the kids are now walking advertisements for cheating. They carry with them the advertisement that if you are obnoxious enough, do drugs or use steroids, you too can be the next Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire or, god forbid, Darrell Strawberry.
While it probably does not make headlines as much, I am sure that this goes on in other sports, but they just do not seem to be as visible.
If I had some say… Testing would be mandatory… all players in all sports would be tested. If you are found to have Steroids or other drugs in your system, you would be given a one year suspension… at the end of that year, if you still test positive then you are banned for life. No “third chances.”