Friday, May 8, 2009


Ken Burns reportedly is hard at work on a two-hour documentary about what’s transpired in baseball since his critically acclaimed PBS series about our national pastime aired 15 years ago.

My advice to Mr. Burns: Don’t bother.

Those of us who truly love the game and its history would rather not relive the darkness of a regrettable era (make that error) in which some of baseball’s greatest stars became better known for wielding syringes than Louisville Sluggers.

Sadly, another big-name tumbled from his pedestal Thursday, when Manny Ramirez was suspended 50 games for testing positive for a banned substance.

Even sadder is the fall-from-grace lineup he joins, which includes big boppers Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco and Jason Giambi, as well as flame(and bat)thrower Roger Clemens.

Now, there’s a roster where chemistry is not an issue. Never mind a clubhouse for these guys. A laboratory would be more fitting. Forget about a manager. A mad scientist will do.

I started writing about the dangers of steroids at the high school and middle school levels back in 1991. The statistics of usage I came across were scary.

Still, I never imagined that performance-enhancing drugs would become as pervasive in sports as they have.

And though the lion’s share of the focus has been on baseball, only a fool would believe that performance enhancers aren’t also being used extensively in football, basketball, hockey and beyond.

Heck, if you think it’s rampant in baseball, check out track and field – which clearly was ahead of its time when it came to speed and strength and jumping ability from a test tube.

It’s interesting to note that tonight – a day after Manny will be banished for a third of the season – A-Fraud is scheduled to return to the Yankees lineup amid reports that his own roid usage wasn’t restricted to the three years he claims.

And rest assured that Manny won't be the last hero whose reputation is shattered by this scandal. The formidable fall-from-grace lineup will be “enhanced’’ before we’re through. We’re at a point now where we no longer know what’s real and what’s fake.

Of course, baseball has no one to blame but itself. Commissioner Bud Lite Selig and his partner in crime, players’ association head Donald Fehr, both turned into ostriches back in the mid-1990s, allowing the roid era and too many baseballs to take flight.

I want to vomit when I hear people championing Selig for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
I propose, instead, that Bud Lite be a charter member of Baseball’s Hall of Shame.

Find a dilapidated barn on the outskirts of Cooperstown. There, you can hang plaques for Bud and Fehr and Bonds and all the other miscreants and frauds who made their pacts with the devil.

Again, my advice to Mr. Burns is: Don’t bother with a 10th inning. I’ll watch the previous nine segments instead.

1 comment:

Joe T said...

Baseball and American culture are closely tied. Through the years we have seen our culture reflected in baseball and baseball reflected in our culture. We’re screwed as a country!