Friday, December 14, 2007

A brief post on steroids

I wonder how it feels to wake up and see your picture plastered all over newspaper front pages, from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, as the new poster boy for baseball’s steroid scandal. I'm sure Barry Bonds thanks you. I wonder if your family feels betrayed. Or maybe, the money you raked in, while violating the rules of fair play, have dulled their sense of right and wrong, while giving them a lifestyle and materialistic largesse that most Americans only dream about.

In New England, Red Sox fans have always had a love/hate relationship with Roger Clemens. For many, when the overweight and apparently, washed up former Cy Younger signed with Toronto during the winter of 1997, most felt it was a case of Roger going where he could get the most money. Many fans, tired of Roger’s demands and recent lack of success, were happy to see him go, with farewell intimations of “don’t let the door hit you in the ass.”

Then came back-to-back 20 win seasons, topped by another Cy Young, his third, in 1998. Boston fans began to feel they’d been taken. Talk show conversations on Boston sports stations talked about how Roger had let himself go his last few years in Boston and when he had some motivation again, tapped into the immense well of talent that he possessed, which was aided (so we thought at the time) by hard work and determination.

Then, along comes the Mitchell Report, which pulls back the covers on baseball and lends 409 pages of factual information, to what had been whispers and anecdotal material.

I hope to weigh in on this with a much more detailed post, over the weekend. But for now, it’s back to Maine’s snow-covered road ways and the outer reaches of my regional work territory. While on the roads today, I plan on taking in some talk radio. I can predict that for many of these announcers, Mitchell's documentation will now produce the effect of eliciting condemnation, but most have been like Commissioner Bud Selig, mealy-mouthed on the subject.
Just so readers know that I've stayed consistent and am no Jimmy-come-lately on the subject, here's a post I penned on the subject back in 2005. If you want to do some additional reading, here's another post, also from 2005, where I reference Don Hooten and a foundation he's started, to address the issue, as it pertains to younger athletes. Mr. Hooten lost a 16-year-old son to steroids and I doubt he'd think it was ok to slough the subject off, as some baseball fans will surely do.

Well, the car's warmed up and thawed out and it's time for me to depart. To fellow commuters, remember the words of Hill Street Blues Sergeant, Phil Esterhaus, that he used to say to his troops, “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”

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