Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Sox and Steroids

Did anyone doubt that Red Sox players would eventually appear on "The List"? We can diminish the 'cheating' aspect because we root for laundry, but our bitterness over a pair of Jason Giambi homers in the ALCS softens when we realize that Red Sox hitters had juiced, too.

We may never know who 'just did it' and who didn't, although we all harbored suspicions over bulked up cover boys and supercharged homer production and slugging percentage from guys who hadn't produced oversized numbers.

MLB and its players union never really wanted the genie let out of the bottle. Owners raked in the dough from fannies in the seats, players' salaries skyrocketed, and the game's popularity soared. When does exposing the man behind the curtain ever seem the thing to do?

High profile hearings embarrassing stars like Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire put the Commissioner and his minions on notice that public airing of needle-stained laundry didn't play nearly as well as a bloody sock.

Sox fans snickered at A-Rod's outing and the recent double dip of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz simply serves us the crow that we deserve. The inclusion of an Eric Gagne in the Mitchell Report didn't provide either red meat or a wake up call. But our fascination with Big Papi gets undermined by the realization that at least some of his production was tainted.

Of all baseball's cheaters, who has come off 'cleanest' and who's fared worst? The latter provides no challenge with Barry Bonds leading the parade, and Roger Clemens, never proven beyond all doubt, came a close second. Andy Pettitte took the smallest hit, containing the damage with an apology and a "taking one for the team explanation."

So what should David Ortiz say and what will he say? Obviously, we don't know the facts, and some players probably have inadvertently taken banned substances. The old saying about it's easiest to remember the truth comes to mind. But even within the truth, Ortiz might be able to contain the damages. Or not. But whatever he says, I hope he touches on the three R's - respect for the game, remorse for his actions, and regret that they might adversely influence behavior of younger athletes.

Baseball could have handled this with blanket amnesty for players who simply admitted their mistake and acknowledged a subsequent "zero tolerance" policy. But both owners and players (and their attorneys) had too much hubris and too much money, willingly defrauding the public who simply believed the lie.

1 comment:

The Sports Chick said...

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The Unpink Hat Squad