By Chris Cue
April 5th, 2009
That’s right baseball fans, the long wait is over. Major League Baseball’s 2009 regular season officially starts today when in their home opener, the Philadelphia Phillies take on the Atlanta Braves at 8:00pm on ESPN2. As much as we sometimes despise those guys in black, it’ll be nice to hear one of them say:
That’s right, go get George Brett’s pine tar, grab a bat (made out of ash or hickory) and resin up the handle. It’s time for some Baseball.
All of the talk in the off season is over. Now it’s time for the players to shine. The initial phase of building their teams has been completed by the General Managers. They are about to find out what kind of team they have. The Managers and Coaches are in place and Wall Streeet reports that the stock in Double Bubble Gum and Red Man chewing tobacco is on the rise. There will be more spitting going on in the coming months then a Llama in heat and there will soon be more trash talk then a New York City garbage collector could handle.
It’s America’s past-time and it’s getting underway. Thank the Lord, kiss the babies and make me write bad checks. Hallelujah! The real season is finally here! It reminds me of how this day felt as a kid growing up. Not necessarily the first official day of baseball season, but rather how the first official day of sandlot season felt. That inspired me, so I think I’ll call this one……
A child awakes and to his feet he stumbles hearing a noise from outside
Pushing curtains away, out the window he looks curious to see what resides
There’s something new,
the view has changed from what it was before
Spring is on the way,
the sun is out and winter is being shown the door.
To his closet he leaps
pushing aside boots, jackets and hats
shorts, long socks, a ball, a glove and a bat.
To the front door he
runs, passing by Mom and wishing her a good day
Onto his bike he
rides from door to door asking all if they want to play.
Now the gang is
gathered, what a crew they make.. all anxious to see what’s in store
Together they ride as
fast as they can to a place they’ve known before.
The field is unfrozen
and the bases are intact just as they were last Fall
The teams are picked, the players are in place….It’s
time to play some ball!
By Chris Cue
February 8, 2009
In the wake of the Sports Illustrated report that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for Testosterone and the anabolic steroid Primobolan back in 2003 while playing for the Texas Rangers, an old wound has once again been re-opened. With it’s opening, old questions are once again being asked as well. The faces may change, but the questions are the same. The most frequent question being asked right now is: “Who else?”. We’ve heard the names Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Jason Giambi, Andy Pettitte and now Alex Rodriguez. These are not the only names out there, they are just the most high profile. What about the others? Why haven’t more names been exposed? Why did the Mitchell report seem to focus so heavily on the Yankees when all of baseball is known to have been involved in this mess? What culpability does Major League Baseball have to own up for? What about the Players Union? The questions go on and on and on, with some answers being given, but the 800 pound gorilla in the room continues to be ignored. “Who else?” remains the big unanswered question.
From the 1980’s to 2004, baseball was believed to have been in “The Steroid Era”. Every player during that time is now suspect. Is it fair? No, it probably isn’t. Not every player was a cheat, but when you have high profile players getting caught, MLB as an organization turning a blind eye, Owners of teams implementing a “Don’t ask – Don’t tell” policy and a players union that is now accused of tipping off players to testing, the ugliness just gets uglier and fairness takes a back seat to the headlines. Don’t fool yourself, the steroid era didn’t really end in 2004. It goes on to some degree even today. It always will. Cheaters will find a way to cheat and they will always be one step ahead of those who are trying to catch them. Do you need further evidence beyond the common sense it takes to come to that realization? If so, do yourself a favor and read THIS article written by Will Carroll from Baseball Prospectus. You’ll soon find out that there is a new age of drugs and their use may or may not rival the use of those in the so-called steroid era. It’s an eye opening article that brings back memories of “Deep Throat” and the Nixon scandal. It is a reality and we need to accept it in order to move on and do the work that’s needed.
Who is to blame? That’s another question that’s getting new life. The answer is there isn’t one person you can point a finger at. In this case, it was a group effort. A total Cluster ____! It took a village to create this mess and it will take the same village to get it under some sort of control. Once you get over the fact that this will never go away, it becomes much easier to focus on what can be done to curb the problem. In today’s game when millions of dollars are on the line, expecting honesty from those that stand to lose those millions may be too much to expect. There are however, higher authorities that can and should expose all who have been and will be caught. If legal issues prevent that from happening now, then work should be done to erase those barriers for the future. The only way for the sport to regain it’s credibility in this area is to show that it is willing to expose those who cheat and to have them pay dearly for it. Reports such as the SI.com story that names only 1 name from a list of 104 isn’t the way to do it. That only fuels the speculative fires. Name them all or name none of them. The later shouldn’t really even be an option if the intent is to truly clean up the sport.
Until active players who cheat get more then a slap on the wrist, this problem isn’t going away. Until all who are known to have been participants in this scandal are exposed, questions will linger. If positive identifications can be made, then those names on the list should ALL be revealed. Not 1 name, not 2 names, not a few or even a majority…..ALL of the names need to come out. It’s a healing process that has to get underway and it’s been avoided for far too long. Acknowledging the fact that cheaters will always be able to cheat is step one. Step two is seeing that those who get caught cheating are made an example of. If you can’t beat the problem, the least that should be done is to show future members of our society that the risk/reward isn’t worth it. It won’t stop them all, but it would make people pause before they decide to head down a path that could potentially ruin their lives let alone their careers or a sport.
The enormity of this problem can’t be covered in one article, blog post, Radio or Television report. It has too many facets to it to be completely covered without making it a book that would rival “War and Peace”. However, one simple piece to this mega-puzzle can be looked at and it should be addressed. It isn’t the whole puzzle, but one could argue that it’s the most important piece. Expose those that cheat and make them pay. It’s the only weapon professional sports organizations have in their arsenal and they should use it. In case it wasn’t obvious before, it should be now. This isn’t going to be easily swept under a rug and ignored until such time as a real Spring cleaning takes place. Spring is here. Get it done. All that concerned people ask is for these organizations to show that they are willing to do it. Show us it doesn’t pay for these people to cheat. Show us who owes an apology to the “clean” players. Show us the names….ALL of the names and let’s finally go about cleaning this mess up.