Roger Clemens is not guilty.
Can this be over now?
Of course it can’t. It never will. For now until the end of time we’ll still be talking about the steroid era and those who made it infamous. Clemens is just one of many.
Still, I think it is safe to say his role in the overall picture of the steroid era is a bit larger than the rest. He’s up there alongside Barry, considering his Hall of Fame credentials and repugnant personality.
Before any of this steroid silliness was known, I loved Roger Clemens. He was a beast on the mound — a Nolan Ryan/Bob Gibson throwback. Proud, nasty, BALLSY.
But the Mitchell Report tainted his reputation, whether guilty or not, and Roger then ruined it further himself by being an outspokenly whiny ass. I understand the potential frustration that could come from having a tarnished reputation, but there are ways to handle adversity with class and there are ways to handle it like a jerk.
Clemens took the jerk route.
And undoing what ya done ain’t easily done.
Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
A bunch of teams are clustered right around .500 and above and no division is even close to being set at this point. Does this mean baseball is starting to reach parity?
IT’S A TRAP!
It’s not real.
The truth is, the same old teams are still atop the same old divisions. The Yankees. The Red Sox. The Phillies. Okay, so the Mets and Dodgers may be out, but it’s not their faults! They can blame poor ownership and mishandled funds!!!
I know that a quick glance at the standings may confuse the casual onlooker, that one could be easily misguided by the way the teams stack up. But let’s face it: the NL and AL Centrals have been crapshoots for a decade, the NL West has been a contest in mediocrity for a long time. The Angels’ dominance of the AL West was only usurped last year and in 2011 they have put themselves back in contention.
This is not parity. This is, like our US American social ladder, a classic case of 99% of the wealth being in the hands of 1% of the population and everyone else is left to fend for himself. The effect resembles something like parity. But it ain’t.
I really believe that the Mitchell Report and its subsequent juicy fallout has forced teams to go back to what always works: good pitching. With good pitching, you might have a decent shot at accumulating wins. The Giants are a perfect example of a team that gets by on minimal offense and middle-of-the-pack payroll. It’s not the stuff of dynasties… but when it works, it works, and that’s what teams are doing.
The Pirates are winning because of pitching (they can’t hit). The Braves are winning because of pitching (they have a hard time scoring too). The Diamondbacks could always hit, but this year they have… PITCHING.
Great pitching is the best defense against great hitting. I didn’t write that. Baseball wrote that.
When the Orioles and Blue Jays can compete in their own division… when the Nationals have a shot at the big boys in the NL East… that’s when I’ll consider parity’s existence.
But right now that seems like something that could only be found in a galaxy far, far away.
Hate me. Fine. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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Until 1978 Kool-Aid was synonymous with children and summer. No matter what chemically produced flavor it came in, the refreshing blend of water, sugar and artificial colors and flavors was sure to quench any thirst. Then, along came Jonestown and ruined it forever. Now Kool-Aid brings to mind cyanide laced beverages or the willing ingesting of something one knows or perceives to be wrong.
Sounds kind of like baseball.
Baseball used to mean transistor radios in the summer and guys hitting one out of the park for some sick kid. But then came the ’81 strike, the ’94 strike and the steroid scandals. Instead of cheering on their team, fans started to wonder what the players would ask for next, what the owners would do to screw the fans and players over and when the other shoe would drop and you’d find out that you’re favorite player had been getting ahead by using a little something extra.
Maybe that’s all behind us now, though. We seem to have hit a point where the Mitchell Report has played itself out. We know about the transgressions of A-Rod and all the other juicers and the fans seem to have moved on. The fans still get gouged but the stadiums are full. And even if teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies buy up all the available talent, there are still surprises every other year or so.
Yep, maybe baseball really has turned the corner. Or maybe I just drank the Kool-Aid.
Image from Skull Swap
There isn’t a whole lot to like about Massachusetts. The Patriots are cheaters and cocky loudmouths. The Red Sox and their fans have gone from being objects of pity to objects of disdain in the space of five years with their whiny crybaby antics. Even their success has now been called into the question with the slow leak of the Mitchell Report.
But if there’s one thing that Massachusetts does well, it’s politics. Deval Patrick’s gubernatorial candidacy in some ways presaged Barack Obama. And no less a conservative than Mitt Romney once led the People’s Republic of Massachusetts. However, there’s one name that stands above all the rest, even if destined to live on now only in myth.
During the night, the last great flame of the Kennedy family flickered out. Tiny cinders like Patrick Kennedy still dot the political landscape but they fade in comparison to what used to be a towering inferno of political ambition. At least Ted got to go more or less on his own terms, without suffering the same fate as his brothers. But his death is no less devastating, especially since Kennedy had long championed the health care reform that is slowly inching its way through the Congress.
Today people from both sides of the aisle, those who watch FOX news and those who rely on MSNBC, will pay their respects to “The Lion of the Senate” before returning to the partisan war of attrition that defines politics today. And despite all the excitement of divisional races and the upcoming publication of A Magical Mystery Tour (Part II) which will take us deep into the frightening recesses of Jeff’s brain, we here at RSBS also take a step back today to pay homage to Senator Edward Kennedy.
Michael Phelps and a few other American athletes have voluntarily
submitted to a higher level of drug testing in an attempt to head off
any questions about their impressive victories. If the US Olympic team
can do this, why hasn’t baseball taken similar steps to get rid of the
drug stigma surrounding the game today?
In a way, Major League Baseball, behind the leadership of Bud Selig and an overwhelmingly grumpy push from the US Government, has taken similar steps to get rid of the drug stigma, Mr. Krause. I’m not sure if you heard about it this past winter, but the Mitchell Report made quite a stir all over the baseball cosmos, and got a great number of ballplayers thinking “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t put this crap in my body anymore.”
While the drug screening program in baseball is still somewhat lax and random in its procedure, it is still light years better than what it was (non-existent) and does an adequate job by simply scaring people into doing the right thing. This is progress that at one time seemed improbable. Why? Because the don’t-ask-don’t-tell secret of performance enhancing drugs was bringing people to the ballpark. Whether it was the greenies of the 70s or the HGH of the 90s, fans were coming out to games in droves to witness the high octane occurrence of homeruns and 100 mph fastballs. You’ve said it here a million times, Mr. Krause, money is what makes the world go round and if shooting up brings it in then so be it.
Unfortunately, we US Americans sometimes have a conscious; and that’s the only reason why this phase has transitioned to a foreseeable end.
Are players still using PEDs? Probably. Are they using them as much as they used to? No. Not at all. Need proof? How about Richie Sexson, Eric Gagne, Paul Lo Duca just for starters. These guys are mere shadows of what they used to be while on the juice; because of that, I’m convinced that the biggest proverbial battles have already been fought and won.
Could more be done to ensure the sanctity of the game? Probably.
Will a more stringent array of tests similar to those of Olympians Michael Phelps and Dara Torres (both voluntarily) ever be instituted in Major League Baseball? I doubt it.
And here’s why: Player’s Union, Agents, Club Owners, the Players themselves. Try to get anything past these guys that could theoretically threaten profits and you’ll quickly realize you’re dealing with a much higher power than voluntary amateur athletes who compete for a friggin’ medal that everyone will forget about two months from now.
The difference between asking Michael Phelps to take a rigorous amount of drug tests to prove his purity and asking Manny Ramirez to do the same can be summed up in two words: Scott Boras.
Boras, evil incarnate, who single-handedly changed sports forever, will hunt down your children, cut off their heads and sell them to Colombian witchdoctors if it means he’ll get 10%. I guarantee you, if Boras represented Phelps (which would never happen whilst Phelps maintains amateur status), Andrea Kramer would be lucky if Phelps even acknowledged her existence after winning 8 gold medals.
Money. Money money money money money. Money. Money money money money. Money. Money money MONEY!
Of course, public relations and digesting the fact that hardworking US Americans actually do want to be assured that their national pastime isn’t being abused both factor into MLB’s stricter regulations; but MLB and its myriad components, from the owners to the players to Joe Blow who spent $48.50 of his paycheck to sit in the upper deck, will continue to do whatever they have to to straddle the precarious line between profit and purity.
It hasn’t been perfected in politics (see Bill Clinton, the Kennedy’s, John Edwards) yet, so it’s no surprise that baseball hasn’t a clue either.
I’m just glad that I can go to sleep at night knowing that I am PED free. A bulging forehead, weak libido and distending testicles wouldn’t be good for my image.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.