Trees break the sidewalk
And the sidewalk skins my knees
There's glass in my thermos
And blood on my jeans
With Opening Day come and gone there was always the friendly banter between commentators with the main topic being steroids. Every 5th inning or so they would go to an interview with their teams leader and their view on steroids. It was always to the tune of,
“I’m sick of hearing about it.” or “Can’t we talk about something else?”
Those are the quotes that irk me a little because the players and their union are what brought this on in the first place.
Let me explain, ever since Fay Vincent (who didn’t represent the owners) was forced to step down from the head seat of baseball, the baseball government has been a joke. I’m talking about Bud Selig because it’s well known that he’s a huge fucking douche bag and is just a puppet for the owners. It is already assumed that he wouldn’t give a thirsty man water unless he had a congressional hearing with 35 Senators and a half dozen governors reaming his ass as to why not. And even then he still may not give the man any water…unless the owners tell him it’s alright. I mean that’s how the whole Steroid issued took off because Selig was afraid of the players union.
Now I’m definitely a pro-union guy-- my Dad is a union worker and has helped me be the place where I am today as a result of being in a union--and I would like to be involved in a union at some point, but the major league players union was simply the most powerful union in the US. Because of such power and Selig being such a puss, there was no one to police the players except themselves.
There was definitely something in the water around 1996 when everyone and their grandma was hitting homeruns every which way. All of a sudden there were 16 hitters that hit 40 or more home runs. Even players like Brady Anderson and (later) Ken Caminiti and Bret Boone would hit 40 despite being a couple errors away from being utility infielders. Whether it was steroids or not there was something very suspicious about some of these players. Hell, I saw Mark McGuire hit a broken bat, one handed homerun--he had to stretch for a slider--over center field!
Recently books have been published and admissions have been given about Steroid use during this time. Some said as much as 40% of the athletes were using steroids and Ken Caminiti even admitted as using such. Caminiti was a fairly average third baseman who hit for average (not really a power hitter). Then he went to the Padres and went fucking crazy in 1996 when his slugging percentage jumped up about 100 points.
Whatever…so if this stuff was going on how come no one blew the horn on this? I’m talking about someone from the inside. Someone who was playing the game without such roids and was struggling to compete with these other roidheads. Someone to say,
“HEY!!!! We gotta do something because these players are roiding up and making this game a joke!” Someone who would witness their teammates killing themselves by injecting such crap.
It’s simple, because if a player was to say something like that the Union would forever banish him and he’d be blacklisted everywhere. The players union would probably do whatever they could to hide the notion that they were doing something illegal and making millions off of such activity. Even worse, they didn’t even give a damn about the example they were setting to the industry because it does trickle down--an assistant coach takes a head job at a College where he mentions some of his “tricks of the trade” and it goes from there. Before you know it, illegal drugs are a staple in the game of baseball.
What’s even more preposterous was how unwilling the union was when it came to testing. They fought tooth and nail not to have testing until the players themselves gave into fan and media attention. Hell, it took John McCain to yell “WTF!?!“ and congress to burst into labs just to get major league baseball’s act together. Then don’t get me started on that guilty looking panel with Palmerio, McGuire, and Sosa (who suddenly couldn’t understand English)
It was at that point where the players association could’ve laid a huge blow to the commissioners office by making their own strict rules about steroids. The message would’ve been clear as day to the fans, ‘The players actually care about the game and, as you know, Selig is just a douche‘.
Whether steroids were right or wrong for baseball is besides the point. They were, after all, illegal to use in the first place.
How could no one say anything? How could someone be so stupid to take something and not think about the repercussions later?
Take Barry Bonds (technically I don’t know if he used roids or not but I have an idea),
At age 30 he had only one season of 40+ home runs. Usually a player hits their peak at around 28-32 so one could think that he’ll remain constant or slowly lose power. Then at age 37 he hits 73 home runs.
I’ll repeat, at the age of 37 (an age after most players retire) he hit 73 home runs. He also looked like a beast that ate the slender player who also went by the name of Barry Bonds who would steal 30 bases a year.
His head is ginourmous.
At 40 years old Bonds still hit 45 home runs. That is amazing and scary.
When asked about Bonds’ sudden burst of power late in his career, Torii Hunter said something to the notion of how players were actually working out compared to fifteen years ago when they never did.
So… Bond’s is this successful because he’s simply been working out? And most everyone back in the 90’s never lifted? I nearly threw up in my lap when I heard that on the radio.
With the investigation going on I don’t think records will be erased and asterisks will be added. Invisible asterisks and titles have already been giving the players and era where this was happening. Do you honestly think Mark McGuire will stand proud during his Hall of Fame inauguration (if he gets elected) when everyone has an idea of what went on in the late 90’s? Do you think Rafael Palmeiro will be able to look people in the eye when he’s wandering around Cooperstown after he lied to everyone (including congress under oath). The mark has already been made and if Bonds is guilty then the day he retires will be a quiet one.
So when a player talks about how irritated they are about the steroid talk they should probably make a call to some of the alleged users and talk to their union representative.