One by one, the baseball heroes continue to fall in the ongoing steroids scandal.
What a lineup: Rafael (Viagra Was Not Enough) Palmeiro. Mark (I’m Not Here to Talk About the Past) McGwire. Sammy (Steroids Have Been Very, Very Good to Me) Sosa. Roger (I Thought That Injection Was Vitamins) Clemens. Barry (Could My Head Get Any Bigger?) Bonds. Jason (I Don’t Want to Talk About It) Giambi. And now Alex (Joe Torre Didn’t Even Scratch the Surface) Rodriguez.
Baseball has come a long way from Babe Ruth bulking up with hot dogs to players bulking up with steroids; from Lou Gehrig saying he was the luckiest man on earth to players pushing their luck with performance-enhancing drugs; from Don Larsen pitching a perfect game to players looking for the perfect non-detectable illegal substance.
With 104 players identified as steroid users in the same 2003 sweep that caught Rodriguez, there’s a dark shadow over the game. How can we truly enjoy baseball again, knowing that some players use steroids while others don’t, but not knowing which is which? How can ballparks hold the same appeal when we know the playing field is not even?
As long as there are ways to cheat, some players are going to cheat. But there is a way to put all ballplayers on the same level, to see how each of them performs under identical circumstances. The answer is to make cheating a staple of the game, to make steroid use mandatory. That’s right, every player at the major league level must either use steroids or be kicked out of baseball. That way, instead of comparing player performance while speculating whether steroid use might be a factor, a fan can say, “My favorite player on drugs is better than your favorite player on drugs.”
Since there will never be a time when no players use steroids, it’s time for all players to use steroids. Only when MLB stands for “Major League Bulk-Up” can integrity be restored to the game.
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