Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Revising My Stance...At Least a Bit...

Last Thursday, when I found out that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were on "the list" from 2003, I was pretty upset. Perhaps I over-reacted a bit in the moment when I declared that I hated the sport of baseball (or the state of baseball, which is what I really meant). A couple of reader comments have made me rethink things and I do feel a bit differently. Dinged Corners had a great comment, correctly predicting that inevitably we'll all get over it. I agree with this completely, in fact with all the excitement regarding the Red Sox acquiring Victor Martinez from Cleveland at the trade deadline, that has already started to happen for me to some extent. Comments from other players in the media like Bronson Arroyo and Nomar Garciaparra have also made me realize just how widespread this was, and I finally do see that the entire era has to be viewed differently in light of how much this culture penetrated locker rooms across the Majors.

Pricelesspursuit left a comment that got me thinking even more. His argument was that although he is disappointed whenever a story like this comes to light, baseball is ultimately an entertainment business more than anything else, and if you can come to grips with that then it's easier to still enjoy watching despite what's happened to the game. While this is a valid point, and it did calm me a bit, it only made me a little less angry. Here's why...

I completely understand that in the end, Major League Baseball is a business, and I will even go so far as to agree that it is an entertainment business. Ultimately the business is driven by the fans, who purchase tickets, jerseys, and even baseball cards and expect to be entertained as a result. Where my opinion differs lies in what I find entertaining about the sport. If I just wanted to be entertained I would watch a movie or become a pro wrestling fan. With baseball, I'm paying to be entertained by a sport, a competition. The entertainment value of that sport goes down dramatically when certain players or teams have an unfair advantage. Would you be entertained by a baseball game if the visiting team only got two outs per at bat while the home team got 3? How about if the tag up rule only applied to certain players in the lineup? What if one team could field 3 outfielders but the other team only 2? With some players taking PEDs and others relying on their natural talent, I feel like the entire balance of the game I've come to know and love is lost. I won't even get into the impact on the history of a game that is so largely based on statistics and records.

I'm already tired of hearing about it, and this will probably be my last post on the issue. I wish the entire list would just be released as opposed to a few names here and there, dragging on and disappointing fans over the years to come. I know I'll get over it and I'll be back. In fact, I'm sure I'll be watching every minute of the Red Sox/Yankees series later this week...

2 comments:

Captain Canuck said...

good post.

oh, and with Garett Anderson in the lineup, the Braves do only play with two outfielders.

Brutal.

pricelesspursuit said...

There's always college baseball if you want something "clean". I do understand what you're saying about wanting to watch for the competition and would like to see a level playing field, but I have a feeling that the playing field is more "level" than we all think, meaning a TON of guys are on SOMETHING. I would argue that steroids have become a problem largely because of the extensive media coverage dedicated to following athletes 24 hours a day. I'd be willing to bet they've been a part of the game far longer than we've realized.

I've had the same feelings you have about steroids, being just as frustrated and wanting to walk away from baseball altogether, and people have left the same sorts of comments that calmed me down (a little bit). I think you've just gotta look at the steroid/PED problem as an "era". We've had the deadball era, greenies, uppers, cheating, throwing games, and on and on. At one point they completely altered the game by lowering the mound!!! In time this will all blow over and we'll all remember this as the "steroids era", nothing more.

It's unfortunate that long-standing records are being destroyed because of PEDs, but there's nothing we can do about it now. Just keep being a fan!!

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