BigDaddyCool Posted April 2, 2006 Share Posted April 2, 2006 Major League Baseball for allowing steroids into the game: Before we get to the Top 5 reasons why you canâ€™t blame Major League Baseball for allowing steroids into the game, letâ€™s take a look at some reasons that didnâ€™t make the cut. We call them â€œThe Best of the Restâ€ The Black Sox â€“ They threw the 1919 World Series for profit and damaged the game. It sowed the seeds for the evolution of the game and the coming of Babe Ruth. The NFL â€“ Theyâ€™ve turned a blind eye to steroids for years and gotten away with it. Babe Ruth â€“ His home runs saved the game after the Black Sox scandal, but it created an insatiable hunger for home runs that has never abated. Now that youâ€™ve seen the â€œBest of the Restâ€ here we go with our countdown with #5: 5. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa â€“ Their magical Home Run chase brought baseball back from the brink of financial ruin after the â€™94 strike. When the 1998 season started there was still a lot of residual anger left over from the â€™94 strike that people had just not gotten over. All the giveaways and promotions that baseball tried to lure people back to the park notwithstanding, there was still a lot of resentment on the part of the fans towards baseball that the game itself was still in real trouble. Then came 1998 and â€œThe Chaseâ€. Mark McGwire had been coming close to Roger Marisâ€™ 61 home runs for several years before he was finally able to put it all together in â€™98. In â€™96 he hit 52, in â€™97 with the Cardinals and the Aâ€™s he hit 58, and in â€™99 the year after he had passed Roger Maris with 70 he hit 65. When you also consider the fact that he was now hitting in National League parks against unfamiliar pitching it makes what he did even more remarkable. The fact that Sammy was able to, at the same time, start his remarkable run of power to take some of the onus off of Mark made it even that much sweeter to watch. Here you had these two guys who were going out to the yard every single day, and having fun with it. Mark started to get a little surley with all the attention the media was giving him, but then Sammy came along and acted like a pressure valve. To watch these two guys together was endearing to watch and it got everybodyâ€™s attention. Baseball as a whole looked at this and said â€œHalleluiah, weâ€™re saved! What, Markâ€™s doing andro? Who cares! Look at all of these people who are watching and caring about baseball again! The fans have come back, theyâ€™ve forgiven us! Who cares if these guys are doing andro or steroids or HGH or whatever! They are putting the asses back in the seats, and thatâ€™s what matters!â€ 4. Darryl Strawberry and Steve Howe â€“ all of their second chances sowed the seeds for baseballâ€™s lax drug policy. There is no more sadder story then the story of wasted potential, and the stories of Strawberry and Howe are the worst of all. When Steve Howe came up with the Dodgers he was the left-handed closer that they had been looking for for years. However it all went to hell when he had checked into a re-hab center for cocaine addiction and kept having all of these re-lapses. So many in fact that the Dodgers finally released him after the â€™85 season. Howe had been suspended for the entire â€™84 season by then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn. Howe would go on to receive seven drug-related suspensions in his career before finally being banned for life in 1992 by commissioner Fay Vincent. A ban that was later overturned. Strawberry had all the tools to be the next Ted Williams, or so said Sports Illustrated in a feature on him when he was still at Crenshaw High in Los Angeles, California. He seemed to be living up to those expectations when he started his career with the New York Mets in the mid-80â€™s. But it all fell apart when he checked himself in for rehab stints that didnâ€™t hold up in the outside world. The problem with Strawberry is that he is such a nice guy. If you talk with the people who played with him theyâ€™ll all tell you â€“ â€œHeâ€™s a nice guy.â€ Thatâ€™s what made his addiction that much more painful for the rest of us to watch. He got so many second chances to get himself clean and get his life back together that when the end finally did come it came almost as a relief, not only for fans and the game but also for him. It was thought that if he stayed away from the game that the temptation wouldnâ€™t follow him but unfortunately it did. The fact that these two men got so many second, third and fourth chances told the rest of the world that baseball didnâ€™t consider drug use to be so serious an issue. You could put cocaine up your nose, you could drink yourself into a stupor, you could put steroids into your veins to hit home runs and you will be forgiven. Just donâ€™t bet on baseball or take money to throw a game. When you compare the two crimes it seemed like the message from baseball was â€œdrug use wonâ€™t hurt the game, only the player.â€ 3. The Players Union â€“ They became too powerful and wouldnâ€™t allow their members to be tested. The argument that the Players Union always gave against testing of their membership for drugs was that it was an invasion of the playersâ€™ privacy. I always thought that was crap. If itâ€™s potentially going to keep a player like Strawberry or a Steve Howe from hurting themselves or the reputation of the game, who cares about their privacy? If these guys are doing something to hurt themselves and hurt their performance on the field, who cares about privacy issues? The problem was that the Players Union had developed into the strongest labor association in the United States. I would estimate that the Major League Players Association at one time had become more powerful than the Teamsters. That was the kind of power we are talking about here. The Players Union would tell the Owners to jump, and the Owners would say â€œhow high?â€ The Players Union really had the Owners wrapped around their finger. The person you would have to blame for that would be Donald Fehr. I know a lot of people will look at that and say â€œwell what about Marvin Miller?â€ Well Marvin Miller was not out to do what was best for Marvin Millerâ€™s power. Marvin Miller was out to do what was best for the power of the Major League Baseball Player. He got the reserve clause abolished, ushered in the free agency era and he also made great strides in bargaining for licensing and broadcast revenues on behalf of the players. Miller stepped down in 1982 after seeing the Players through the 50-day 1981 strike that he called the "association's finest hour". Then Donald Fehr came in and the blood feud started. The power grab was ratcheted up ten-fold as the players went through a two-day strike in â€™85, a lockout in â€™90, and the scorched earth strike of â€™94 that saw the cancellation of the World Series. In labor negotiation with the owners the players are 8-0, and donâ€™t look to be on the losing side of the negotiating table any time soon. So it takes an act of Congess (literally) to get the Players Union to accept drug testing for their membership. The players are on the field for only 2 Â½ hours a night, the other 21 Â½ hours they are out in the real world with us â€“ the fans. If they donâ€™t want us calling them cheaters or calling their accomplishments into question then they need to come clean â€“ literally as well as figuratively. The one entity that has always stood in the way of that has been Donald Fehr and the Players Union. 2. Fans dig the long ball â€“ We all cheer when a slugger hits it out of the park. Think about all of the plays in the game that are most remembered: - Babe Ruth calling his shot. - Bill Mazeroski. - Carlton Fisk. - Bucky Fâ€™ing Dent. - Aaron Fâ€™ing Boone. - Kirk Gibson. What do they all have in common? The Home Run. That is the play that is most remembered in all of baseball, and as fans, we love it! We canâ€™t get enough of them. There are videos dedicated to the best Home Runs of all time. You donâ€™t see videos dedicated to the best doubles of all time or the best stolen bases. The Home Run is what puts the asses in the seats. It is very rare in these days to see a single or a double cheered the way a Home Run is. I mean, whatâ€™s the most re-played piece of tape on Sportscenter? The Major League Home Run, thatâ€™s what! Even though is was a magnificent accomplishment, Cal Ripken Jr.â€™s passing of Lou Gehrigâ€™s consecutive games streak didnâ€™t bring as many people back to the parks as McGwire and Sosa did. After the Black Sox scandal it wasnâ€™t a base stealer like Ty Cobb or a singles hitter like George Sisler the fans came to see, they came out to see Babe Ruth. When McGwire and Sosa had their run in â€™98 the fans came back. That was all that baseball wanted, needed and cared about. So what if someone was using performance enhancers as long as the turnstiles were going? 1. The 1994 Strike â€“ It angered so many fans that they didnâ€™t return in â€™95 and it nearly destroyed the game. In â€™95 there was so much animosity towards baseball. That whole year you could feel the anger in the stands towards the players, it was as if they wanted the players to fail somehow just so they could take out their anger on them. The symbol of the fans discontent that year had to be Brett Butler. He was not only the player-rep for the Dodgers but he was also very vocal in condemning Mike Buschâ€™s taking a roster spot. Busch was a minor leaguer who was going to be used by the Dodgers as a replacement player if it ever came to that. At one point early in the season Busch was called up to the show and Butler started mouthing off to the media. It got to the point where Butler was not only trying to get his teammates to ostracize Busch, but Butler was trying to get his wife to lead the other Dodger wives in a campaign to ostracize Mike Buschâ€™s wife. Thatâ€™s when all hell broke loose and the Dodger fans let Brett Butler and his family know just how they felt about the whole situation. In fact when Butler was traded to the Mets later that season a lot of Dodger fans said â€œgood riddance to bad rubbish.â€ Later when he came back to the Dodgers the next season and announced he had throat cancer, a lot of Dodger fans would not stand up and cheer for him when he made his comeback because they still hadnâ€™t forgiven him. That should give you an idea of the amount of anger the fans still had two years later when they will not acknowledge a player who has come back from a life-threatening illness. There was no Babe Ruth to bring baseball back from the brink in the â€™95 season. The best baseball had to offer wasâ€¦ â€¦Cal Ripken?!? Even though what Cal Ripken did in passing Lou Gehrigâ€™s consecutive games streak was monumental, it was not nearly enough to satiate the fansâ€™ anger. There were many fans across the country who had tuned in to ESPN to see him take his victory lap and that was the only baseball they had seen all year. Attendance at games were down by a tremendous margin, dangerously so in some cities and in fact this is what led to the first talks of contracting the majors by eliminating the Twins and Expos and/or the Marlins and the Devil Rays after the 2001 season. The Players Union was up in arms about the proposal while the fans reaction was â€œah who cares. Just a bunch of selfish millionaires having to go out a get a â€˜real jobâ€™ anyway. Let them flip burgers at McDonalds for minimum wage and see how they like it.â€ There was no sympathy for the players, the owners or for baseballâ€™s troubles. Something had to happen to re-kindle the love affair that baseball once had with itâ€™s fans. That something was 1998. 1996 and â€™97 saw increased production in home runs but they were just preludes to the main event that was to come. When McGwire and Sosa went on their tear it just galvanized the entire country. Baseball was back and better than ever because of these two heroes who were able to accomplish what Ruth did. The prospect of steroids was brought up when a reporter saw a bottle of andro in McGwireâ€™s locker and there was some talk of another asterisk. But people had had enough of that with Roger Maris so the idea was never taken seriously. It took a while for the ramifications of the drug use by certain players to be felt in the game. The owners were just glad that people were buying tickets again and who cares if the players were using drugs? As long as the bottom line was being taken care of then thatâ€™s the only thing that mattered. And the groundwork for baseballâ€™s blind eye towards steroids was laid during the 1994 strike. The conditions were too perfect for steroids not to enter the game. So did that change your mind? I hope that I gave you something else to think about that may give you a different perspective on the whole situation. Iâ€™m BigDaddyCool, thanks for reading. In 2005, Congressional Hearings were held to inquire into the use of steroids in baseball. Among the players who were called to testify were Rafiel Palmerio, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Palmero was later found to have lied to Congress about his steroid use and was released by the Baltimore Orioles. His Hall of Fame credentials are now in question. McGwire was evasive about whether he had used steroids and his reputation and Hall of Fame credentials are now tarnished. Barry Bonds, who was not called to testify is the subject of a new book entitled â€˜Game of Shadowsâ€™ which details his steroid use in his effort to break McGwires season home run record. He is now poised to break Henry Aaronâ€™s career Home Run record of 755 in 2006 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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