The truth about baseball’s Steroid Era
The Mitchell Report came out today, detailing the extent of the drug problem in America’s Pastime. I’m flatly disgusted.
But it occurs to me that there is a bright side of this issue, aside from the obvious fact that they’ll “clean it up.” According to Sen. Mitchell’s investigation, these guys were spending thousands of dollars each month, not to hit 50 homers, though that was the goal for the hitters who used.
But there are many utility guys who juiced up simply to get over the Mendoza Line (a .200 batting average, usually the difference between The Show and all-night bus rides).
But in a sport so tied up in our history, the bright side is that our true heroes — Hank Aaron, The Babe, Mantle, Maris and Ernie Banks, just to name a few — were that good, with no pharmaceutical assistance.
While they were once great, the non-cheating Hall of Famers now look like titans. Maris hit 60 home runs on nothing but momma’s corned beef hash. Many of the game’s great record-holders — like perpetually overweight Babe Ruth or confessed alcoholic Mickey Mantle — put up similar or superior numbers to The Juicers when they were giving themselves an added degree of difficulty.
It’s like someone setting a high-jump record with rocks in their pockets. I’ll always love baseball and the Chicago Cubs. I’d like the men who wear those North Side pinstripes to be respectable. Maybe one day that’ll happen again, and we’ll be able to love baseball without suspicion.
I’ll look forward to that.
Meanwhile, I think the local high school starts baseball practice soon.