Although Baseball has never been a stranger to controversy. From the 1919 Chicago Black Sox, to Pete Rose betting on baseball, to Sammy Sosa’s corked bat. And now the on going soap opera of Barry Bonds suspected steroid use, it is in no way hurting in the ratings and fan department.
Why is this?
I think I have the answer, but of course, it is just my opinion.
Remember the baseball of the 70’s and 80’s, the days of the tight uniforms and relief pitchers being driven to the mound in carts that looked like big baseballs.
It was the days when a slugger only needed to hit 28 home runs to lead the league in homers, and the triple crown didn’t seem like an impossibility.
The days before anyone had coined the term set up man for the pitcher that came in in the eighth inning, and the only thing intimidating about a relief pitcher was his mullet.
Lets face it, and no pun intended, baseball needed a shot in the arm.
I mean who wants to go to a game and watch batters hit singles all day. I sure don’t.
Thank God for Maguire, Bonds, Sosa, Ken Griffey jr, Palmero, etc. Regardless of what they were pumping into their bodies, they made baseball exciting again.
And why is all the focus of suspected steroid use on the sluggers only? What about the pitchers? They are bigger and bulkier than ever, and more and more can rush a fast ball up their at 100 plus mph. Why are they not under a microscope?
If guys like Barry Bonds are going to be criticized for using performance enhancing drugs, than perhaps they should ban pitchers from having Tommy John surgery because it is considered performance enhancing surgery.
As you may or may not know, after this surgery, a pitcher always comes back with better velocity on the ball.
Cheating and baseball go hand in hand. From doctoring up the baseball, to corked bats, to steroid use. If a player can find an angle to improve his game and believe that he can get away with it, he most definitely will. Lets just hope they don’t all end up like Ken Caminiti.