February 11, 2013

BLOG: PED use does not hurt purity of basbeall

James Bright, Managing Editor,
The Express-Star


Today I am going to cross into Aaron’s world and write a little ditty about a sport.It’s not about Thunder basketball, or Sooner football.

No, today’s blog is about the most exciting time of the year for me, athletically speaking. I am talking about the first week of Spring Training.

I love baseball. I mean that in no uncertain terms. I grew up playing the sport, I am a true blue Yankee fan – not a bandwagoner, feel free to come by the office and challenge me on Yankee trivia – and I romanticize virtually every aspect of the game.

I also recognize that baseball’s purity has been tarnished as of late. Over the past decade a dark cloud has created a monsoon of controversy when it comes to baseball. Performance enhancing drugs have permeated the sport at almost every level and recently, data from a clinic in Miami put players like Gio Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz in the hot seat. Obviously A-Rod was in this group too, but who really cares or is surprised by the circus that surrounds his life?

Last year, all-star center fielder Melky Cabrera was on his way to an MVP season with the San Francisco Giants when tests that showed he was juicing yielded him a 50-game suspension in the final months of the season.

The controversy surrounding PED use is unbelievable. Should players that have tested positive be excluded from the hall of fame? Should harsher punishments be implemented?

I realize this next statement will make most cringe, but my question is who cares? Baseball has gone through several different eras since its inception in the late 19th century. It was a pitcher’s game then a hitter’s then back to a pitcher’s, then a hitter’s again in the 90’s and recently, since the start of the PED witch hunt, it looks to be trending back toward favoring the pitcher.

But does all this really matter? Is the purity of the game lessened because of supplement use?

Fans love the long ball. We also love the hit-and-run and the seventh inning steal third base attempt. They’re all thrilling and we get to view all of these plays regardless of PED use. I can see how some would argue that this sullies the dignity of baseball, but I just don’t see it that way. There have always been advantages and ways of augmenting a player’s abilities. As long as fans didn’t have Bud Selig throwing it in their faces, most were happy to turn a blind eye and enjoy the sport.

We all knew PED use existed in the sport. Now that it has finally become a public issue, it seems like most fans, and sport writers alike, play the self-righteous card and act appalled.

I think it’s time we accept that the game is fine and whether Gio’s slider is modified by steroids, or Nelly’s  430 foot bomb came while he was juicing we aren’t going to stop cheering for these guys and attending games. And as long as that is the case our self righteous attitudes are without merit.