So for those of you who know me, you know that besides books (and ice cream. and good hair days. and cuddling with my pup.), my other true love is the Milwaukee Brewers. But even more than that, I am a baseball fanatic.
I can’t help it.
I was literally born into it.
In 1987, the Brewers had the longest winning streak that they had ever had. As my dad anxiously paced the Wausau Hospital hallways on April 18th, waiting for his soon-to-be daughter or son to be born, he couldn’t help but also be a little nervous about the current game that was being played in the waiting room, a game that would continue or end the ‘Crew’s’ 15 (15!) game winning streak.
At 4:13pm that day, yours truly was brought into this amazing world a mere hour after the Brewers had solidified their record-gaining winning streak.
Needless to say there were a lot of happy tears that day.
Growing up, I played tee ball. I played softball. I cheered on my dad, uncle, cousins, and friends who all played baseball. Some of my fondest memories were of long summer nights spent at the local ball park, the cold bleachers under my tush, a hotdog in my hand, and two teams battling it out for nine innings.
It wasn’t heaven; it was Sunnyvale Park.
And it was what I knew. What I loved.
I can still remember the time my dad took me to my very first Brewers game. I was five, wearing a baseball hat that swallowed my head and a glove that made Mickey Mouse’s hands look miniscule. As we walked into County Stadium, the sounds of the fans cheering and loud speaker booming, the smell of freshly cut grass and hot buttered popcorn, and a view of the most beautiful field that lay before me, so gigantic in my little eyes, completely overtook me, enveloping me in the magic that it presented.
I admit that when I consider the role baseball has played in America’s cultural history, I get a bit choked up. And when I think of the unmatched elegance and grace that define what was once referred to as “the national pastime,” I become emotional.
There is just something about it, something that I can’t quite explain. Yet anyone who loves baseball as much as I do knows what I am talking about.
Yesterday, as some of you may have seen and/or heard about, Alex Rodriguez, along with 12 other MLB players, were officially suspended for the remaining of the baseball season, all being found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). A. Rod was the only one given a suspension that continues over through the 2014 season, a hefty 211 game suspension which is the longest given to any MLB player, one that in my opinion, is not long enough. After far more than 3 strikes, these players finally were given the out.
One of those 12 other players was none other than Ryan Braun, a Brewer’s namesake and former MVP. I lost a great deal of respect for this man. Not only did he disgrace himself, his friends, family, teammates and fans, but he also tarnished the greatest game there is: baseball. I realize people make mistakes; no one is perfect. What saddens me is that he lied continuously and cheated his teammates and components, basking in the fame he had received when he knew all along he was obtaining it unfairly. He’s an unbelievable baseball player, but he needs to do some serious growing up.
They all do.
Thinking about all the great names that have been involved with the South Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis such as Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Sammy Sosa, Mark Mcgwire, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, it puts a significant dent in the sport itself. With the increasing popularity of steroids being distributed among baseball players in the Major and Minor Leagues, no one knows what to expect.
There is no doubt about it that the use of steroids in Major League Baseball have tainted the sport. Just think about all the questions that will remain unanswered specifically because of steroids.
Questions that come to my mind are: Would Barry Bonds still be the all-time homerun leader if he didn’t take steroids? Would the Giants have even gone to the World Series in 2002 if Barry Bonds didn’t take steroids? Would Alex Rodriguez have 583 career homeruns without the help of steroids or would Ryan Braun been rightfully deserving of the MVP in 2011?
With that being said, another argument can be brought up. Should steroid users be allowed in the Hall of Fame?
To me, the answer is a simple no. If someone is caught cheating, there is no way their names should be next to the greatest of all-time.
The world of baseball views steroids as cheating, therefore a player who cheats by using illegal substances wouldn’t fit properly in the Hall of Fame next to players like Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, etc., who had tremendous careers without any help from drugs. Maybe the question should be, “Do steroid users DESERVE to be in the Hall of Fame.”
Different fans might have different opinions on the issue, but in reality, steroids have changed the game of baseball.
My wish is that these recent events will change, or at least make a dent in the use of steroids in the MLB (and other professional sports).
Let’s get back to the great game that it was.
The game that I know. The game that I love.