Today was supposed to be a day filled with excitement and optimism. It was a day when baseball fans were supposed to start looking at their favorite teams and begin to break down all of the new names and faces. Today, after all, is the first day that pitchers and catchers were allowed to report to spring training. Unfortunately, instead of doing those things I mentioned, the baseball world has focused its attention to Capital Hill and the circus that surrounded yesterdays Roger Clemens hearing. Welcome to the Sports World in 2008.
It’s been nearly 3 years since that first congressional hearing that will go down in history as one of the most memorable days in baseball history. The point of that hearing was to clean up the steroid situation in baseball and find ways to make sure it wouldn’t happen again. Well, 3 years later can we say either of those has happened? In my opinion things have only gotten worse. When all of this steroid talk initially started, I was like many of the fans around country. I wanted names, and I wanted them now. I wanted to know whether some of the amazing feats I had witnessed were accomplished legitimately, or if I was witnessing someone who cheated to get to the top of the mountain.
As time has passed though, I wish we wouldn’t have been so curious or in such a rush to judge these players. I don’t want to come across as defending any of the players who cheated, or even as someone who doesn’t care. I will always want to know who cheated in the so called “steroid era.” The problem is, I don’t think we’ll ever find out. The only conclusions we have been able to come up with so far have been that Rafial Palmiero failed a drug test, McGwire and Bonds most likely used steroids but we have no proof, and a whole lot of others players might or might not have taken them depending on if you believe a club attendant or not. Plus, there still isn’t a great testing program in place. If I could have a do over, instead of wanting to know names I would rather have congress step in and make the drug testing policy the strictest in the world. I would want them to test for every know drug out there so that we could comfortably put the past behind us and start over knowing these guys would be clean. Instead, we wound up with a witch hunt in which a lot of people have been named, but we still don’t know for sure who to believe.
As we head toward the beginning of new season, I guess all I’m asking for is for baseball and congress just to wipe the slate clean. Mark McGwire might have been on to something 3 years ago, let’s not focus on the past, let’s focus on the future of this beautiful game.
By Matt Fisherman
Author of www.tampasportskid.com