|PEDs Don’t Detract from Baseball Drama||| Print ||
Written by Laura K. Nist (Contact & Archive) on June 21, 2012
Breaking News: former Major League All-Star pitcher Roger Clemens was found not guilty of perjuring himself to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.
Did anyone know that this case was still going on? Did anyone even care? It has been quite a while since it all started so let me refresh your memory: this case stemmed from the Mitchell Report on drug use in baseball. A Grand Jury was convened and at a televised hearing in 2008 Clemens fervently denied any link to steroids.
Photo by Jenni Konrad, used under creative commons license.
And the witch hunt began. Well, actually it began a few years earlier when Barry Bonds was persecuted but don’t get me started on that.
Please don’t ask me for the details because honestly I haven’t been paying that much attention to this nonsense. I don’t understand why the government spent so much time and money on these cases. And what did they prove? Absolutely nothing. And even if they did somehow manage to prove that some of the top names in the MLB used performance enhancing drugs, what difference does it make in the big scheme of things?
Yes, I know that’s a very controversial statement because there are many people who feel that baseball has been tarnished, the records are all tainted and that these players all cheated. And maybe they are right, but who really cares? Did that make watching baseball any less enjoyable? Is that afternoon at the ballpark with your grandfather now tainted? Does that ice cold beer all of a sudden taste bitter in your mouth? Do you feel cheated?
For me, the answer is no. I am not one of those people. I love the game of baseball -- I have been watching for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I collected baseball cards and I could recite the entire starting line-up of the 1972 Oakland A’s. And I am still a fan. I, for one, enjoyed watching Roger Clemens mow down batters. I loved watching Barry Bonds hit home run after home run. I was there when he hit some of his milestones 600 and 700 and 73. And I will never forget how thrilling it was.
One of my best baseball memories was at Candlestick Park, Giants vs. Dodgers, September 18, 1997. The game went 12 innings. Rod Beck loaded the bases and the fans were all yelling at Dusty Baker to pull him. He got out of the inning miraculously and Brian Johnson hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th. One of the best games that I have ever seen. It was a beautiful fall day in San Francisco and the game was exciting. Best of all my team won! What if I found out that Brian Johnson used steroids? I am not saying that he did. I am trying to make the point that whether or not he used them does not change my experience. It was still a day I will never forget.
That’s what I am getting at. All of us have special baseball memories. While I realize that using performance enhancing drugs is illegal, let’s not forget that baseball did not even have a drug-policy in the Majors until a few years ago. But even if that was not the case, would it make a difference to the countless number of fans like me who watch baseball for the excitement and the memories? I do not feel like I have been cheated at all.
Now back to your regularly scheduled program.