Shattering Records, Shattering Dreams

Posted: February 20, 2009 by Michael Leess in VAULT -- archives
Tags: , , , , , , ,
The latest casualty of baseballs steroid era.

The latest casualty of baseball's steroid era.

A little over a week ago, Alex Rodriguez admitted to having used performance-enhancing substances – a big no-no in the sports world, for those who don’t know.  Rodriguez, who has been a New York Yankee for the past five seasons, was pegged as the next “legitimate” home run king after Hank Aaron. Meanwhile, the current career home run leader, Barry “I Didn’t Do Nothing” Bonds (whose skull grew about an inch in circumference while he played with the Giants), is about to stand trial against perjury charges stemming from his initial tête-à-tête with a Federal Grand Jury.  But, as I imagine is the case when one mixes ice skating with uncoordinated offensive linemen – the bigger they are, the harder they fall.  Not that I care too much about the fall guy, in this case.

I’ve been a Yankees fan since I was four, watching Yankee lifers like Don Mattingly and Bernie Williams in my grandparents’ living room with my grandpa.  So I can’t help but feel at least a little sympathy for Rodriguez – despite the fact that he’s overpaid and chokes when it counts (yes, Red Sox fans, we think so, too).  Regardless, Sports Illustrated’s little “revelation” is further proof that the baseball establishment has taken a headfirst slide into the upturned cleats of corruption and greed.  If the man dubbed the next “true” hero of the game admits to wrongdoing in the name of inflated statistics, who can we trust?

When I was a kid, everything was different.  As a fresh-faced rookie of the powerhouse tee-ball leagues of greater Rochester, I looked up to the then-unsmeared Major League players with stars in my eyes, telling everybody who asked that I was going to be a ballplayer when I grew up.  Unfortunately, pro scouts never did come calling for me (I suppose a 70-MPH fastball isn’t worth much in the Majors), but as the careers of once-greats like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro became marred by the unforgiving claws of steroid allegations, so too did my belief that the Major League Baseball was a distant, happy dream.  That dream has been mutilated into an all-too-real nightmare.

I pity the tee-ball players of today, the generation growing up surrounded by false idols, Mitchell Reports, grand jury appearances and perjury charges. It pains me to think that somewhere, a little leaguer is prematurely hanging up his spikes because he feels alienated by his hero.  Obviously, A-Rod (along with the other 103 players mentioned in the list of positive-testing players, and every other baseball player who’s ever “juiced”) had other things on his mind.

~ Michael Leess

  1. KrystieY says:

    I’m also greatly disappointed. I’m a life-long yankee fan, my middle name coming from Thurman LEE Munson in fact…and it’s really unfortunate that we live in an age where it is so difficult to find great baseball role models.

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