I need to put the following words in writing, if for no other reason than to preserve the fact that they came out of my mouth.
I no longer care about steroids in baseball!
I have a hard time believing I said it myself, as over the years I have had a multitude of things to say on the subject. I took a stance against players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds that ran through the record books thanks to juicing. I’ve said my peace on excluding suspected steroid users from the Hall of Fame based on speculation alone. I’ve even cast an opinion on the use of the asterisk to denote those records that fell due to chemical cheating.
Frankly speaking though, I’m just tired of speaking on the subject.
Maybe that’s what most of America is feeling now that Barry Bonds is finally going on trial to face perjury charges in connection with the BALCO investigation. Perhaps we all just have a sense of the fact that this trial is happening two years too late for most sports fans to still be passionate about their hate for Bonds or any other person associated with the biggest scandal to rock professional baseball.
But I don’t think so.
I think the larger populace, myself included, has just come to a decision point in their fandom. Either we allow the seeds of doubt to grow and constantly cloud the past and present of the game we love until we can no longer stomach it, or we decide that our love of the game and the memories that forged that love, no matter how false some of them may be, are more important to us than how they were created. To me, the choice of trying to remember the past for how it made me feel about the game is more important than walking away from it because the players couldn’t police themselves.
Baseball has always been one of those things in life that is constant when everything around you is in flux. It has been about a yearlong commitment to the break on the curve ball, the smell of the grass at the park, the pop of the mitt, and the crack of the bat. It’s been about coming home from work and unwinding to a ballgame at any hour of the night. It’s been about watching Cal Ripken Jr. and Don Mattingly cycle through 15 different batting stances throughout their careers. It’s been about explaining to my kids the difference between a “Seeing Eye Single” and a “Texas Leaguer.”
Basically put, I’m happy enough to drink the Kool-aid from the glass half full. If it means that my childhood memories are safe or walk-away from the longest love affair of my life, then I’m willing to put it behind me. If it means that I don’t have to give up the feeling I had when Boston won their first World Series in 86 years or any of the other bright moments of the game during the last 30 years, then I think I can live with the mistakes of the past.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, and all.