Friday, December 03, 2004

Coming Clean

It’s soon to be official that Barry Bonds used steroids and/or other performance enhancing substances. His records will be forever tainted. MLB will downplay his approach to 714 and 755. Hell, Barry may not even get the chance to go for 714 if his involvement in the scandal blossoms. The BALCO trial should start sometime in March. This could pull players away from the game to testify in court. And should it turn out that any of the players were steering other players to BALCO, a good attorney might be able to get said “steerer” charged with aiding and abetting.

But the real bottom line is, "Who cares?" Not me. Sure, juicing messes with the record books, and a huge part of baseball’s charm is the tie in with its statistical history. But juicing does not make the game on the field any more or less real. Inflated players don’t change the believability of the outcome. This is not Pete Rose impugning the integrity of the game itself; this merely impugns the records of the last 10 years.

Allow steroids or ban them, I don’t care. But let’s be very clear. This is not a scandal like Twenty-One was for NBC, or Pete Rose’s gambling was, or Ben Johnson’s 9.79 in the 100 meters was. All those get at the integrity of the result. With steroids and baseball, no one is trying to fix the outcome of games and create a scripted show. No one was trying to chemically enhance human performance for a venue in which we try to see what the limits of human physical accomplishments are (what the Olympics are about).

In baseball, a chemical creation may have hit 703 home runs, but he did it in a game that had an uncertain, unpredictable outcome.

And that’s what we fans are paying to see.

20/20 tonight should be must watch to see who gets outed. Curious. I wonder if any of the names will be people who played for the Rangers when Geroge W. Bush owned them. That might explain why he inexplicably chose the State of the Union to highlight steroid abuse.

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