I am a big baseball fan. I follow both the team of my birth, the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, and the team of my last residency, the 2001 World Series Champion Arizona Diamondbacks. In the off-season, there’s nothing to do but watch the trades and free-agent signings. Usually, that can be reasonably interesting, with at least a couple of big blockbuster trades and some juicy signings. Not a lot going on this year, though, unless a fan wishes to obsess over the performance-enhancing drug users (hereafter called PEDs in my posts) in the Mitchell Report…or the indictment of Barry Bonds…or the (probably unfounded) rumor that The Rocket (Roger Clemens) has used them…and so on. I have generally found it surprising when I’ve read that one or another pitcher has used PEDs – you would not think this would be of benefit to a pitcher, but I suppose that I’m thinking too narrowly and assuming that all PEDs are steroids. But they aren’t, I guess, there’s the HGHs and so much else that an athlete could use. So I suppose it’s possible that The Rocket has committed this grave error in judgement, too, along with lots of other players.
Lots of players, owners, and particularly sports writers love to blame the fans (and particularly female fans, who are reputed to only be interested in tight butts, tighter uniforms and home runs) for the whole PED picture. If we fans didn’t demand ever more amazing feats of athletic heroism from the players, they wouldn’t have to do this, right? Wrong. Just so wrong. If Babe Ruth could do it without steroids, so could Barry and the Giambi brothers and so many others. If generations of pitchers could work entire games on really short rest, hardly ever needing a reliever, then so can today’s arms.
Give me a classic game of small ball, the running game, and lots of great defense, and I am the happiest of fans.