On Monday, Aug. 5, any number of TV sports analysts, pundits and punks said it was a day that would live in baseball history. Sob. It may be true.
One guy bellowed that he “tweeted this just moments ago!!!” The “this” was about Alex Rodriguez and his, “I did it, but” impact on the world of baseball that includes doping.
It’s worse than doping race horses, because the victim in that nefarious business is the horse. In baseball, the victims are all the other players who do not use illegal substances to grow big muscles now, knowing that down the road those drugs can give new meaning to the term, “small ball.”
As a right-leaning, often libertarian-liking guy, I wince when I hear other Ayn Rand acolytes say that we should welcome doping by baseball players. Their point is that anyone who wants to improve his/her performance should be free to do so by any non-violent means.
No. They shouldn’t, because when they do, they further surrender to the demons of extreme pop culture, the thrill-at-any-cost lifestyle that already has made crass king, schlock sensational and dreck decent.
If baseball accepts cheating, it insults millions of little league players, coaches and parents who think the game has intrinsic value as a character builder.
Parents can yell at their kids for chasing butterflies in left field or skipping from third base to home, but when the game is over and the kids all go to Dairy Queen or whatever, the takeaway plus is the sport. And the sportsmanship.
A season of little league ups and downs is metaphoric, even if the kids are oblivious for now. But if they then go home to a barrage of gangsta videos, they will succumb, if the baseball ethic, the baseball feeling, has not inured them from the junk out there.
So, does what happens to A-Rod or any other rule-breaking role model matter as children grow up and into real life?
Why would a kid in summer camp do the extra 20 pushups if he knew that a quick, painless injection one day a year or so from now would give him or her the same punch or throw weight anyway?
Doping young men or woman can be life-changing. For them. And if that’s all there is, fine. But it’s not.
It also changes the perspective of a young athletic man or woman who knows he/she is able and eager and maybe good enough to make a career out of athletics. Let’s say the “kid” is from a barrio in Latin America. His future there may be limited, but if he can throw, run, hit and catch, he might get rich in LA or New York or Atlanta.
If he discovers those chemicals that made some big league ballplayers multi-millionaires, why not join the club? If his coaches and councilors, his parents and peers, never taught him that doping is cheating and medically disastrous down the road, why not take the pill, nod at the needle and sniff until his septum suffers?
We need better heroes. We need tougher parents. Maybe baseball can help.
If dopers dominate baseball, it becomes fake baseball populated by dopes with temporarily fake physiques.
Eventually the only way to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame will be to be an expert in bio-genetic engineering.