Thursday, August 13, 2009

Steroids in Baseball

I am the self-proclaimed biggest baseball fan in the world, but that's a lie. That title goes to my brother Max, who has a ritual for listening to Reds games on the radio that includes ingesting large quantities of oatmeal while sitting on a stool by the kitchen counter and sharing his unequivocal baseball knowledge with anyone in within earshot. That said, I'm still a pretty big baseball fan. Rookies.

1994 was a dark day for baseball due to the failing labor negotiations between the owners and the players union. The owners wanted a salary cap to protect their revenues from being eaten alive by steadily rising salaries brought about by the advent of free agency for players in 1975. Before that time, teams held players for as long as they wanted and paid them whatever they felt was "fair" at the time. Once free agency hit, salaries escalated due to the free market system - larger market teams could pay more for better players, and the small-market teams were frightened about the possibility of the inability to field a competitive team, decreasing their ticket and concession sales, leading to a decrease in their revenues and profits.

Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the strike in baseball, and coincidentally, Bronson Arroyo is on the front page of USA Today for his candor and honesty regarding the use of performance enhancing supplements, some of which are not approved by Major League Baseball. Given the drama over the past few years regarding high-profile stars testing positive for steroids and hormonal supplements, and their refusal to offer sincere apologies for their actions, I think it's time for MLB & the mass media to wake up and realize that they're to blame for the current state of the steroid "scandal" that engulfs any discussion regarding baseball.

All of this leads to the owners of the teams looking the other way at their players taking illegal substances in order to pad their own bank accounts, the players looking for their fair piece of the pie, and the media glorifying otherwise normal people for their ability to play a game. We're all suckers for playing their game. You can call me a sucker, but tonight you'll find me listening to the Reds game in my kitchen, bowl of oatmeal in hand - for the love of the game itself.

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