For many years, baseball, the nation’s summertime pastime, was sick. Players over indulged in performance enhancing drugs and fans encouraged them. The stain remains. The game just isn’t the same anymore.
Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation mourns for you.
It is not surprising that major league baseball players used illegal and legal performance enhancing drugs. It is surprising how pervasive the habit became in modern times, and how many long-standing, hard-earned records were broken– not by talent and hard work, but by modern medicine.
It’s not the medicine and diet and exercise that made Barry Bonds the greatest hitter of all time. It was performance enhancing drugs. It wasn’t a work regimen that made Roger ‘the Rocket‘ Clemens one of baseball’s best pitchers. It was drugs.
Drugs. The kind of drugs that enhance the body’s ability to do things in sports that no mortal man has ever done. At least, not since Hercules battled the visigoths.
Even more of a problem than star players taking drugs is the public reaction to star players taking drugs. Guess what? A few are outraged but too many sports fans expected their heroes to do anything possible to gain an edge in their respective sport, legal or otherwise.
Baseball, like any major sport, is man against man, talent against wile, experience against the ravages of aging. Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs on a diet of hot dogs and beer. Henry Aaron topped Ruth’s record the old fashioned way. Talent, hard work, longevity, sans the beef parts stuffed into a sausage casing and inebriating liquid refreshment.
The likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and other offenders of the modern baseball era deserve to go down in history, too. They brought shame to the game.
Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?