I prepared this post Monday but did not get it published due to an oversight on my part-STEVE.
BY STEVE DUNN
I am a baseball fan–some would say, “fanatic.” I just unashamedly believe that it is magnificent sport that requires endurance, critical analysis, athleticism, spirit, patience, strategy, intelligent risk, fairness, continuous improvement — and character.
Boys and girls have played this game most of my lifetime. It has produced hallelujahs and heart-break. It has diehard, faithful fans. It has players and managers of great integrity. It has its share of bums (and I don’t mean the Dodgers) and scoundrels (like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb). It has heroic figures like Lou Gehrig and Roberto Clemente. It has men who will never be forgotten, like Brooks Robinson and people quickly slipping into anonymity–remember Mark Fidrych?
Baseball, like all modern sports is now a business, a highly profitable one. It is a business where a player is a success when he fails 67% of the time but winning the Series is the only prize that counts at the bottom line.
Like all modern sports, it has a drug problem. And in a culture where celebrity, especially sports celebrities have tremendous influence; solving its drug problem is in the best interest of everyone. Cleaning out that drug problem is the legacy that Commissioner Bud Selig wants to leave the sport that he and I and many Americans love deeply. Of all the modern American sports, it is the only one that has been as aggressive and as persistent in cleaning up its game. Baseball is to be commended.
12 players, including Johnny Peralta of my beloved Detroit Tigers have received the mandatory 50 game suspensions that goes with breaking those drug rules–whether naively (as Peralta claims) or callously (you fill in the bank), those 12 (who will lose millions of dollars) have chosen not protest the suspensions and step away from the game for the remainder of the season. They made decisions NOW that are in the best interests of the game. Hopefully, they will find baseball’s redemption at the end of all of this, Their punishment is part of baseball’s redemption.
Then there’s A-Rod who once again has narcistically chosen to pursue his own goals, thinking that again baseball must look past his self-indulgence, personal ambition, and pride. Major League Baseball did not ban him for life. If he really cares about baseball, taking 212 games off might have made most of us willing to give him another chance. As it is, baseball will agonize even further for trying to do the right thing for its game and our nation.
A-Rod, wake up and man up.
(C) 2013 by Stephen L Dunn