From here on out, I never want to hear another person bring up steroids and baseball ever again. I don’t want to hear how Barry Bonds’ all-time homerun record deserves an asterisk next to it. I don’t want to hear how Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa scammed the MLB fan base by cheating during the 1998 homerun race, when they hit 70 and 66 respectively. I don’t want to hear how Alex Rodriguez, if he breaks Bonds’ record, is one criminal passing another. I don’t want to hear anything about secret lists, public lists, magic lists, whatever kind of list you want to call it, and whoever might have their name on them. I don’t want to hear about records being tainted or re-writing baseball history to separate good from evil during the “Steroid Era” of Major League Baseball. As far as I’m concerned, it’s over—the witch hunt, that is, which has been going on for years now. Commissioner Bud Selig’s personal little crusade to rid the holy league of performance enhancing drugs. Though everyone knew full well it was running rampant in locker-rooms, no one decided to do anything about it, so it seems, until Barry Bonds was smashing records.
Yes, it’s over. The whole war. It came to a crashing halt the second that the MLB decided to let Milwaukee Brewers’ slugger Ryan Braun off the hook because of a technicality. Apparently, somewhere along the line, a chain of command was broken in regards to who was holding on to the urine jar. The league speculated that perhaps the sample was tainted, because whoever that was holding onto it that should not have been, might have done something to change the results. How convenient. Maybe Bonds’ test results from Balco were tainted. Maybe the samples of every guilty player to ever piss into a cup for the sake of baseball’s integrity were tainted. The fact is, the MLB had a chance to, for the first time ever, drop the hammer on a still-playing superstar caught in the act, and instead, they dropped the ball. They spit the bit. They embarrassed themselves. How on earth could the heart and soul of the Brewers, who the team could not succeed without, stay on the sidelines for fifty games? How could the reigning MVP suffer such a fate?
Instead, we have Ryan Braun becoming the O.J Simpson of baseball. He’s guilty, oh, for sure, he is guilty, and everyone knows it, but somehow, he is walking around free, though convicted in the court of public opinion. What does he learn from this mockery? Absolutely nothing. Maybe he will even continue to use steroids. After all, someone may break that chain of command again!
Truth be told, if this was a career journeyman, who spent the last ten years bouncing back and forth between the majors and AAA, this sample is not tainted and the technicality is over-looked. But no, here we have one of the best players in the league getting caught red-handed. What is the point of even testing these players, then? I see none now, especially since every single player from now until the end of this Mickey Mouse league’s existence can claim that somewhere along the line, they too suffered from a breakdown in the chain of command, and their sample is tainted. This is what the MLB created two days ago. Their witch-hunt, their public crusade, their McCarthian way of tracking down all those who injected themselves has reversed itself, and now it is they who are under attack. So, who is really tainted here? The players, or the league? Or is it possible to be both? All I know is, the only thing that deserves an asterisk next to its name is the big red, white, and blue logo reading, “M.L.B”.