A major league problem
- Pamplin Media
- Central Oregonian - Features
all likelihood Barry Bonds will break Hank Aaron's elusive home run record.
He will survive from the steroids fiasco with a mere slap on the wrist and all mention that he one day 'accidentally' took the performance enhancing drug will soon be forgotten.
Fans love a record chase, and though an asterisk may be placed on his feat, we all know asterisks don't last.
They wanted to do the same to Mark McGwire when he first broke Roger Maris's single season home run record. One day someone got smart and took a look at an old McGwire baseball card. They saw a skinny kid on it and wondered how this now massive man was suddenly reaching his prime at the twilight of his career.
It turns out even the loveable McGwire was using a drug to boost his power. Mac claimed he was doing nothing wrong, that his substance of choice, androstenedione, was legal. He happened to be right - even though baseball has since banned the drug - and life went on.
The same will most likely happen with Bonds. The intelligent slugger, who closely watches all that goes into his body, will insist that his trainer, childhood friend Greg Anderson, unknowingly gave him a cream that was made of steroids. These added muscles and new improved swing at age 40, he will supposedly prove, have no correlation.
Bonds will hit his way into the record books, probably start talking to the media again, and retire a hero.
And for him, life too will go on.
The thing about steroids, and all other performance enhancing drugs for that matter, are that, in all actuality, they are great for the sport of baseball. Ratings right now are at all-time high. Fans love the long ball.
It should therefore come as no surprise that officials have been as slow as they have to finally crack down on this serious problem.
And so, the question begs, when will they?
Bonds and McGwire will be fine. They will retire multi-millionaires and record holders. Their places in Canton, Ohio, are all but assured.
But what about that Crook County senior wanting to take it to the next level? Baseball season is right around the corner, and though his game is good, he knows that with a little boost it could be great.
Why not pop some pills for a year? It will assure that college scholarship, and then he'll stop. All his heroes are doing it, and look where it got them.
What about that eighth grade softball prodigy. She's been the star of little league her entire childhood. High school varsity, however, is a different story. She wants to make it her freshman year and put her talent on display for four straight seasons.
With the increased attention this problem is now getting, Major League Baseball has an amazing opportunity to do something right.
But, more importantly, - because of little leaguers all over the world who dream of one day making it to the big leagues - they have a tremendous responsibility.