Out of Town

We moved 1000 miles away from our friends and family and just had a new baby....

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Barry Bonds

I recently read the new book about Barry Bonds and the Balco scandal called Game of Shadows : Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports. It is really a very convicing documentation of the steriods scandal that is currently rocking baseball. It goes into the drug use of several track and field athletes as well as a slew of other professional athletes. For those of you who don't pay much attention to baseball, there has been increasing steriod use over the past 10 or so years. Jose Canseco recently "wrote" a book about his own steroid use and how he introduced steriods to many Major League Baseball players. Just by looking at some of these players, it is clear they are doing something to become 250 masses of muscles. These days, some baseball players look more like football players.

Until the last couple years, baseball had no steroid policy. However, the culture of the game, was so stay long and lean. Weight lifting was shunned because it was thought that too many muscules would slow down your swing. That all changed when Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa broke Roger Maris's homerun record. Both those men are giant. They both look like they could be linebackers. And they proved that being big and strong can produce homeruns and homruns are what the fans want to see. So MLB ignored the charges of steroid use.

So why should anyone care about this? Well, first of all, it is cheating. And it isn't just cheating against other players and teams now. It is cheating the whole history of baseball. Unlike other sports (like track and field or swimming) where records are made and broken all the time, baseball records endure. Babe Ruth held the homerun record for upwards of 30 years, as did Roger Maris. Since 1998, the home run record has been broken 3 times.

It is my opinoin that any players being caught using illegal, performance-enhancing substances should be banned from baseball. I think that steroids are worse for baseball that anything Pete Rose ever did, and he was banned for life. I think all the records of those who use these types of drugs should at least have an asterisk, if not be totally expunged. I hope MLB cleans up this problems.

But a more personal reason to care is for the kids who love baseball. My son plays baseball with his father almost every day. They go to the park on Shabbos to play with the other neighborhood kids. At least in our city, baseball is widely loved and played by young boys. I hate to see them looking up to baseball players who are cheating. I do not expect athletes to be exceptional human beings. Trust me, I am aware that most professional baseball players should not be a role model for any child in their personal lives. However, they should be looked up to as athletes. They should be expected to follow the rules of the game and if they cheat, they need to be publicly punished.

I know I have been writing a lot about baseball. I was never really a fan until about 4 years ago, after I got married to my husband who is a big fan. Now my son loves baseball so much too, so I had to learn to like it. It is a great sport, and it is really fun to be able to go to a game and not break the bank. Basketball and football games are both too expensive Baseball still offers an opportunity to take a family out for the day, at the last minute, for a small expense. Try getting football tickets the day of a game. The reason for this, of course, is that there are hundreds of baseball games in the season, and only a dozen football games. It is logical, but it doesn't change the fact that I can't afford football.

I really hope Major League Baseball can clean up the sport and keep it something I am happy to let my son enjoy.

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