Noob of the Week (5/23)
Noobs of the Week:
Apparently, we are surrounded by idiots. Yesterday, ESPN's Sports Nation asked its readers who they would consider the true home run champion if Albert Pujols hit 62 homers this season. The choices were Pujols, Roger Maris, Mark McGwire, and Barry Bonds. While one could argue for the inclusion of Babe Ruth as an option since he played shorter seasons, the answer is clearly Barry Lamar Bonds. 73 is the home run record, no matter how much steroids get your panties in a bunch. There is a very, very high likelihood that Bonds did use steroids during the 2001 season, but until the allegations are proven his record stands. The same is true for McGwire's numbers. However, almost half of the Sports Nation voted for the Great Pujols. Shocking.
It is amazing to us how the steroids scandal has become such an important issue to so many people. We fans barely think twice about the dozens of athletes who beat their girlfriends and get DUIs every year, but we just can not get over the cream or the clear. My own father gets upset at me when I tell him that I'm sick of hearing about what Bonds allegedly put in his body. The scandal has inspired lawyers, authors, and politicians to raise their voices against steroids in baseball as they attempt to benefit from the public outcry.
The reason for this outcry, at least we hope, is that steroid use affects on-field play and therefore it could potentially affect the integrity of the game. Nevermind that pitchers have been doctoring the ball since the game began, or that more pitchers have tested positive for steroids than hitters, or that homers are up in this "steroid-free" season (it's amazing how many pitchers seem to have lost 3-4 mph in velocity the last couple years). There are admitted spitballers in the Hall of Fame (Don Sutton, Don Drysdale, Jim Bunning, and Gaylord Perry) and in our Congress (Bunning, an outspoken critic of steroids in baseball).
Logically, if the stats of Bonds and McGwire are to be ignored or if they are to be kept out of the Hall of Fame, its only fair that the same happens to pitchers who cheat. Spitballs and stolen signs are performance enhancers too. If you don't take away Norm Cash's 1961 stats for admittedly using a corked bat, how can you remove Barry Bonds from the record book when he's never been proven to have done anything wrong? How about some consistency?
Now, we don't like Barry Bonds and we are not giving him a free pass. Bonds might die in 10 years from abusing his body, but we are just sick of people, on TV and in our daily lives, getting all hot and bothered about record books and asterisks. Why are so many fans personally offended by someone breaking a record? Is it any surprise that a 40 year old allegedly tried to get a competitive edge in a league where more than half of the players allegedly were doing the same exact thing? Did the country not unite and follow the Home Run Race of 2000, starring Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and brought to you by Balco? There is not an excuse for performance enhancing drug use, but didn't we all enjoy its fruits? Do we hate Barry because we're feeling a bit guilty as well? (I can't wait to hear the comments on this one.) All of this just makes it seem like things have gotten away from us, we've lost perspective. As we beat this issue into the ground, it has become a bit of a witch hunt. Honestly, the witch hunt doesn't bother us as much as the constant discussion.
Anyway, the only type of "scandal" that baseball takes seriously is gambling and/or throwing games, just ask Pete Rose. So let's agree to stop talking about steroids until the case is closed. It's hard to imagine that the stats of anyone from the steroid era will be officially struck from the record books, and that's really all anyone cares about: not about people or due process, but record books. Hopefully, this is the last you will hear about steroids from Noob Sports for a very long time, noobs.