Steroids. Santana. The Bullpen. Melky. Pick one, and you’re bound to hit a topic that we — and countless other Yankee blogs — have hit upon with more regularity than any of us would like to admit. But we’re almost done with that. As the handy-dandy countdown on the right tells us, Spring Training starts in about four weeks, and it couldn’t come soon enough.
For now, as we slog through the last few weeks without baseball, we’ll spin that Wheel of Topics and land on steroids. As we all know, Congress got to be on TV today. Lucky them. Appearing in front of a few members of Congress were Senator George Mitchell, Commissioner Bud Selig and Executive Director of the MLBPA Donald Fehr. If you want to read the news coverage, The Times has article on the way Congress latched onto the stimulants issue, another article on the day’s events with a focus on the Congressional inquiry into Miguel Tejada and a George Vecsey Sports of the Times piece on the hearings.
For the purposes of this post, I don’t care about what happened at the hearings as much as what didn’t happen at the hearings. Missing from the hearings were much mention of the NFL, the NHL or the NBA. Missing from the hearings were talks of Michael Vick’s questionable moral decisions representing a league filled with many players who have faced legal troubles. Missing from the hearings were talks of steroid use in football, referee scandals in the NBA and general PED use across sports that aren’t baseball.
This double standard — baseball must hold itself to some unattainable, drug- and cheating-free standard that has never existed in the history of the game — just has to stop. As witnesses to Congress, Selig and Fehr were deferential toward Henry Waxman’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which somehow holds sway over baseball. But as the figureheads of baseball, it’s time for them to go something of an offensive. How can they sit there mostly passive while the NFL elects steroid users to the Pro Bowl and EA Sports awards them with video game covers?
Personally, I have stopped caring about steroids in baseball. Once upon a time, I cared about this scandal, but in the ensuing years since this scandal became more and more of a front-page issue, I grew less and less concerned. Does it matter what people did in the early 2000s? There is no Delorean. We can’t change the past.
Instead, Congress, baseball, whoever should focus on what the game can do to improve in the future. But beyond that, the powers that be, the grandstanding masses, should look beyond baseball. They should look at football and see what’s going on there. They should look at basketball and the Olympic athletes who will do just about anything to gain a competitive edge. It’s become an overplayed Internet meme, but leave baseball alone. Go fry some other fish for a change.
I can only laugh and wonder at the irony: Mark McGwire was right when he said he wasn’t there to talk about the past. Why talk about the past? It looks good for politicians and doesn’t solve the problem. Three years later, nothing accomplished.