Clarification is Needed

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Thursday March 30, 2006.

If you are reading this and not from the Reno area, it might very well be completely confusing. I’ll try to keep it relevant, but I am responding to the local morning sports radio hosts so-called discussion on Barry Bonds and the steroid investigation that baseball announced this week. He had several facts wrong. One of which was a very egregious mistake, and he spent several minutes railing about it. I want to clarify so that people who are interested don’t run around with bad facts and base their opinions on what’s happening on those bad facts.

So here it is. Congress is NOT investigating steroids at this time. Baseball has hired a FORMER congressman (Senator George Mitchell) to head the investigation. Don Marchand this morning not only repeatedly implied that by hiring Mitchell baseball was asking Congress for help, he said it several times. He said Congress has better things to do. I agree, which is why I have no problem with Congress not being involved in this case.

Marchand also villified baseball for choosing to investigate now, so soon after the release of Game of Shadows. He believes baseball is bending to public pressure and is scared of the book. I have to ask what is wrong with that. Baseball is dependent on the public for its money. Baseball needs to react to the public’s desires to find out if the game has been compromised. There is also the angle that corporate, national sponsors are pulling back from celebrating Bonds breaking records. Money talks.

To serve as one small example, I personally will be very wary of spending my cash on baseball this year because I’m not sure I can trust the game to be setting an example for society to follow. I do not like the idea of athletes using illegal drugs to enhance performance, and I will be putting my money where my mouth is. I am not purchasing the mlb.tv package, and have no plans to attend a game this year. I made those decisions because I have been reading books on steroids in baseball, namely Juicing the Game and Jose Canseco’s Juiced. say what you will about the books, but they have changed me.

Something about the discussion this morning really blew me away. Marchand and his cohort, Todd B. agreed (imagine that) that baseball had sufficiently cleaned up its act. What? Yes, they have cleaned their act up by stiffening penalties for players caught using steroids and since a few guys were caught in tests and some others admitted using the game is now fine. That, to put it lightly, is maybe the most ill-informed or just plain stupid opinion I have ever heard. Are they paying attention? Do they know the rules surrounding baseball’s testing? The way it stands now, a player can shoot up like hell throughout the offseason (no testing), get much bigger and faster and stronger, stop steroids when play begins, go on HGH (truly a wonder drug), the purpose of which is to retain strength and stamina without heavy lifting (oh, and it’s not part of the testing baseball does) and continue to put up numbers throughout September, historically the toughest time of year for a baseball player. Either Marchand and his partner are incredibly naive and/or stupid, or they are driven by some sort of agenda (like some fear that the Giants will pull their affiliation, maybe?) that clouds their better judgement. Whatever it is, it’s dishonest and dumb.

Next, we have the records. Marchand went off about baseball eliminating records from the books. As far as I can see, there is no plan to do so. The way it appears to me, the record books will stay intact. Baseball simply appears, and this is where the cynic in me has to leave the building, to want to get the truth out there. I’m shocked, and I keep looking for the real reason. But what it seems is that public outcry has begun to make them nervous, and corporate sponsorships leaving mean something. Man, wouldn’t it be great if such an arrogant organization could be brought to its knees by the public? I can hope.

So what is my purpose here? Let me tell you what I want. I want baseball to investigate. I want them to tell us the truth about how many guys are using. I don’t trust baseball to do that, but they may surprise us, especially when corporate America tells them they have to. I don’t care about the record books. I care about everyone knowing that the records came in an era when most, many, or whatever describer you care to use, baseball players got better by taking illegal drugs. Of course, it’s entirely possible baseball can rewrite the books. It’s their game, their organization, and they can do what they want. But it’s doubtful they will. I also like the idea of the arrogant asses that are today’s baseball superstars being called onto the carpet for their deception. Deception? Yeah, deception. If they have nothing to fear, tell us. Otherwise, deceive us. Call me jealous, call me whatever. I really don’t care, and you might actually be right. But I have invested a lot of my time in baseball. I’ve attended games, I’ve bought gear, I’ve yelled at my TV, I’ve got kids who know players’ names. I’m a baseball fan, and I just want the game to be real.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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