The war on [Sports] terrorism

A few years ago when Gary Sheffield called Major League Baseball’s ongoing steroid investigation a “Witch hunt”, I assumed he was just being the self-pitying, antagonistic Gary Sheffield that everyone has come to know and despise.After Monday’s congressional hearing on the issue of performance enhancing drugs in baseball, I tend to agree with Sheff.It’s become apparent that Commissioner Bud Selig’s spirited efforts to make baseball drug-free are nothing more than a series of blame games.

Roger Clemens on 60 minutes, The baseball hall of fame snubbing Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds facing federal perjury charges and now the investigation into Miguel Tejada’s conversations with federal prosecutors leads me to believe that nothing has been done at all to clean up baseball.

The media, the hall of fame, MLB and even the government are simply looking for scape goats, not solutions.

Will catching Tejada – a former AL MVP – in a lie four years ago discourage a high school baseball player from using a banned substance before the start of the season?

Will the baseball hall of fame’s inflated ego and sense of self-righteousness stop a pitcher from injecting himself with HGH when he’s rehabbing from Tommy John surgery?

Will an outspoken columnist at a local newspaper who burns Roger Clemens in effigy prevent a minor leaguer from taking something to put a little more crank in his swing, so he can make it to the show?

No.

The only way to clean up the game is through the education of young players and the testing of current ones. While I certainly don’t have a clue as to how Major League Baseball, or any other sport for that matter, can make such an ideal a reality, I do know that making villains out of players will get baseball nowhere.

Was I the only one stunned by the utter irrelevance of the Mitchell report? Was that all the former senator had for us after nearly two years of investigating? Does anyone really care that Lenny Dykstra or Mo Vaughan used steroids or HGH or B-12 or hydro-andro-anobolic-hormone-tri-glucocimine-ichiro-hormone-sulfide?

Why is everyone involved in this process afraid to look to the future? Isn’t the point of spending all this time and money to improve the game in the future?

I sure hope it is, because no matter how hard they try (and they’re trying mighty hard), they can’t go back in time and stop it from happening.

One sports fan told me the Mitchell report would discourage the use of performance-enhancing drugs (that term is beginning to sound an awful lot like “Weapons of mass destruction”) because of the embarrassment caused for the players named.

It’s almost sad how much credit we give ourselves as fans and media. We’re at the point where we think athletes care more about our perception of them than they do their own lives.

A little embarrassment to someone who hasn’t stepped on a baseball diamond in five years is not going to stop an active player from doping. If we as fans and media think it will, we need to come down from our pedestal, because it is way to high up.

I’m not saying that former senator Mitchell didn’t have good intentions, but his investigation has just turned into another tool for sports terrorists to use.

Some good has come from this huge mess we call the steroids era. Efforts are now being made to educate kids and amateur athletes about the effects of doping. And there is finally testing in Major League Baseball. While the testing program isn’t perfect, at least it’s there.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, we always want someone to be the bad guy. Sports terrorists want a commissioner to fire, a player to prosecute and a number to put an asterisk beside.

In today’s society, we love to look outside ourselves to say what’s wrong with the world, never looking in the mirror. We like to document the flaws and foibles of other people so we can feel good about ourselves. Sports fans are no different.

Neither is Major League Baseball. Until MLB gets it’s priorities in order, the steroid era will loom on.

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