I’ve spent a lot of time imploring fans not to buy into the sports terrorism propaganda of the past three months, insisting that the game on the field is what really matters.
Even if you didn’t agree with me, could you really blame me?
Between Clemens versus McNamee, the Mitchell Report and Hank Steinbrenner spouting off gospel that makes him sound like a homeless man in the middle of an acid flashback in Central Park, I just couldn’t listen to any more.
I know it’s important to clean up baseball and I know drug use is rampant, but if it were up to me, we’d never hear another word about it.
It’s not up to me, though. It’s not up to the media and it’s not up to the fans.
It’s up to Major League Baseball to make us forget about the “scandal” in the game.
Not by ignoring it (they already tried that, remember?), but by putting out a product that is so good, so scintillating, so riveting, that we have no choice but to forget about the mind-numbing steroid-babble that infected the offseason.
Will the men out of the field take their game back? Can baseball finally be about baseball again?
It wasn’t long ago we all thought the NBA was facing its own version of Armageddon with the NBA betting Tim Donaghy scandal.
That was only eight months ago, and we haven’t heard the ex-referee’s name since the season started.
We haven’t heard his name because we’ve been too busy hearing LeBron James’, Dwight Howard’s, Tracy McGrady’s and Chris Paul’s. We’ve been too busy following the Celtics, Rockets and Lakers.
Over the course of the regular season, the NBA has given us impressive winning streaks, woeful losers, blockbuster trades, buzzer-beaters, 50-point performances and of course, LeBron and Kobe.
With all that going on, who wants to read or hear about a point-shaving referee?
The NBA made us look and the NBA blogs responded. It made us forget about Donaghy because we couldn’t resist all that sweet, savory, mouth-watering basketball right there in front of us.
Even the mighty NFL has it’s own share of problems this offseason with the likes of Pacman Jones and Mike Vick.
Before the season began, entire episodes of NFL Live were practically dedicated to Mike Vick.
By the time preseason rolled around, it seemed like the NFL football line was more about lawyers, suspensions and crime than it was about big hits, circus catches and Lombardi trophies.
Then Randy Moss started catching touchdowns, Adrian Peterson broke a few long runs, Donovan McNabb got hurt… again, and our focus shifted back to football.
As soon as that first ball was kicked off, the off-field headlines made their way back to their rightful place at bottom of the sports page.
Now it’s baseball’s turn.
The storylines are already in place.
The Red Sox and Yankees, Joe Girardi, the Mets and Phillies, A-Rod, Russell Martin Jr., Prince Fielder, and Ozzie Guillen’s promise to be more profane (Who will he offend next? Tune in to Major League Baseball in April to find out!).
I’m not saying the doping problems in baseball are gone, but they are being dealt with. Enough so that we can turn our focus back to baseball.
If baseball can execute the plays drawn up by the NBA and the NFL (Oh beloved NHL, when will you stop being so squeaky clean?), then the healing process in baseball has truly begun – hopefully without the help of HGH.