Category Archives: baseball

Alright MLB, show us what you got

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.

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Will the real baseball fans please stand up?

Am I the only one who doesn’t care about the Roger Clemens hearing?

Okay, dumb question.

I’m most definitely the only one.

Roger Clemens was the top story on Around the Horn, PTI and Sportscenter on Tuesday. It is currently the main story on ESPN.com and USAToday.com. Not USAToday.com’s sports page, but the top story on USAToday.com. Now Sportscenter is running a “Roger Clemens congressional hearing special” at 9:30 Wednesday morning.

Allow me to ask another dumb question: Why?

I don’t care anymore. I don’t give a flying Saltalamacchia, and neither should anyone. Why do we keep allowing sports terrorism to take the focus off of what we really care about: The game?

I can’t tell you how many people in the past week have asked me if I believe Brian McNamee or Clemens.

Who do I believe? I’m not pathetic enough to even form an opinion on the matter.

I don’t care about the old gauze pads, I don’t care what Jose Canseco says, I don’t care why Andy Pettite won’t be there and I really don’t care what John Rocker says.

Instead, I care about my favorite team trading it’s best pitcher last week. I care about Torri Hunter making the Angels very dangerous. I care about spring training.

Apparently, I’m in the minority here, but I still prefer the game of baseball over a bunch of old, rich, cranky bureaucrats and lawyers sitting around arguing about who has the bigger Louisville Slugger.

Don’t try to tell me this is about cleaning up baseball, either. It’s not. This is about Clemens wanting to clear his name, which is fine, but it doesn’t need to be shoved down our throats.

Chad Johnson wants a trade, the best team in the NHL has lost four in a row, the NBA’s Western Conference is loaded with contenders and Stan Van Gundy just threw his best player under the bus.

With all that going on, what do I care about some washed-up pitcher fielding questions from a group of congressmen who, quite frankly, have much more important things to do with their time?

Granted, this is a little different than the other doping proceedings of the past year because Clemens is facilitating all of this himself. He wants people to believe him and he has every right to do what he deems necessary.

In the end, though, it’s still irrelevant.

Let’s suppose for a moment that McNamee takes the stand and admits he lied about everything he ever said about Clemens and everything he told George Mitchell.

Then what? What are the consequences? Will players stop using drugs next season? Will fans be more assured that their favorite players are clean? Will the “steroids era” come to an end? No.

No matter what transpires tomorrow in Washington D.C., nothing will change.

If congress truly wants to clean up professional sports, it would be looking inside the game to do so.

Unfortunately, congress has no desire to clean up sports. It wants to embarrass people and point fingers.

Me, I’m going to remain a sports fan. I’m not watching as much as one frame of Sportscenter Wednesday morning, and shame on anyone who does, because that’s exactly what sports terrorists want.

Combine the Clemens hearing with Roger Goodell’s meeting with Arlen Specter, and tomorrow is practically Mardi Gras for sports terrorists.

I just have one question: Does anyone know where I can get some sports news?

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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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