Back in 2004, I wrote about the steroid revelations that were swarming around Major League Baseball. Here we are, in 2006, and MLB is now [finally] ready to begin a special investigation about player steroid use. This, my friends, is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. The investigation has been spawned by some new books which claim that Barry Bonds used illegally used steroids to improve his ability to play the game. The books cite evidence from grand jury testimony against the San Francisco-based BALCO company that allegedly supplied many athletes with banned athletic-enhancing substances. These new books have been getting a lot of press lately, apparently too much for MLB commissioner Bud Selig too ignore.
But this begs the question, Bud: you ignored the steroid issue for years. Why start caring now?
It's because, as I wrote in that earlier post, that the integrity of the game is taking a hit. Bud Selig needs to at least pretend that he's doing all he can to bring these allegations to light. But the problem is that baseball owners, management, and league officials allowed steroid use to run rampant in the game for years but turned a blind eye to it. Everyone knew it was going on, but people knew that steroids made the game more profitable.
I was one of those people who, after the 1994 baseball strike, wanted nothing to do with the game. But the Mark McGwire verses Sammy Sosa home run chase in 1998 brought me back, as it did many fans. Most likely, both these guys were shooting up, but it put butts in the seats. It was an acceptable trade off for baseball officials who sold their souls to the devil.
And now, after whoring themselves out, they want their souls back.
I remember back in high school when I read the Sports Illustrated that covered Oakland Raider Lyle Alzado admitting his steroid use. It was a sad story. Alzado was dead in a year's time. The NFL responded quickly, revising a steroid testing policy implemented a few years earlier.
Major League Baseball had plenty of time to react but did not enact testing until last year.
This new investigation is an excuse for MLB to make the players the scapegoats. And, not to defend the guy, but Barry Bonds is going to experience the worst of it when people just as guilty [Mark McGwire, who could possibly be elected to the Hall of Fame this year] will get by without any penalties. Baseball doesn't want to know the Pandora's Box they're getting ready to open. To put a twist on the famous Colonel Jessup quote, "They can't handle the truth."
If there's really a need for an investigation, I hope there's an honest evaluation of the neglect that baseball officials have shown with the steroid issue.
Maybe it's time for Bud Selig to resign.