5. Baseball Fans Everywhere

To My Fellow Baseball Fans:

I know how some of you are feeling. McGwire. Sammy. Barry. Rocket. Now A-Rod. Next up, Ichiro or Matsui? Why not? This steroids scandal has to cover the entire racial spectrum of baseball.

Seriously though, hearing Alex Rodriguez tap dance around his confusing admission of using performance-enhancing drugs makes a part of me want to fly to the Dominican Republic, hail a car and head for the nearest sandlot where kids are playing with a stick for a bat, milk cartons for gloves and a mudrock for a ball. I did say a part of me.

It may be a little more costly than catching opening day at Kauffman Stadium, or even New Yankee for that matter, but I long for that irreplaceable joy that you and I know.

littleleague

The game is no longer pure at the highest level, which means it’s probably only true in the lower rungs: In sandlots and little league parks around the Americas and Japan. The only thing true about Major League Baseball right now is Jose Canseco, and that’s a scary notion. Think about it, you can’t trust the players because they could still be loading up on human growth hormone.

You can’t fully trust the baseball writers — at least the ones who started covering the sport between 1987 (when the Bash Brothers started mashing) and 2003 (when drug testing started) — because most sat by idle, and didn’t have the moral conscious, in that time frame, to write steroids out of the game during that period.

You can’t trust the owners. They only want your money, and you can’t trust anyone who only wants you for that alone — Jose Canseco, casino operators, hookers, strippers, bankers in general, the banker on Deal or No Deal especially, Bernard Madoff, gold diggers,  ex-wives in general, ex-wives of celebrities especially, Uncle Sam, etc.

The answer, for you the baseball fan,  is simple. I found it in the most obscure place: a Raphael Saadiq song from 2004. He sings, “How come most grown folk/they need more help than these children do?” Even if you don’t have kids who play, go watch little league baseball. If you drive by a park and see a game, stop and watch the joy those children exude while playing.

I won’t tell you to avoid Williamsport, Pa. in August — the Little League World Series is every bit the cash-driven exploitation of children as is depicted in Slumdog Millionaire — because it’s still about the kids. I will tell you to drop by Omaha, Neb. in June. A final score might be 21-19 during a College World Series game, but it’s the best baseball atmosphere in the world.

Now, I’m not pleading with you to refrain from taking your kid to the Major League ballgame. I’ll be at more than my share this season. My team, the Royals, should be decent (crossing fingers). I’m just saying that you should consider this option first.

It might keep a few more dollars in your pocket during these tough times and it could put the smile back on your face that A-Rod just snatched away. And you won’t be able to boo. You can’t boo kids.

Anyway, I’m about to go buy The Sandlot on DVD. I love it when Smalls tricks the lifeguard into a kiss. It gets me every time.

Sincerely yours,

Damon

P.S. I’d even go so far as to ask President Obama to skip out on the first MLB game of the season, and to instead throw out the first pitch at a high school game in Texas or California.

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11 responses to “5. Baseball Fans Everywhere

  1. I’m just hoping my 188 Jose Canseco cards increase in value so I can pay off some of my student loans.

  2. That’s damn funny. I think I have a few of those myself. Not 188.

    Weird thing about Canseco, I remember the day hit reached 40/40, it wasn’t long after Ben Johnson broke the world record in the 100 meters.

    I swear the broadcaster during that game mentioned Canseco’s name and steroids in the same sentence more than once.

  3. So, you didn’t tag me but I’ve always wondered this about steroids.

    I mean, does it REALLY matter? Sure it makes you stronger or whatever, but if you have no hand/eye coordination to hit that tiny baseball with a bat in the first place, it doesn’t matter whether or not you take steroids. Right?

    Just a question!

  4. thismayconcernyou

    Carmslayer, you know you have free reign to comment on anything I write. You bring the comedic fodder 24/7. To your question, hitting a baseball might just be the toughest thing in sports to do. Period. You’re right, you do have to have the coordination, ala John Witherspoon. But, the stronger and faster you are, the better you will be. The bad get ok, the ok get good, the good get great and the great get immoral. Yes, I purposely let the t out of immortal, because that’s what the greats of this era are, immoral.

    What they’ve done skews the way baseball historians and fans look at the prior eras.

  5. As a baseball fan and purist, I must respectfully disagree. the steroids era will have to be looked at with the same scrutiny as the dead ball era, the white-only era, and the amphetamine era. All have Ridiculous backgrounds and records obtained and for what its worth all were played on a level playing field w/ their peers.

    PS – you should let me guest write a column lol

  6. thismayconcernyou

    When you put it that way honeybunchesof, I have to agree with you. I didn’t quite think it through like that. Add that to my comment above. And just keep checking out the blog because it’s going to get really hilarious and honest in the coming weeks.

  7. thismayconcernyou

    Okay, Carmslayer, I have to respond to this and to you because I wondered the same thing when I was first finding out about the baseball/steroids issue. Someone close to me who played NFL ball told me that some of the banned substances are overall performance enhancers and enhance every aspect of athletic performance, including hand-eye coordination.

    So, anyway…just two things…

    1. MLB condoned steroid/performance enhancing drugs in order to put butts in seats, now they wanna act like they weren’t on board with it all along…wack. Doesn’t make it right for people to use steroids, but if MLB was complicit all along, it would necessitate use of the substances to keep your job/remain competitive. It’s a message to employees that hey, you shouldn’t use these substances, but if you don’t, you may not make the cut. Kinda like Office Space and “pieces of flair”…you wanna express yourself don’t you???

    2. Obama commented on A. Rod and the MLB during his press conference the other night and then went on to punk all of the reporters that asked pointed questions AND punk all of the opponents of the Stimulus Bill. I knew I liked that guy.

  8. Dude on XM threw out Cal Ripken, Jr. as a name now worthy of doubt.

    However some might justify the game that we grew up on, today’s game has yet again been dragged into the mud by the actions of an unfortunately large set of MLB’s players. Everyone is suspect.

    Maybe, intentions were pure. Home runs win games. They also sell tickets, and that means more fans for baseball. The commissioner’s office clearly turned its head and benefited from the Steroid Era for as long as possible, and even the players who got caught became mighty wealthy on it.

    “If ya ain’t cheatin’, ya ain’t tryin’,” I think was the saying for so long.

    I just hope we don’t have to dwell on the ugliness much longer. It makes loving the good parts of the game — and there are many — that much harder.

    The Sandlot will have to get us through.

  9. I’ll never believe anything again if Ichiro was on the PEDs.

  10. thismayconcernyou

    Dude, anything is possible. Especially if Mike Sweeney, God’s Favorite baseball player, was rumored to be on them. Don’t you remember when Sweeney lashed out at Jeff Weaver, and through that helmet at him? Roid Rage.

  11. Mike Sweeney didn’t have time to take PEDs. He was busy praying for forgiveness for those who took them.

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