Lebanon Reporter

Local Sports

August 13, 2013

Baseball is broken

Baseball is broken. In fact baseball is beyond broken, it’s flat-lining. Lying on the table, a team of despondent doctors surround baseball, heads shaking at the impotent shell of a once proud national pastime, hobbled by scandal and decaying from extensive overuse of chemical enhancers. Things have gotten so bad that somewhere Babe Ruth has turned over in his grave, not before ordering a double and lighting a cigar of course. All apologies to apple pie, but baseball has gone so rogue America should file a restraining order as soon as possible to prevent the words “baseball” and “America” from ever appearing in the same phrase again. The American public is so over Baseball they’re feverishly awaiting the start of football, this despite a colorful offseason for the NFL which saw countless arrests and other off field issues. Maybe Charles Barkley was right when he said athletes are not “role models." So what does baseball do to fix itself besides get tougher on PED’s and pray for a steroid scandal to hit professional football? Bringing Sosa and McGwire back seems illogical at this point. And this is way beyond increasing the quality of ball game give-aways and tackling concession stand prices. The Cubs could put a replay board the size of Mt. Rushmore in right field and it still wouldn’t heal the scar steroids has left on baseball. This is an issue that, like Babe Ruth and October, threatens to become part of the fabric of the game. PSA’s and rookie orientation programs won’t scare this elephant from the room either. It appears far too large, too entrenched. You can forget about trotting Pete Rose out too. Nobody can argue his story is tragic and should serve to prevent players from making poor choices, but for players struggling just to break through the stakes are way too high to worry about somebody who hasn’t laced a pair of spikes up in thirty years. Forget about “This Time it Counts” or replay in baseball, steroids appear destined to become Bud Selig’s legacy. If Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez have done anything other than thumb their nose at baseball while shattering the dream of thousands of Little Leaguers everywhere simultaneously, they’ve stranded the Commish at a crossroad as well. If Selig doesn’t do something decisive, something powerful, something Roger Goodell-like soon then steroids stand to bury him too. Selig’s opportunity has been lost in the buzz surrounding A-Rod’s return and the ridiculous payday Braun will still enjoy despite running the hand that feeds him through a meat grinder. At this point it would appear the only logical move for Selig is to get tough with the Players Association and lobby for a lifetime ban for steroid offenders. The future of the game hangs in the balance. And if you’re the MLBPA, now’s not the time to come to the rescue of guys like Braun and Rodriguez. Doing so only threatens your legitimacy and risks fracturing your clientele. If baseball has any chance of getting off the table now all parties involved need to come together and foster real solutions. A lifetime ban seems the only logical plan of action. When they’re serious, the powers that be will consider a punishment of this magnitude for first time offenders, but until then, this dance we’ve all come to know so well will continue. In the meantime, say a little prayer for baseball because things don’t look good.

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