Monday, May 11, 2009

Padres Hitters Need Only One Thing: Steroids!

Watching the Padres bats continue to flail away over the weekend in Houston (I mean, one run against Brian Moehler in that ballpark??), I think I came up with the solution to their ongoing hitting woes.
That's right. Steroids. There. I said it. Now all the Padres have to do is start using them. must be obvious to everyone by now that every player in Major League Baseball is still cheating in one way or another (today it's Manny, tomorrow it'll be someone else), so why not the Padres?
Well, you may answer, steroids are against the rules. And using performance-enhancing drugs sets a bad example for our nation's youth. But if baseball doesn't care about its ever-dwindling public image, why should I? Why should the Padres?
The disclosure late last week that the Dodgers' Manny Ramirez (formerly the greatest right-handed hitter of his generation) tested positive for whatever the hell he tested positive for is just further proof of something I have believed all along.
And that is that no matter how much MLB says it's clamping down the performance-enhancing issue, no matter how much the players association says it's trying to clean things up, no matter how many players look you in the eye and say "I'd never do it," the fact remains that there's just too much at stake for these guys not to try and cheat.
I mean, why wouldn't they? Do you really think that Ramirez is the only player in the big leagues currently cutting corners? Of course, you don't (and, of course, I don't either).
What that means is that almost all of the players who are currently cheating are...well, they're getting away with it.
It's kind of like speeding on the freeway. Most everybody does it, but only a very small percentage of us ever get caught. You do it even though you know it's "wrong" because you know if you take the necessary precautions (a glance or two in the review mirror normally covers it) chances are pretty good you'll get away with it.
Baseball players see the very same landscape. They see everyone else doing it, they take precautions to lessen the chances they'll get caught (all of the masking agents), and then they pull a card from a deck that is stacked clearly in their favor.
So Ramirez got caught. Cost him 50 games and over $7-million in salary. Big deal. He's still going to get to play in 100 games, and he's still going to pocket nearly $17-million by season's end.
Would you risk $7-million if you knew that even if you were caught, you'd still make $17-million? Do I have to answer that for you?
One of these days, instead of putting all the blame on the McGwire's and Sosa's and Bonds's and Clemens's of the baseball world for ruining the integrity of our national pastime, we'll all realize that it was the man who looked the other way for so many years that is at the heart of this national tragedy.
Bud Selig (and his baseball cronies -- along with owners and front-office execs) have cashed in handsomely the past two decades while the steroid craze -- and all of the home runs that came along with it -- put baseball squarely back into the spotlight.
Of course, they did nothing about until Congress stepped in and (at least tried) to force them to do something. Over the past five or so years, baseball has done the minimum to try and present the illusion that it has cleaned up its act.
But we all know different.
How can we even begin to believe that the sport cares when every time one our heroes accomplishes something mind-boggling, it turns out that he was just messing with our minds?
From Palmiero to A-Rod and now to Manny (and all of the others in-between), it must be clear to all of us by now that the cheaters will continue to prosper.
Sure their legacies will take a hit, but that's nothing compared to all of the hits (and money) they get while they're still playing.
The only ones, it seems, not getting the hits are the Padres.
So until baseball really does something to wipe out steroids for good (a lifelong suspension for a first-offense would do it), then the Padres need to be using steroids just like everybody else.

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