Wednesday, May 31, 2006
It isn’t Complicated
An article I read today posed this question,” How will you remember Barry Bonds?” One of several options was ‘It is complicated’. The author chose that as part of his answer. He said, “You'll tell them he cheated and that his story is both sad and complicated.” Well two out of three ain’t bad. He is right, it is sad and Bonds is a cheater, but it isn’t complicated. It is so simple that an old drug user and baseball man like George Bush should even be able to understand it. But then rumor has it steroids were part of the the Texas Rangers’ game plan while he was an owner and managing general partner.
Before continuing I know my friends would insist that I come clean. Yes I have used a drug or two in my lifetime. They say I am prejudiced toward Major League Baseball (MLB) but I say my conclusions are undeniable and solidly proven.
Here is my case. It is true that I have not attended, watched, or listened to a major league game since 1994. It does not mean that I have lived in a cave so I do know that the Red Sox won the Series in 2004. And yes I do hold it against baseball that I missed that Series, but that is another story. In 1994 MLB went to the dogs. It was part of a trend started by the NBA and later joined by the NFL. It was a trend of greedy owners and greedy players sticking it to the fans. So I got mad as hell and said I am not going to take it anymore. Even though I was a sports junkie, I gave up professional sports, all of them. It would take another 10 years before I was able to kick the habit entirely and give up college sports as well.
But I digress, back to baseball, it is the greatest game ever, even better than curling. I love baseball. I refer to real baseball not the the bastardized version of the American League. It is a game of strategy and nuances. It is a thinking person’s game. It was my game of choice in my youth. It could have been my road to fortune. No, not based on my abilty. I was great with a glove and had good speed but I had a little difficulty with the curve ball. I also had a pack rat mentality and shoebox upon shoebox of baseball cards. If I would have just saved them I probably could have owned the Rangers instead of bad mouthing them.
Like the rest of the world, baseball started going through significant changes in the 1960’s. The players and fans began to realize that the sport was not just a game, it also was a business. The age of corporatization had arrived for baseball. Players responded by finally putting some teeth into their union, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), and making use of agents. The first collective bargaining agreement for MLB was reached in 1968.
Two years later Curt Flood, a St. Louis outfielder, challenged the ‘reserve clause’. This clause tied the players for life to the team that held their contract. They were not free to negotiate with other teams. With a dose of hyperbole Flood said he was the same as a ’slave’. Flood was an African American but using slave was insulting to the history of Black people in America. He was making $90,000 a year in 1970. Flood was right in his fight he was not in his choice of words. He lost the battle, the courts decided against him and his baseball career was over. But the players won the war, in 1975 an arbitrator ruled against the owners and the reserve clause.
Between 1975 and 1994 there were two lockouts and three strikes. The rules say 3 strikes and you’re out. So it was with baseball for me. Baseball had become a bunch of self-centered and overpaid players in collusion with corporate pigs for owners. The everyday fan did not fit into the equation. It finally dawned on me that if I wanted to look at and support rear ends I would have become a proctologist. Hail, farewell, and good riddance, I’m never going back.
Now all that doesn’t make Barry Bonds a scumbag. Using drugs doesn’t make him a scumbag. Alcohol was the Babe’s drug; gambling was Pete Rose’s. Cheating, using drugs while denying it, and promoting a win at any and all costs attitude is what makes Barry a scumbag. A scumbag he will remain until he quits lying and starts helping solve the problem instead of adding to it. It isn’t complicated. It’s simple as sin.
The Bush Credo - No Sacrifice Is Too Great For Others To
Well have a great day anyway.
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