Monday, October 10, 2005
SINCE I NO LONGER
have a horse in the race, but still feel compelled to write about the current sports scene, I am going to publish the ramblings of my idiot mind as told to my palmtop during an all too frequent visit with one of my clients to the clinic."...When someone is unfaithful to their partner, we call it cheating. What a silly euphemism that is. I sit that the relationship is a game? The objective is to win? Is the cheater getting ahead or gaining some statistical advantage by sleeping with someone else? No. It is much more serious than cheating. It is betrayal. What was formed with mutual trust, admiration, devotion, and honor is destroyed by lust, weakness, shame, and lie. This is not cheating.
This speaks, too, I think, to what has happened in baseball. I have been searching for why in the hell people are so up in arms about steroids. If it were just cheating, fans might forgive. It is more serious. America has built a relationship with baseball. Part vicarious living, part nostalgia, part territory, all real. The fan has made baseball more than just a game. The stakes are much higher. The pure Americana built into the sport has elevated it. People live and die with this stuff. Surely this isn't a game. (can anyone over the age of 20 type 'surely' without saying in their head 'no, and don't call me Shirley') Ask a Cubs fan why they root for a team that seems destined to fail, that is only good at finding new ways to lose, that truly seems to be cursed. All they can tell you is they HAVE to root for the team. Just like breathing. Not rooting for the Cubs would be uncomfortable. Painful. These fans are in love.
So when a player cheats, takes steroids, they aren't just cheating the record books. They aren't just padding stats, enhancing performance, getting and edge, or winning. They are also taking something away from all those fans. Not just 'cheating', they are 'cheating on' the fans. Every average Joe fan who thinks they could go out and play an inning in the bigs, just once, is being told they have a stupid, silly dream, and that athletics is only ONE reason the fans are in the stands, and not on the field. The juicers are creating a rift between professional sports and professional fans. They are betraying the trust of the people who care about them the most. More, perhaps, than they seem to care about themselves. They are making fans victims. They are telling fans they are no longer important.
Steroids in baseball has become bigger than the game. It represents everything wrong with every relationship a fan has ever had go wrong. IT is the ugly side of a beautiful fantasy. It is organized crime, the uncle you cannot stand, and foreign policy all rolled into one.
It is betrayal."