MLB and the ‘juice’

Steven Bartley, Rocket Contributor
April 3, 2014

With Barry Bonds coming back to Pittsburgh on opening day to give Andrew McCutchen the 2013 NL MVP award made me wonder a little bit: are people starting to forget the steroid era in baseball? Don’t get me wrong, the Bonds departure left a sour taste in Pirates fans mouths for a long time. After Bonds left in 92, the Pirates saw 21 straight losing seasons. The feat is one of the longest in sports.

I hate the fact that Andrew McCutchen even had to receive the award from Bonds. I can’t help but wonder what was going through his mind. He received the award from one of the biggest cheaters in the game.  I can’t imagine Cutch was happy about that, but who knows, he might have been excited to meet a legend. McCutchen seems to be pure in the way he handles himself. My guess is McCutchen has been tested a couple of times, there is no way a guy has that much success and is not tested.

The Pirates were finally able to heal their wounds by making the postseason last year. The Pirates have forgiven a man that left them on a dime when they were a game away from the World Series.  If the Pirates were able to forgive an era that tarnishes baseball, is the rest of the league willing to?

You can’t cheat on something and expect positive results in the end. The Pirates were able to forgive Bonds, because they finally got the chip off their shoulder. Major League Baseball won’t have that easy of a reunion with the other players who have cheated. As an example, the grudges that still exist between Pete Rose and the MLB is amazing.

The steroid era saw huge stars, they were larger than life at times, no pun intended. Some of my favorite moments watching baseball came when Sammy Sosa and Mark Mcgwire were chasing the home run title in 1998. I was a young child who really enjoyed the game and was starting midget baseball myself. I wanted to hit home runs like those two guys, knowing what I know now about the steroid era, it all becomes fiction to me. The race between Sosa and Mcgwire was a lie.

They were good athletes and built up their reputations as two of best before the 2007 Mitchell reports and Jose Conseco’s book. It is a shame they broke records that were not built by drugs. Years later in 2014, I wonder if I still feel the same?

My view on the subject go back and forth. How nice it would be to forgive and forget.  Can anyone really truly forget that these players are in the history books forever? Right now there is nobody in baseball that will touch the single season home run record that was set by Bonds.

Do the steroid guys deserve to be a part of the hall of fame? I want to say yes in the deepest part of my heart. It still takes talent to do what these guys did. Not everyone has the hand eye coordination to hit a ball coming at you 93 MPH.

The records and stats are going to stay the same, so what is holding people back from voting these guys in? I know it is a tough pill to swallow, but Bonds is still the home run king. Like it or not those are the facts. I might be in the minority here, but time has come to forgive.

Then there is the louder part of me that says these guys cheated. They succeeded, by inducing themselves with steroids. I hate the fact that Ryan Braun lied to everyone and deceived and entire league. I hate the fact he took advantage of everyone including his loyal fans. Most, if not all of us, have grown up in the steroid era.

Its hard to say whether Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron used steroids. The ‘juice’ wasn’t available until the 1930’s and by then Ruth already was the king of baseball. The pressure to be a big name athlete is overwhelming to some. Why vote for someone who cheated?

I believe one day that Pete Rose, Barry Bonds and even Sammy Sosa will be in the hall of fame. Not because it is right but because time heals all wounds, love it or hate it. Like the example of the Pirates forgiving Bonds, the rest of baseball will one day come to acceptance with the steroid era and their stars.

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