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A man of many words. Profane, profound, loyal to a fault and a right rat bastard. I love the finer things in life: expensive cigars, cheap women and all the salted, cured meats I can eat. A friend to dogs, lover of humanity and despiser of people. If I were King the world would be a better place, because, well...I would be King! Oh, and I like ice cream.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

There Goes Roy Hobbs...

Remember the movie "The Natural?" The sports writer played by Robert Duvall tells Robert Redford (Hobbs) basically "the players come and go, Hobbs. We (the writers) are the ones that make the game."

Hobbs wanted to be the best that ever was. The pressure on him was incredible. More than any of us could imagine. He had an owner wanting him to fail, a woman deceiving and using him, a bookie trying to fix him, a manager who's whole life rode on him succeeding and legions of fans living their Depression-era lives through him.

And he was make believe.

In the movie he hits one out of the park. In the book he takes a dive.

Nonetheless, it brings us to today's steroid scandal. Some pretty big names out there. And some awfully small ones. Bonds has been a target of the writers for years. They finally have something with which to hang him. Funny, Clemens always seemed to get a pass. How could HE perform at such a high level for so long without a similar scrutiny to Bonds I wonder?

Clemens, through his mouthpiece, vigorously denies the allegations. Of course he does. He says Roger has never failed a drug test.

Let me tell you something about that statement. Whenever you hear an athlete say "I never failed a drug test" what he mean is "I was never caught." You almost ever hear them say "I never took performance enhancing drugs." That would be a lie. The most current tests for performance-enhancing drugs are always YEARS behind the technology of the cheaters. Always.

So who is to blame for all this? OK, the players for trying to cheat the system. That's pretty obvious. But how about the owners? They are the ones who profited most on the performance of these guys. They and their Commissioner have turned a blind eye to this thing for decades. The sports writers are to blame. They pimped for the Sosa/McGwire home run race. The pennant races, the whole thing. They are the shills. They were in on the game too.

We are responsible. That's right. You and me. We pay to watch. We support the game. We want the great home run chase, the great pennant race, the Red Sox to win, the Yankees to dominate, the lowly Pirates to crawl out of the cellar SOMEDAY. If our players took a little juice to help that happen, what did we care? No skin off our backs.

So now we have this. I don't know. It could be the ruin of major league sports. Olympics too. Heck, don't you think there are kids in high school doing this just to make the team? Or to get a scholarship? I'll lay you a hundred dollars to a doughnut there are parents out there facilitating it. Just for the bragging rights alone that their son or daughter got a "Full Ride" to some college.

Can we ever trust the validity of any mark ever achieved again? Alex Rodriguez is now the Golden Boy of baseball. If he's juicing will we ever know? The writers like HIM. They won't upset THAT applecart. Watch and learn. He'll be proclaimed the new Savior of baseball in a couple years.

Is it about money? Of course it is. It's ALWAYS about money.

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