People often wonder how steroid usage got so out of hand in baseball. Well, the truth is basically everyone was willing to look the other way. Many of the owners, flush with cash thanks to all the publicity the home runs created, had no interest in changing the status quo, and the players, taught in a centuries old culture of silence, refused to rat out their teammates and opponents who were cheating, even though said cheating actually affected them. It was a nightmare scenario, and it built and built until the general public cried foul.
Shockingly, the situation has almost completely flipped in the past decade. Now, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, who essentially speaks for the owners, is constantly on the warpath, looking for cheaters, and most of the players have very little tolerance for cheaters. In fact, after the recent suspensions, quite a few of the game’s biggest and brightest stars came forward to say they wished the powers that be would simply throw cheaters out of the game permanently.
Obviously, it’s well within players’ rights to ask for harsher penalties, but if Yankees manager Joe Girardi is to be believed, there’s a huge difference between wishing people were punished and unleashing that anger during a game. This evening, the Yanks third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who is currently appealing a 200+ game suspension for allegedly using performance enhancing drugs, was batting when Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster hit him with a fastball. The benches cleared, Girardi was ejected and the New England fans cheered like their team had just won the World Series.
Assuming Dempster did hit him on purpose, it’s pretty easy to see why it happened. He was behind 3 and 0 in the count and probably going to walk Rodriguez anyway. Since more than a few players think A-Rod is currently making a mockery of the steroid policy by appealing his suspension, it’s understandable to think he may have decided to take that frustration out on the player because there’s no statistical advantage in walking someone vs throwing at them.
On the other hand, however, it’s pretty easy to see why Girardi and Rodriguez would be so upset. Hitting someone with a pitch can cause serious long-term damage. People have lost vision. They’ve gotten concussions. They’ve been permanently affected, and just because someone cheated doesn’t necessarily mean they deserve that fate.
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Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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