If a superstar falls in Chavez Ravine will the fans really care?
I know this is an Orioles blog, but sometimes you have to branch out and look at the bigger sports picture.
So Manny (No Last Name Needed) is suspended for 50 games for violating the MLB banned substance policy. And here is the thing that is really surprising me. I am hearing the shock and dismay from players, fans, and the media. But it doesn't feel like anyone (with the possible exception of players and fans in LA and Boston – strangely no one from Cleveland seems to give a crap) is either REALLY surprised or really even taken aback. And fan reaction is more of “Oh look, another one. Oh hey, it's one of the biggest stars in the game, and one that no one EVER suspected of cheating. Meh”. And I am sure that there will be more public and moral outrage over this, but it seems like the fan base is so desenitized to this that it is just another annoyance and nothing more.
I am a fan not only of my hometown team (and my National League team that I grew up watching and is my not so secret baseball affair), but of the game itself. And as a fan of the game of baseball I can honestly say that I have reached the saturation point. I am not surprised by anything that happens. The best pitcher and hitter that I have ever seen, while never failing a publicly released drug test, are guilty in the eyes of society due to overwhelming circumstantial evidence. 2 players that I would root for whenever their play did not have an direct negative impact on my teams' standings are pariahs of the sport that they should have been revered in. A player that has accomplished what only 3 others in the history of the game (3000 career hits with 500 career home runs) tests positive for steroids and takes years of me showing friends what the perfect swing might in fact look like and flushes it down the toilet, because while steroids would not have altered the swing, they would have altered every ball that swing put into play. So now that quirky guy who made even opposing fans smile is guilty of taking, not a steroid, but a female fertility drug that has been tried as a male infertility treatment, but has been tried so few times and wiht so little success that it has shown NO reason to ever be perscribed to a man. Unless that man was coming off a steroid cycle and needed to kickstart his body's natural production of testosterone, since the body stops making it (or severely curtails it) while on the steroid cycle. And if that man got the prescription not from his usual doctor or his team doctor, and in fact travelled 2000 miles to see this doctor and get this prescription…Congratulations, Manny. You can go stand in the same corner as Barry and Roger. Hell, with Miguel Tejada being in the Mitchell Report, Rafael Palmeiro's excuse becomes more plausible by the minute.
A few months ago on my personal sports blog I put up an article about steroids in football versus baseball and why people we so much more affected by the baseball scandal. If you want to read it here is a link
Basically it says that because of the reverence for the game of baseball and the numbers attached to it, fasns are taking the steroid scandal much more personally than they did / do when football players get suspended for PEDs (It says other things too, and is, in my humble opinion, an excellent piece of online journalism and you should explore it at your earliest possible convenience). I also said in the article that I thought it was going to get worse before it gets better. I no longer believe that. Because in order for it to get worse, the fan base has to give a damn, and I think our collective give a damn is officially broken.
About the Author
Written by Ron Burr
Ron is a lifelong resident of Maryland and has been a passionate player and fan of sports for as long as he can remember. When he is not watching the games or explaining to his lovely wife why he is cursing at the television, he runs an improv/sketch comedy troupe, Drop Three. He can't hit a curveball or run a sub 4.5 40 yard dash, but he knows the games and loves talking about it with anyone. Differing opinions are welcome and encouraged!