Fans are to blame for MLB’s steroid state of affairs
Who’s to blame for baseball’s steroid-sullied mess?Trot over to the nearest mirror and point a shaming finger at the person staring back at you. That’s right. We, the fans, are to blame.I’m no Ralph Nader, but I did retain the most basic of economic principles from my years of learnin’ – supply and demand.Americans crave action-packed sporting events. Bottom line. We hate soccer because of 0-0 games and propensity for, ugh, ties.We loathe the notion of a field-goal filled 9-6 football games. Some would probably advocate the abolition of field goals altogether.And, at the crux of the baseball crisis, we hate pitching duels. We love offense to a fault. Remember the ol’ “Chicks dig the longball” ad campaigns?You, baseball fans, asked players to juice up. It’s why baseball introduced a more lively, farther-traveling baseball in the mid-’90s and why our ballparks’ fences stand significantly closer to home plate than they once did. We asked for this. Baseball and its players simply met our demands. Like any other company, they dug out their stethoscope and read the heartbeat of their consumer base. They had no choice, especially considering baseball officials were charged with resuscitating a sport in cardiac arrest on the heels of the strike of 1994.That’s precisely why they turned a blind eye to the obvious goings-on, the needles being put to use in the locker-room shadows.Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa? Sure, their biceps have swollen from the size of a twig to the size of a redwood. Their happy-storylined home-run race was good for baseball.Barry Bonds’ giant noggin? Ehhh, at least he’s smacking home runs and captivating a nation with his moonshots and prickly persona. We love a villain nearly as much as we love a hero.Players improving with age? Pitchers sustaining major juice on their fastball well into their 40s? It’s all natural, right? Ha.Baseball made the choice, like all companies do, to do what was best for business, what sells the most tickets. What right do we have to chastise the sport when we happily ate up the product? Isn’t the world of sports all about entertainment, anyway? Along those same lines, why do we even care who’s injecting what where? Personally, I enjoy of the purist ilk that enjoys a good pitchers’ duel. I could care less if I see zero or eight home runs in a game. I love the chess match that goes into pitching and hitting. I appreciate a three-run rally capped by consecutive RBI singles as much as one capped by a three-run jack.Unfortunately, I’m in the minority. And that’s precisely what led to the mess that was baseball’s “Steroid Era.”Contact Jeff Caspersen: firstname.lastname@example.org
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