Monday, February 9, 2009

A-Roid Signals More Trouble for Baseball

Alex Rodriquez admit to ESPN that he did do steroids for three years while playing for the Texas Rangers:
"Back then, [baseball] was a different culture," Rodriguez said. "It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve. I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time.

"I did take a banned substance. For that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful."

Major League Baseball handled this so poorly. The NFL was plagued by steroids in the 80's, but they acted quickly with mandatory testing. Baseball waited until 2003. All those sacred records, particularly the home run records are now garbage. A-Rod was supposed to be the cure for this, but he'll have an asterisk as well, if he ever breaks the record.

You can't entirely blame baseball. The fans were collusive. Did anybody doubt Sosa and McGwire were juiced during that home run love fest season? Clemens and Bonds playing their best ball at 40?

Baseball as we know it is doomed for several reasons:

1. In the age of 200+ cable channels and the internet, it is simply too slow of a game to hold the attention of fans. Think of all the things we used to watch as kids, when we had no choice. World Cup skiing, the Olympics, tennis, etc. Add baseball to the list of yesterday's events.

2. There are at least a dozen small market franchises that will be hit even harder by the recession. Bring your family to the ballpark for $130 to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates?

3. The steroid scandal chases off diehards, who appreciate the history of the game. Look at the all-time home run leader list. Rafael Palmeiro has more homers than Mike Schmidt? Jim f*cking Thome has more than Mickey Mantle? Carlos Delgado has more than Carl Yastrzimski? Disgraceful... Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?


  1. A few years ago I had ESPN Classic on cable. I was watching The Big Red Machine back in the day. I knew every guy on the field. Rose, Bench, Foster,Perez, and the manager Sparky Anderson. The 70s Reds were one of the all time great teams.I was shocked at the size of the players. They looked like a bunch of skinny kids. Even Johnny Bench, a guy I considered to be pretty big at the time, looked puny. When you see clips of 70s baseball, you realize just how much steroid use there is in modern baseball.

  2. Absolutely. George Foster was the only guy to hit 50 homers for a long time and he was very skinny for today's standards. On the same note, I was watching some classic boxing recently from the 60's and 70's. Ali, Fraser, even Foreman, who was considered a monster, have almost no bulk and definition. White guys like George Chuvalo looks like a typical pudgy cop munching on donuts at Tim Horton's. Since the 80's all boxers have comic book superhero definition. It can't be because of special weight training technolgy/methods.

  3. I think baseball should take a hard look at boxing. Boxing used to be huge. The Fraser Ali fights were bigger then life itself. Now does anyone care about boxing? All the corruption and alphabet soup of titles. It`s a joke.
    Remember the Grey Cup, it was the biggest party of the year. Their stupid blackout laws just killed the CFL. Does anyone complain about CFL blackouts anymore? No, because no one gives a shit.
    When they cancelled the World Series, I vowed the next year not to go to any games. This included free tickets. I have now returned to watch the World Series, but that is pretty well it. One year I turned on the World Series, and I was shocked to find out I had never heard of the team (the Marlins).
    There has not been a baseball star in years with a national advertising contract. That is telling you something.
    I agree, I think baseball is going the way of boxing and horse racing.

  4. An interesting thought, I wonder if corporate sponsorship is going to drop off in the sporting world? Ticket prices might actually fall back to a level to where people will buy their own tickets. A buddy of mine in Toronto, told me how he took his two kids and girlfriend to a Leafs game at the ACC. He said when you added it all up, tickets, parking, hotdogs, a beer, and a couple of cheesy souvenirs, it was a $1000 total cost.
    Will Buick continue to sponsor a golf tournament?
    Back in the 30s, the NHL was reduced to six teams. We may be due for a big shakeout in sports.

  5. Corporate sponsorship is going to take a big hit. My wife used to work for a major Vancouver company, so we occasionally got prime Canuck seats. In our area there were no "real" fans, they were all corporate people. The tickets were free but beers cost $9.00

    Like anon says, normal people can't blow a grand on a hockey game. Maybe that's a good thing. I would pay $20 tickets and $3.50 beers for a hockey game.