Sports Column

It was the sport that brought people together regardless of your religion, race or annual income and became recognized as “America’s favorite pastime.” Key word: was.

Unfortunately, Major League Baseball is dying a slow death due to players obtaining performance-enhancers, the millions of dollars being thrown at players and the owners making these issues worse instead of monitoring their players.

Players used to play for the love of the game and to take their team to the World Series, not for the ridiculously high salaries that are dished out by teams each year. Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Stan Musial made $75,000 per year, which was the largest salary of their era.

In today’s game, you have to pay at least $10 million per year for a decent starting pitcher and $50 million just to earn the right to negotiate with an unproven foreign player (Dice-K). And if you want the league’s top player, a perennial loser who will not lead your team to a championship, it’s going to cost you over $300 million.

If the inflation of player salaries was not bad enough, take a look at the amount of players using some type of performance-enhancing drug in order to bulk up and/or quickly heal an injury. In my honest opinion, at least 80 percent of the players in MLB use or have used steroids, human growth hormone, or a testosterone-based ointment known as “the cream”.

Whether you like him or not, Barry Bonds might be the greatest all-around baseball player of all time. The problem is, his reputation is being tarnished due to the alleged steroid use.

Face it, Bonds is not the only guy in the sport breaking the unwritten rules and gaining an unfair advantage. Just take a look at the rapid muscular growth of guys like Alex Rodriguez, Adam Dunn, Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero and Kerry Wood. Similar to Bonds, these guys were scrawny when they made their splash into the big leagues and all of a sudden get a massive growth spurt during the middle of their careers.

I always run into people in public or watch analysts on television who specifically call out Bonds and Sammy Sosa as the major culprits of baseball’s steroid era, but there are thousands of other players who got away with steroid use. Will we find out the names of every single player who used them? Probably not.

Isn’t it ridiculous how baseball’s commissioner hires a former Senate majority leader, who has absolutely nothing to do with baseball, to lead baseball in its so-called “war against steroids?” Before the league gets further into the details of steroid use within the sport, baseball needs to get rid of Bud Selig and his cronies and hire a commissioner who will act truly in the best interest of the game.

A major problem with baseball’s position on steroids is that Selig wants to target a select few and use them as examples for everyone, as if they are lab animals. We will probably find out the names of these unfortunate players in Mitchell’s Report before year’s end, culminating in the banishment of Bonds and the others listed.

If it was up to Selig, the records of Bonds, McGwire and Sosa will either be erased or accompanied by a stupid asterisk. We need someone who is already involved with the sport to clean this current mess and not fool around with the record books because you can’t change what has already occurred. Put me in coach, I can do the job.

Bold Prediction of the week: I’m going out on a huge limb and picking the Pittsburgh Steelers to end the Patriots’ perfect season this weekend

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