Sports Opinion: Steroids more than just cheating

We are slowly moving past the “Steroid Era” in baseball, but does this even matter to Americans? 2011 MVP Ryan Braun was suspended for 65 games to end his 2013 season for using performance enhancing drugs and then lying about it. He gave up a mere $3.25 million that he was owed through the end of the year of his $145.5 million dollar contract and was forced to sit out a little more than a third of a season in which his team was not near playoff contention. In other words, very little impact was made by the suspension other than a slight tarnish of his reputation, which fans will get over if he simply puts up good numbers.

We have come to the point where we just look the other way and are nonchalant about cheating in America’s past time. Steroids in baseball means more than just cheating, as they reflect modern day America and how people essentially are buying hard work and natural gifts. Strength and athleticism are not the only things purchased to enhance oneself. Energy, intelligence, youthful appearance, even happiness all can be bought at a store or pharmacy.

The thing that is mind boggling, is that fans don’t seem to care. Fans pay hundreds of dollars to go to games with the purchasing of tickets, food, gas, memorabilia and possibly a hotel. They want to see something amazing. They want to see elite power, speed and aggressiveness. They want to be amazed, and they don’t seem to care how this happens as long as it does happen.

Iconic scandals like Pete Rose are considered far more severe than P.E.D.s.

Pete Rose had so much confidence that he bet thousands of dollars a day on himself and his team to win. Considering the goal of the professional game is to win, it did not affect the actually playing of the game like those who unfairly and illegally become stronger and faster. He never bet against his team like the Black Sox did, but he was also banned for life from baseball. He is the all time leader in hits, and, as of right now, he will never be elected into the Hall of Fame.

The youth of America have been indulged in the fact that cheating is OK. Baseball and sports have become more about winning and less about teaching lessons of teamwork, leadership, friendship and the ability to have fun in all circumstances. When winning becomes the only objective in baseball, parents and coaches become obsessed with only caring about the W. Kids throw curve balls at a far too young age when their arm health is at great risk and the hitter cannot develop naturally. Parents argue with umpires who often are out there because they love the game.

But while winning isn’t everything, it definitely is something. Without a winner and loser, the game becomes socialistic. In order to maintain a capitalist society, a winner must exist. The real world doesn’t allow ties and neither should baseball.

In 1998, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire both were on record pace for home runs in a way that nobody had seen before. Not only was one player going to break the home run record but two were, and they were neck and neck trying to outdo the other. Both have and were associated with steroids, but most Americans did not care. They wanted to be entertained in a way they had never been before, and that’s what they got.

Teens should be idolizing Jackie Robinson and the women’s suffrage movement, but instead, celebrities with money, fame, prestige and many problems are looked at with envy.

Steroids are bad, and just about everyone can agree with that. The question that allows great disparity is how bad exactly is using performance enhancing drugs? Players who are clean, fans who truly respect the game and a part of major league baseball might say that they are very bad. Casual fans on the other hand, may say something different.

Baseball has been fair and honest over it’s founding until the steroid era. Baseball has been used as a distraction for the real world, even in a distraction from itself. When the “Black Sox” scandal occurred, the baseball community and soul was more elated with the emergence and dominance of Babe Ruth. Joe DiMaggio was in the midst of his 56-game hitting streak during World War II, which helped people forget.

Baseball has always been there for America. The love for the game has always existed and will always exist, which allows Americans, whether it’s right or wrong, to look past cheating in America’s pastime.

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