This just in, there’s another PED scandal hounding baseball.
I’ve been asked what I think of the recent report broken by the Miami New Times and subsequent follow-up by ESPN concerning Anthony Bosch and Biogenesis of America, the anti-aging clinic where he worked. My answer is simple: I try not to think of it. I try not to hear anything about it and I try not to read anything either. In fact, I just had to do a Google search to get the aforementioned citations.
The bottom line is I don’t care. Maybe I’m wrong to be so apathetic, but I have a hard time believing the only individuals aware of what was (and is) going on are those actually doing the dirty deed. I’m sorry, but I find it mind-boggling other players, coaches, management, medical staffs and yes, the media that covers each team has no fricking clue. And if I’m right and they know damned well what’s going on then it's obvious they don’t care. The utility infielder doesn’t care, the third base coach doesn’t care, the manager and general manager don’t care, the trainer and clubhouse attendant don’t care and the beat writers and radio and TV announcers don’t care. If they don’t care, why should I?
If you’re curious, I do care about the history of the game and while I will stop short of calling myself a scholar, I know and respect my fair share of the game’s history. But I don’t feel angered that the purity and sanctity of the game is tainted by PED’s. I’ll spare the rhetoric, you know the deal. Baseball is replete with some bad people and bad history. PED’s is just another chapter.
You see, right or wrong, for me it’s all about the game. I want to be entertained for a few hours, and that’s it. Sure, I have my favorite players and root for them. And surely my involvement with fantasy extends past the game and into player analysis, but I’m focusing more on the fan than the analyst. I enjoy watching baseball games. I enjoy trying to guess what pitch is coming. I enjoy playing armchair manager and yelling “steal” or “hit and run” as if the Skipper can hear me. I really love watching smart, fundamental play and defensive gems, but I have also been known to get a rise out of a slugfest. When an outfielder makes a great throw to nail a runner or a hitter hits a majestic homer, I think back to when I used to do that, I don’t worry if the guy is juicing. I just want to live vicariously and be entertained. Once it’s over, I move to the next game or call it a night.
If that makes me shallow, so be it. I have enough other things to worry about and deal with than to care if a guy I never met, that makes more money in a month than I’ll ever see decides to use PED’s. I am a little bothered by the fact I feel using PED’s is cheating, but I think we’re naïve if we don’t accept cheating is part of our culture. I don’t mean just in sports, but in every walk of life. If we knew of everyone that cheated in one way or another, and either refused to be friends with or do business with them, we’d be awfully lonely. And hungry. And cold. And sick.
I have a similar philosophy when it comes to other forms of entertainment like movies or music. When I watch a movie, I don’t care if the special effect was computer generated. If it adds to my enjoyment, it doesn’t matter. Same thing with music. I don’t enjoy a song less because the music is sampled or computer augmented. If it is aesthetically pleasing to my ears, that’s what matters. I might appreciate a movie or a musical composition more if the genius behind it was human, but my in the moment enjoyment is the same. I separate enjoyment and appreciation, just like I separate the ballplayer from the ballgame.
This dovetails into how I feel about the Hall of Fame. I view the Hall as a museum, not as a keeper of all that is pure. When I was a kid, my favorite player was Fred Lynn. I would argue with my Granddad all the time. He thought Jim Rice was better, I loved Lynn. When Rice was elected to the Hall, while I did think back fondly of my Granddad, I did not regret cheering for Lynn more than Rice.
Maybe I only have so much energy I can spend on things I truly care about and a guy deciding to cheat to be a better player and make a few more bucks doesn’t make the cut.
Here is something I do care about and that is the camaraderie and deep friendships that often emanate from passions such as fantasy baseball. I was in an e-mail draft in the fall. Yeah, I know, we started early. After already learning one of the drafters suffered a heart attack early on, halting the festivities while he thankfully recovered (and continued to draft from his hospital room) we later found out another drafter’s daughter was scheduled for brain surgery. She too fortunately pulled through and is well on her way to recovery. So much so, that she and her Dad picked the draft order for an upcoming NFBC satellite league as a tribute to her recovery. Here is the video of the little darling and proud papa pulling names from a hat. If this doesn’t make you forget for a couple minutes about PED’s or anything else for that matter, nothing will.