[picappgallerysingle id=”3357862″ align=”left”] The Chicago Tribune caught up with Carlton Fisk this week amid the new steroid drama circling Mark McGwire. Our old fireplug catcher responded as we would have expected, lambasting McGwire and the other confessers who continue to try and downplay the effects steroids had on them.
Like most people, I think I’m slowly getting more sick of steroids as each new poster-boy for “not talking about the past” comes forward. Between the fake tears, the finger pointing, and uncanny ability to forget the English language, the fans of baseball have been treated to a fiasco much like dirty politics. Baseball “saviors” come up dirty, and players continue to abuse the system without any remorse or regret.
Fisk’s outburst, however, is refreshing.
“That’s a crock,” Fisk said. “There’s a reason they call it performance-enhancing drugs. That’s what it does — performance enhancement. You can be good, but it’s going to make you better. You can be average, but it is going to make you good. If you are below average, it is going to make you average.
Criticisms of players who have abused the system have cropped up before, but his honesty is something we should take to heart. The old cop out of “steroids don’t help you hit a baseball” has deflected criticisms from some players for years. With more former players like Sandberg and Fisk speaking out, it’s possible other players can be convinced to pony up their guilt.
There’s something about the whole steroid saga that’s beginning to trouble me, though. I’m not entirely sure blame and public reaction is quite evenly spread from player to player.
Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez have basically been given a free pass in the media, after making sure to do their public penance filled with apparent remorse. It’s become fairly obvious that McGwire is doing this purely for sympathy with his dwindling Hall of Fame votes.
Barry Bonds, probably the biggest jerk on the planet, never officially failed a test and was basically forced to walk the gangplank, almost systemically exiled from the sport. Now, I will never be a Barry Bonds apologist, but why such the disparity between his treatment versus Manny Ramirez? Manny continued to abuse the system even after testing was mandated, and was caught because of the steps he took to mask his usage. Manny goes on a 50 day vacation, and fans welcome him back with open arms?
If anything, the steroid saga needs to be put to rest like an aging Blackmouth Cur. These new damage control tactics by players in Mark’s camp (and there will be more, I can imagine) will continue to creep out, possibly around the time their Hall of Fame votes begin to dwindle.
Fisk has the right idea. Stop trying to pretend steroids were anything but an extra edge you tried to use, and move on. The sport is still struggling under the weight of some of its biggest stars being caught or linked to steroids in some way. Trying to rationalize what you did, or how “it really didn’t help”, only makes it worse.
Figures the guy who flips the bird at an ALCS game would be so blunt.