Steroids and being a Fan
If you are reading this post, you are most likely a fan of baseball. Maybe you’re a Cubs fan, or an Angels fan, or the Cardinals or Rangers or DBacks; it doesn’t matter the team, you are a fan.
Unfortunately with times such as they have been, it’s hard to just be a fan, now we find ourselves being judge and jury also.
We all watch the game through the window that sits in the middle of our living room. We don’t “know” the players, but we watch what they do. And we watch with a suspicious eye. We don’t want to, but we have to.
For a “baseball generation”, steroids have been a prevalent part of the game. Based on some estimates, upwards of 40% of the players used steroids. Ken Caminiti famously claimed back in 2002 that 85% of the players were using steroids. However, other than just a handful of admitted cases, the list of players that we know without doubt that took steroids is very small. Even the players that have been suspended for failing the leagues banned substance test have refused to admit taking the drug.
And so we watch through the window, looking for the Thorwald in the crowd, which I hate doing because it taints all the players. I particularly hate it when a great player like Jim Thome gets traded.
Yesterday Jim Thome was traded from the Phillies to the Orioles. Here is a player that has 609 career HR’s. He is tied for seventh on the all-time list. It should be headline sports news when a player of his caliber is traded. Think of Aaron going from the Braves to the Brewers, or Mays going from the Giants to the Mets. Yes these players were in the twilight of their careers, but it was headline news.
And no, I’m not saying that Thome is an equal to Aaron or Mays, but his trade deserves more of a mention than two sentences in the transaction column of the local paper. Yet that’s all he gets because he has played his entire career during the steroid era, even though he has never been implicated with steroids as far as I can remember.
So we are ambivalent to his 609 HR’s. And the thing that makes it worse, he’s actually tied on the all-time HR list with Sammy Sosa, a player that almost everyone assumes did use steroids.
I for one though, even if it’s just for the day, want to take a moment and just be a fan.
I want to acknowledge the great player that I’ve had the privilege to watch on tv and to see play in person. I want to think about all the home runs that Jim Thome has hit and not have to think about how he hit them.
Tomorrow I can be Mr. Jefferies again; today I just want to watch without suspicion.
You can watch this 2 minute video reviewing some of Thome’s career.
Good Luck in Baltimore Jim!