Steroids and Jerks

Back in olden times, baseball players had to get jobs in the off season because playing baseball didn’t pay very much. I like to imagine them playing with an aching love and undying passion for the game. I like to pretend they loved their teams and fans and played purely for joy. I know it’s misguided and inaccurate, but it’s so fun to make believe that baseball used to be that way while watching these modern baseball players make me despise modern sports.

Oh, these effing steroids.

Oh, these arrogant jerk baseball players.

Funny, how they seem to go hand in hand. In fact, sometimes I think I’m more bothered by the arrogant showboating in baseball than I am by steroid use.

There’s so many complaints we throw at steroid users. They’re ruining the integrity of the game and corrupting our children and they’re cheaters and liars and bad people. I think they’re just a symptom of a narcissistic culture that thinks it can cheat fate.

The problem with baseball in a narcissistic culture is that baseball is humbling. There isn’t as much opportunity for chest thumping and gorilla yelling as there is in other sports. So, naturally, you ingest steroids, pump iron, and hit home runs so you can enjoy a few moments of glory and adulation, and a really big paycheck.

Size matters, y’all, when it comes to muscles and money.

It’s not steroids that are ruining baseball. It’s taken me a long time to see that. Cheating has always existed and will always exist. It’s sad that we probably won’t look back on this era of cheating as cute and fuzzy, like we do scuffed balls and spitballs. (Although Ray Chapman doesn’t think the reality of that era is so nice.)

My problem with baseball all these years hasn’t been steroids after all. I don’t like the arrogance, or the egotism, or the narcissism.

It seems silly to complain about those things since they’ve always existed in some form. It seems stupid to make the past into something it’s not in order to wax superior about the attitudes of modern athletes. None of those things are absent from baseball at any level, I completely understand and accept that.  But Major League Baseball just isn’t as attractive to me because it has so much of those things. And many fans like that. I realize I’m in the minority. So, consider this my little “This Is How I Feel” diatribe, on which I don’t expect anyone to agree.

If I had to choose, steroids are less bad than gambling was because gambling directly changed the outcomes of games. While steroids have certainly changed the game itself, it can be argued that the lasting damage is born only by the user.

So, I guess, if you’re going to juice, just don’t be an arrogant jerk about it and I won’t hate you so much.

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