As I'm led to my chair in front of a grand jury in Federal Court, I start to get tense and uneasy. The things that I did. The horrible, horrible things that I did surf through my mind like the actors in my favorite movie of all time, "Blue Crush." I'm as frightened as the tiny baby chipmunk.
What is this awful crime that I speak of?
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to confess that as a little leaguer, I logged stats that even the greats couldn't touch. I was the Cy Young of pitching and the Babe Ruth of hitting. I did things on those fields that would make Benny "The Jet" Rodriquez envious.
There's a problem though. It was tainted. IT WAS ALL TAINTED!
I was involved in an underground kiddie-steroid ring, which actually spread through the league like wildfire. We couldn't say no. We had no choice. It was too good of a bargain.
I must wipe the tears before I type. Traumatic, purely traumatic. These enhancers came in the form of the following: Big League Chew, Bubble Tape, Sweet Tarts, Ring Pops, Nerds, Rascals, Runts, Warheads and Lemon Heads.
Huh? Those are steroids? Noooooo silly! It's sugar! SUGAR! I was a chubby little kid hyped up on sugar and it rocked that league like KISS.
Believe it or not, I went pretty far with my baseball career, and never once did I ever take anything that shouldn't have been taken. I never ran into any "I wasn't sure what it was" situation.
Just to put that point in perspective, here are some things that if you're not sure about, you probably don't do … EVER. Thing such as flying in a plane that is missing a wing; driving in a car with three wheels; drinking something from a bottle that has a Skull and Crossbones on it; staying more than one night at your in-laws; or taking a supplement that you have no clue about.
It makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
This whole article stems from this year's Hall of Fame class and it's only inductee Barry Larkin.
Why would I mention Larkin?
I like Barry. He was a very solid shortstop that played his entire career in one city. With today's free agency, that feat is as feasible as Man-Ram making a successful comeback.
Larkin was a very sound defensive shortstop. He had very good stats. Not great stats, but very good stats. Let's look at the numbers. 2,340 hits, 198 home runs, 960 runs batted in, 379 stolen bases, .371 on base percentage, and a .295 batting average.
Those numbers don't exactly scream Cooperstown do they?
Compare those to this individual who didn't get the call. 3,020 hits, 569 home runs, 1,835 RBIs, 97 stolen bases, .371 on base percentage and a .288 batting average.
Looks like player number two had a much better career. But, I also know that one little finger point to a Federal Judge made this guy go from hero to goat. I give you, Rafael Palmeiro. Juice, juice and more juice.
While they are really good numbers, they are inflated. Mark McGwire was on the ballot, too.
In addition, have you seen next year's list of first year eligible's? It looks like a "Who's who" of the BALCO Fan Club. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, and then the usual suspects in Palmeiro, McGwire and Juan Gonzalez.
The steroid era not only affected the game today, but it has also affected the thought process of our games supposed legends making the Hall. Baseball writers don't want the players who shot up to get inducted, and I agree with them one-hundred percent.
What it allows though is for players who really didn't put up the numbers to get their ticket punched.
Will the stance soften through time with the thought that steroids were/are just a “part of the game?”
Hopefully not, but I know there are a bunch of voters out there clamoring for the day that Charlie Hustle finally gets his name on the ballot. Time has made that particular issue become a little bit more tolerable in their minds, so what would be the difference with 'roids?" Who knows, and to be honest, the amount of people who really care is continually shrinking.
Major League Baseball has become the red headed stepchild of the major sports. From steroids, to gambling, to the Mets, to Daddy Warbucks McCourt and everything else in between, the league is somewhat of a laughing stock. What players are for real and who are all prosthetic? Maybe I can get Ryan Braun on the horn and see what he thinks.
Still, Barry Larkin should get the credit he deserves. He made the Hall, which is major leaguers most prominent accomplishment. He has paved the way for America's youth.
Several years ago, kids could only dream about walking through the doors of Cooperstown. Now, they look at the past few inductees and know they can play mediocre ball throughout their entire career, stay clean while doing it, and have as good a shot as anyone.
Oh, this just in. A new 2013 inductee ballot has just been released. Who the heck are Victor Conte and James Valente? (You never know!)