By: LaShawn Encarnacion aka The Dark Knight of Sports
In the world of baseball and MLB, players are continuing to pass milestones that are epic among baseball record books and the history that was once held in the highest of regards. But since the “Steroid Era” came about, no one is so sure as to who was juiced and who was not.
Barry Bonds for example. His numbers before the era were already on hall-of-fame pace but after the 1998 season and his very “questionable” bulk up, his numbers continued to pile on, the home run ones in particular. So Bonds is always in question, not to mention that he openly admitted to using “The Clear” but never knew what it was for.
Why is brought up? For this reason, there are two current players in MLB today breaking records. The New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez and the LA Angels Albert Pujols.
Earlier this season, Rodriguez was on ESPN alert as he was approaching Willie May’s for fourth all time in home runs. ESPN went into the game as did MLB and this happened:
Got plenty of media attention. This from a person who not only was clearly linked to steroids but lied about it AND cost a number of innocent people their jobs. YET, Alex Rodriguez continues to pass records this season. He has become 3rd on the all-time RBI list and quickly closing in on 3,000 hits, which for most is a guaranteed ticket into baseball immortality.
MEANWHILE another franchise player located in California hits major milestone with little public publicity. The Angels Albert Pujols (who was in Tampa playing the Rays, who was never linked to steroid use, passed Mickey Mantle for 16th on the all time home run list and with two more home runs, will become 15th by passing former Philadelphia Phillies legend Mike Schmidt. Here is that historic bomb by Pujols:
Just goes to show there is a difference is coverage when two very familiar faces in MLB on similar historical paths can get so different media coverage.
Pujols, in Tampa with a very small crowd, little sports coverage.
ARod, a New York Yankee, the biggest sports market in the country, a network that OWNS most of the baseball coverage, can even get top billing on ESPN and Fox Sports.
Brings it all back to the original theme to this article, “Good History, Bad History.” But to really get a handle on this concept, keep this question in mind, “What would I want the next generation to learn?”
Here we go.
There is no secret about the Steroid Era and how it has tainted the game of baseball. Moving forward however should players who have been proven to have used be allowed to influence the younger generation while getting all the media attention while other players who are doing similar milestones and NOT linked to the steroid era get put into the background and not allowed to shine through, to be better role models for the next generation?
Should the hall-of-fame in MLB just open a NEW wing and call it the Steroid Era wing which would allow for ALL players who have the number into the hall-of-fame but also documented as users while taking up spaces of players who were not linked and yet they get bumped off the consideration list? What does that say to the next generation of players and fans?
This must be said because MLB prides itself on its supposed rich history and the integrity of the game. Well the integrity is a wash and for the next generation, “Honesty is the Best Policy.” Not just for MLB itself but for the media coverage of MLB and all sports gets. To help remind the current generation as well as future generations that while there is some bad history, it is the good history we choose to live with and pass along to the ones we leave behind.
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