Imagine you're a father. It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon. You've taken your son to his first major league baseball game. Your son revels in an afternoon of hot dogs, trying to snag autographs and, most importantly, seeing his favorite player live and in person. The game seems to have been taken directly from a story book. It's the last of the ninth, your team is trailing by three runs and your team's best hitter, your son's favorite player is at the plate. The bases are loaded. The count is full. The opposing team's pitcher pitches and... POW!!! The ball rockets into the summer afternoon haze and lands somewhere in the next area code. The crowd goes crazy-especially your son. You, however, are not so enthused. The questions tear through your mind like a tornado through a trailer park. What if?...
Sad to say, but scenarios like this one are all too common in today's game. The so called "Steroid era" has turned America's pastime upside down, unleashing an array of suspicion and putting some of the game's most hallowed records in jeopardy. Revelations about the widespread use of steroids by major league baseball players is the biggest black eye to bruise the game since the infamous "Black Sox" scandal in 1919. Some of the game's most prolific figures, such as Barry Bonds, who just recently eclipsed the immortal Babe Ruth's 714 home runs, Mark Mgwire, who in 1998 surpassed Roger Maris's seemingly insurmountable single season home run record and Sammy Sosa, who joined McGwire in "The great home run race of '98 have all been implicated for widespread use of steroids. More recently, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley, a fifteen year veteran who has played for seven teams, admitted to federal agents that he not only took steroids, but the use of steroids was rampant throughout major league baseball. He gave the names of at least half a dozen players that he saw using steroids when he played for their teams.
This is a situation that both confounds and saddens baseball fans. Just how serious is the problem of steroids in major league baseball? How many players were taking steroids before everything hit the blade? Who is still using steroids now? Can baseball fans trust anyone? The main problem is that Major League Baseball has only started testing for steroids within the past few years, meaning that scores of players were able to chemically enhance their on-field performance without fear of retribution. Allegations made by Boston Red Sox minor leaguer Paxton Crawford maintain that steroids were not only in use, but brazenly at that.
The problem of steroids in baseball has put the passionate baseball fan into an unenviable position. Many, like myself, who adamantly followed the '98 home run chase, now feel betrayed and forsaken. Every record broken, every home run hit, will be cast under a cloud of suspicion. The use of steroids in baseball has left every fan wondering "what if?" leaving an impenetrable stain that will not soon be washed out.