This is an upcoming column I wrote for the Stuttgart Daily Leader in Stuttgart, Arkansas.
It’ll be online at www.stuttgartdailyleader.com tomorrow afternoon.
The Pig Pen
By Brady Holzhauer
Baseball needs to enforce its own rules
In August 1989, Pete Rose was banned from the game of professional baseball. A man who was known as "Charlie Hustle" because of how hard he played in games was ruled ineligible to participate in or attend baseball games for the rest of his life. Rose was a noted gambler and he was caught gambling on baseball. Some said he even gambled on games he played in or managed in during his career with the Cincinnati Reds. Regardless, Rose was cast away from a sport he truly loved. He is not allowed into the Hall of Fame, despite being the all-time hits leader. Now, his managing wins should be held a little lower because of the gambling, but his stats as a player should not be. What he did, he earned, and gambling didn’t affect the outcome of his career statistics as a player.
Regardless, Major League Baseball laid down the law and removed him from the game without question. Today, baseball faces an era of rampant steroid and HGH use. Performance enhancing drugs have been a problem for some time, but unfortunately it has taken this long to take steps, albeit very slow steps, to fix it.
This column is not meant to call out players. There are big names and unknown guys out there juicing in baseball. Regardless of one’s stance on Congress taking action to question some of the stars in question, the government has taken interest. Sure, people hate seeing tax payer’s dollars waisted on hearings for baseball players who supposedly cheated, but this is extremely neccessary.
Baseball players are role models. Now, this is not the only reason why, but baseball was a reason that got chewing tobacco popular in youth. Today, players using chewing tobacco aren’t as obvious about it as before and less of them do it. But regardless, young fans of baseball were influenced by it. Today, baseball players all over, and it is a lot more widespread than believed, are using steroids and HGH. These are "performance enhancing drugs" and nothing more. They harm one’s body in a variety of horrifying ways, and they are against the rules of America’s pasttime. For these two reasons and these two reasons alone, I understand why the government has stepped in and why Bud Selig and Major League Baseball need to step up their game.
People assume steroid and HGH use is contained in Major League Baseball, but it is not. It is rampant in the NFL, as well. It’s been heard of in Golf recently, and there’s seemingly no action being taken to investigate in the NBA, Soccer, and Tennis. It’s been made aware recently that in foreign countries, they take to steroids and HGH a little differently. So how widespread is usage in sports in other countries? Of course, professional sports aren’t the only problem. College sports are surely another place to check and likely find widespread usage and unfortunately the public has not been made aware of how bad it is in high school sports. It is quite obvious that a high school teenager should be the very last person in the world to use anabolic steroids and HGH. These two drugs affect hormones in multiple, fear-inspiring ways.
It’s going to be hard to track performance enhancing drugs in high school sports and college sports from the start, so it’s up to Major League Baseball and other professional sports to lay down the law now and spread the word that usage of these drugs are not okay. It’s cheating in baseball, and it’s harmful to one’s body. Obviously, Congress getting into this is one way for some little known politicians to make a name for themselves, but ultimately, they are serving a purpose for today’s and tomorrow’s youth. For once, kids are seeing steroids and HGH in a bad light. Let Congress deliver a message, and now it’s time for Selig and Major League Baseball to start kicking these cheaters out of the game. It doesn’t matter who it is or how well they are liked. Pete Rose was labeled a cheater and was kicked out of the game, no questions asked. So what about these players purposely enhancing their performance on the field with steroids and HGH? It’s time for MLB to push the MLB Player’s Union aside and do a clean sweep of baseball. Any proof of steroids or HGH use should be a one-way ticket out of baseball. Forever. Until that happens, and until the hammer goes down and this message is spread, nothing will change. Cheating is rampant, now it’s time for the rules to be enforce and bring back America’s Pasttime.