If you’re a baseball enthusiast like me, the 2003 baseballoff-season will be etched in your minds forever with thecontroversies of alleged steroid use among star athletes; and theNew York Yankees who never seem to hibernate during the off-season,about free agent spending and trading.
Let’s start with the pin-stripers (Yankees)who battled the Boston Red Sox twice within f five months. TheYankees defeated the Red Sox in the American League ChampionshipSeries (ALCS) when third baseman Aaron Boone crushed a homerun intothe left field seats of knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield in the11th inning of a decisive game seven.
This off-season it appeared as if the Red Soxnot the Bronx Bombers had completed the trade of the century, butonce again those Yankees stole destiny away from Bean Towner. TheYankees signed Alex Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers who isarguably the best player in the game for two-time all-star secondbaseman Alfonso Soriano.
Some critics have this notion that the Yankeesand the manner in which they spend money or obtain talent are badfor baseball. Well, in sports you need that one franchise thatdominates its era whether it’s the Chicago Bulls of the 1990’s,Boston Celtics of the 1960’s and the San Francisco Forty-Niners ofthe 1980’s, Edmonton Oilers of 1980’s.
These teams brought out the best in players onother teams and most importantly, they put fans in the seats. In my opinion, the Yankees and its owner George Steinbrenneraren’t bad for baseball they are striving for the sport’s ultimateprize the World Series.
The other story that’s leading newscastsacross the country is the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO)steroid scandal that has outraged some baseball enthusiasts. TheBALCO organization, which is based in San Francisco, has allegedlyprovided steroids to several prominent baseball all-stars. One ofthe stars mentioned is Barry Bonds, who is said to have takensteroids. Let’s make this very clear Barry Bonds doesn’t need totake steroids he was already great even before he arrived in SanFrancisco from Pittsburgh in 1993.
Bonds’ isgetting so much flak because his personal trainer Greg Anderson wasindicted along with BALCO’s founder Victor Conte, Vice- PresidentJames Valente and track coach Remi Korchemny for providing steroidsto athletes. Korchemny a native of Odessa, Ukraine coaches some ofthe world’s most famous track athletes, which includes AlvinHarrison, Chryste Gaines, and Gail Devers in California. Bonds’ is guilty by association just because Anderson is hispersonal trainer and has alleged involvement in providing steroidsto athletes. In addition, Bonds is on pace this season to breakWillie Mays’s and possibly Babe Ruth’s home run records.
The current record holder Henry (Hank) Aaronslammed 755 homeruns for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Bravesfranchises respectfully. Aaron surprisingly didn’t have a single50-homerun season in his 23-year career. Some conservatives outthere don’t want to see another black man break Babe Ruth’s record,especially if he’s alleged to have steroids.
On the other hand, Bonds’ isn’t the only MajorLeaguer who’s dealing with baseball’s latest black eye. Otherplayers include Yankees’ first baseman Jason Giambi who has lost aconsiderable amount of weight this past off-season.
Also, his newest teammate, right fielder GarySheffield, who denies using steroids and
said on Sports Center that he would take atest to clear his name; as well as former Yankee Randy Velarde, twoformer Giants Marvin Bernard who currently plays for the CharlotteKnights the minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox andAll-Star catcher Benito Santiago who currently plays for the KansasCity Royals.
There hasn’t been any proof that the playersmentioned used or accepted steroids.
Finally, to those men or women in any sportwho has the desire to experiment with steroids they’ll face theconsequences 15-20 years from now. Look at former NFL starLyle Alzado who died from brain cancer after using anabolicsteroids. That’s punishment enough.