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(Sports) Mike Beas on baseball and drugs


Want to hear a great knock, knock joke? Here goes:

Knock, knock...

Who's there?

Major League Baseball.

Major League Baseball who?

No, you don't understand. That's the punch line, the good old MLB, which is beginning to resemble a Canseco family reunion what with all the admitted and alleged abusers of performance enhancing drugs.

Throw faster. Hit the ball harder and farther. Recover from injuries quicker. And, yes, eventually get your contract restructured so that it carries additional security for yourself and loved ones. Why pave easy street for your children and their children when a little bit of sneakiness can rain dollar signs on your children's children's children.

These are the quick sands of professional athletics as we know them today. Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds dipped their big toes and were swallowed whole. At least their reputations were. More recently, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez threw themselves under the stupidity bus.

Somewhere in New York, Babe Ruth must be spinning in his grave. Legend has it Ruth could scarf down double-digits in hot dogs, be nursing a hangover potent enough to cripple a moose and still hit two out that day. The great Jackie Robinson probably is whirring just as fast. And you know very much alive icons such as Hank Aaron, Mike Schmidt, Rod Carew and Cal Ripken are equally as disgusted.

When it will end or if it will end remains to be seen. St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols claims he's clean, but should we believe him?

Professional baseball used to be such a treat to watch regardless of whether you were doing so in person or on television. But it's dying. Like the ivy on Wrigley Field's walls in October, slowly, surely, it's dying. Current economic conditions have no doubt contributed to declining attendance figures, but this country's financial woes can't shoulder all of the blame.

Kids and adults alike are in need of athletes they can believe in. Sadly, the list just keeps getting shorter.

PARTING SHOT: In 20 years, Henrik Stenson might be the answer to this trivia question: Which golfer won the The Players Championship in 2009?

Given the way most members of the national sports media trip over each other in an attempt to win the war of adjectives regarding the play of Tiger Woods, Stenson already qualifies as such.

Other golfers on the PGA Tour never win tournaments. Woods loses them. Society long ago adopted this mindset and Woods never once hesitated fanning the flames, pocketing major after major and creating space between himself and the mere mortals he competed against.

This is why some of the best televised golf these days comes from events Woods didn't enter.


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