Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

June 9, 2013

Morgan: Selig cleaning up baseball

Corsicana — I thought maybe major league baseball just forgot. I thought perhaps they figured after a while with no mention things would just die down, and they’d go on as if nothing had ever happened. Guess I was wrong. Bud Selig is like an elephant: He never forgets.

What am I talking about? If you recall, back during spring training, a story broke that at least 20 major league baseball players were involved in purchasing performance enhancing drugs from a guy in Florida. It seems that a clinic called Bio Genesis and its owner Tony Bosch were selling PEDs to Nelson Cruz, A Fraud and a host of others. Bosch got caught and now is willing to spill the beans on his client list.

I think we’ve established over the years that Alex Fraudriquez ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed. It seems that Bosch tried to sell his silence. Had A Fraud handed over a measly $100,000 this could have gone away. That could have put an end to all of this. Of course, he didn’t think he’d get caught since he signed up as Alexay Odriquezray.

The Rangers can ill afford to lose Nellie. He is a major cog in their sometimes anemic offense. I know most of you hear his name and recall the ninth inning of game 6 of the World Series. Forget that. Cruz has given the Rangers 121 home runs since the start of the 2009 season.  He leads the team in home runs and RBIs so far this season. Do you think Craig Gentry can take over that spot? Leonys Martin? A combination of those two and David Murphy would give our guys the weakest hitting outfield in baseball.

However, at the same time I rue the possible loss of Nellie Cruz, I applaud Selig for taking a stand on PEDs. The NFL and the NBA give lip service to it, but it’s more of a wink and a nod. Do you really think NFL players are so much bigger and stronger than they were a generation ago because Gatorade has added vitamins to the formula? Bicycling? Please! When they stripped Lance Armstrong of his titles, they had to leave them vacant because no one behind him was without a failed test.  Baseball is making an attempt to clean house.

Baseball has standards, and it has rules to enforce those standards. In real life, we have rules to enforce standards.  At least those of us in the huddled masses have rules.

If there were no rules, just think what we’d have. We might have drones going around killing American citizens without proper authority. We could have the IRS selectively deciding who gets tax exempt status, or the Justice Department selectively spying on journalists.  For that matter, without rules, the NSA could be checking out phone calls from all of us. Who wants any of that?

If Nelson Cruz’s numbers are from something illegal, and he gets a 100 game suspension, so be it. The same goes for Ryan Braun, A Fraud and everyone else trying to cheat.  They used to say cheaters never win, but we know that’s not the case. At least, maybe we can say that if you cheat and get caught, you won’t win.  

There is a reason that baseball is America’s game. There is certain purity to the game. Baseball is a game that most of us grew up playing.  If you didn’t have enough people to play a real game, you could always play Scrub or Flies and Skinners.  My neighbor and I built our own backstop and took turns pitching while the other caught and called balls and strikes.  Both of my grandfathers played the game.  One had a homemade glove. The other pitched until throwing a screwball (look it up) ruined his elbow. Every little town had a diamond and a team.  Eating peanuts and watching “ball” takes all of us back to our youth, to simpler times.

If Bud Selig preserves that, I’m all for it. If preserving that small vestige of purity hurts the Rangers, then they are collateral damage. In a day and age when we have to fear the long arm of government, keep receipts while the IRS doesn’t know what happened to theirs, answer questions while they plead the fifth and wonder who’s tracking our cell phone we need something to take us back to more idyllic times. If the commissioner can keep baseball comparatively clean, than I’m all for it. As Yogi Berra once said, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Hey, it made sense to Yogi.

 

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