Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Nation Turns It's Lonley Eyes To You


The drug controversy in Baseball has reached a critical stage. Jason Grimsley and the Human Growth Hormone scandal has upped the ante in this ever growing scandal. The players union, which for so long opposed any kind of testing for performance enhancing drugs, is now home to apologists for any player who is caught using them. It is time for the best known players in the game to take a stand. They have to stand up and be counted as being against the kind of cheating that has gone on for too long in the game.

It is clear to everyone that Barry Bonds took steroids. Everyone that is except the people who actually play the game. Albert Pujols and Derek Jeter have both made statements proclaiming that without evidence, their should be no rush to judgment on Bonds. This is the kind of thing that makes a bad situation worse. There have been players who have spoken out about the steroids issue, but they have been fringe players at best. The most well known player to state the obvious has been David Wells, but he is not exactly the conscience of baseball.

Where are the players who are going to take a stand on this issue? Why hasn't Arod said something? Why hasn't Griffey said something? These are the people whose legacies are threatened by the cloud that covers all of baseball. Doesn't integrity mean anything to these people? Are they so controlled by the union that they are unwilling or unable to point out what's wrong with the game and take a public stance against the people who have put the very integrity of the game at risk? Doesn't the game that has provided them with the fantastic life that they enjoy deserve at least some payback from these players?

It's a shame that people like Curt Flood apparently no longer play this game. I guess it has become so much of a business that even the players who are guilty of nothing have become as complicit as the owners in this scandal. The whole point being not to rock the boat. As long as the checks keep rolling in, why make a stink? Curt Flood challenged baseball's reserve clause because he believed that it was wrong. The reserve clause made a player the property of the team that held his contract for as long as he was in the majors. There was no free agency and a player didn't have a choice about which team he played for. Flood was traded one year and decided that the didn't want to play for a new team. He challenged the reserve clause in court. He lost, but he paved the way for free agency. He didn't reap the benefits, but without him, there is no telling how much longer the old system would have been in place. Some have said that free agency has ruined baseball, but players should have the right to sell their services to the highest bidder. Every American worker has that right, so it only seems fair that baseball players operate under the same rules.

Flood was basically ostracized by the owners after challenging a system that he saw as legalized slavery and his promising career was soon over. He always said that he never regretted his decision, however. Where is the player today that is going to put aside his economic interests and speak up for what is right? It's fairly obvious to me that the person who needs to take a stand is Derek Jeter. At this point he is the face of baseball. He makes millions in endorsements and Yankees are on ESPN and Fox so much at this point that the rest of America has to wondering if there are any other teams in the country. Derek is always looked upon as the embodiment of the best there is in the game. He has the respect and admiration of millions. It's time for him to take a stand. So what if he has to call out some of his own teammates. So what if he makes enemies of the players union. So what if some players resent what he has to say. It's time to show the American people that someone still cares about honesty and not just about a paycheck.

I would hope that someone would think enough of the game to try and make a difference. He just has to have the courage to stand up and say something. This time it's not about the union or the owners, it's about the game. Derek Jeter should be that man. Derek, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

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