Friday, July 31, 2009

Constant Leakage Sheds New Light on Steroids

Today, I think many people are in agreement with White Sox manager, Ozzie Guillen, when he said, "please, stop. I'm sick of hearing about this" in regards to the latest steroids controversy. And to be honest, how can you not agree with Guillen? It seems the dark cloud that is the steroid era has made its way over us again, and is raining down its drops of allegations, admissions, speculation, and degredation over the game.

However, the truth of the matter is that this is not over. As more names are leaked, and the confirmation of our suspicions occur, the Pandora's box that was the steroid era is exposed and revealed more clearly. Does it change the past? No. Should we change the past? No. Nonetheless, no matter how much certain writers and members of the national media prefer to add asterisks, labels, and cause a frenzy, there are two distinct (and very polarizing) perceptions that are rising from the constant leakage of these names.

The first situation is the greatness of Derek Sanderson Jeter. For over fifteen years, Jeter has embodied what Major League Baseball seeks in one of the faces of the league. As the names are revealed, ones which were synonymous with power, fame, notoriety and the insane, videogame-like statistics, Jeter, on a pace for 4,000 hits, slowly rises as the single greatest talent during the era. In fact, Jeter is the one player that MLB cannot afford to be connected to performance-enhancing drugs. Any other name will not surprise a fan anymore - except Derek Jeter. And that in it's essence shows how special of a talent Derek Jeter was, and is.

On the other hand...

The second, and most significant situation is the absolute bias towards steroids and baseball. Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't Calvin Pace of the New York Jets suspended for performance-enhancing drugs recently? Yet, that received little press time, even less scrutiny from reports and sports outlets, and absolutely no criticism based on it it's morality and transgressions of the game. It was a mere blip on the screen. Instead, ESPN's NFL Live focused on how it would affect the Jets defense.

Unbelievable.

Save the excuse of the focus being a result of baseball's historical records and connection to American culture. Save it. Steroids should not be prioritized based on record at stake or sport. It wasn't a priority for the coverage of Marion Jones. It shouldn't be for Calvin Pace. If we are truly concerned with curbing steroid connection with athletes, our sports, and most importantly, our youth, steroid issues should be dealt with equally.

Yet, football and the NFL continues to get a pass. Amazing.

Two players caught for cheating six years ago when awareness and testing were minimal, or a current player being caught today under strict (and federal) supervision?

It seems we're so concerned with the "steroid era" of the past, that we may not even notice it still exists...or in some cases, we choose not to.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Enough is Enough

"...And I'm truly remorseful for what I've done, and for what happened, and for what I did"

Haven't we heard that before?

It seems so often that many of our celebrities, actors, athletes, and the many undeserved well-known individuals, are privileged under the law. Often they are unknowingly given a pass due to their "status" and "contribution" to society. Obviously, we have experienced this through many scenarios, but when do you we ask ourselves, "When is enough, enough?"

Of course, evident of the opening quote, this revolves around the situation with Plaxico Burress. In the opening day of his trial for possession of an illegal weapon, Burress remoresefully (and expectedly) made his comment in front of a grand jury.

Now it is understood that everyone makes mistakes, and situations happen. However, like many celebrities in the past, Burress made a conscious decision to carry a weapon illegally, and put many innocent people in danger.

However, the defense constantly made for Burress' is his contribution to society and what he means to the city of New York.

Burress' contribution to society is no greater than the kind gentleman I purchase an occasionaly sandwich from at the corner bodega. As for Burress' stature in New York, that only stems from a Super Bowl victory two years ago, a relationship that has since gone sour with the Giants organization, Giants fans, and the wonderful people of this great city. Yet it is still amazing how Burress can be portrayed as a victim.

Not to sound so vindictive, because there are no qualms about individuals receiving second chances, but there is a debt to be paid. Michael Vick, another football player, ruined by poor decisions, felony charges, and prison time, paid his debt to society. 23 months in prison. No excuse. After losing it all, he is on the brink of receiving his second chance, and quite honestly, it'll be great to see a reformed Vick embrace that opportunity.

Nonetheless, Burress is only remorseful because of his current situation. Mayor Bloomberg's mandatory three year sentence for illegal gun possession is at stake in this case. Who is better than Plaxico Burress to make an example of the recently passed law? The Plaxico Burress. Yeah, the guy that won a Superbowl.

It's time to draw the line in the sand. When Dante Stallworth, Cleveland Browns wide receiver, is ordered to a 23 day sentence for vehicular manslaughter (a situation where he admits to being under the influence of alcohol), it was clear society needed to take a stand.

Burress' case is more than just another trial with a superstar athlete, it can possibly be a defining moment in re-introducing the age old standard that "No one is above the law."

In remorse this is said, a standard that needs to be re-introduced.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Continue...

I lay there. Hyperventilating. Hurting. Beaten. Almost tearing up.
I continue...I continue.
I daze up into the lights. Dreaming. Wishing. Hoping. On the edge of giving up.
But, I continue...I continue.
I befriend pain, which has made a home on my body.
A confidant of my mind.
A captive of my soul.
I embrace the crimson mask I wear.
Flowing from my head, through my eyes, into the crevice of my lips.
I daze into my shivering hands, with veins that run cold.
I stare through the metal links that has imprisoned me.
Kept me from my dreams,
from being free,
from feeling alive.

I look beyond the links, and see the faces of my foundation.
My rock.
Adrenaline becomes my fuel. I thrive. I vow to revive.
I claw. I step. I inch upwards.
Pain submitting to relief. Despair relinquishing to raw emotion.
One leg over. It's over. I think it's over. Is it over?
I fall.
From a force greater than man. Greater than mother nature.
I crash with a thunder.
Bone shaking. Mind scrambling. Soul deflating. A thud.
There is my new friend. Pain. Fatigue.
And the taste of my blood once again.
I remain trapped. Still imprisoned. Still inside this abyss.
Yet, I continue...I continue.
I will one day escape this cage.
I will escape the consequences of a ravaged spirit.
Oh, to be free! And to look upon what I will surivive.
I continue...

Monday, July 06, 2009

Good Cheater, Bad Cheater

Excuse me if I am beating an old drum titled, "Steroid issue in baseball", but was Manny Ramirez suspended for a banned substance violation?

After this weekend, and the countdown and festivities regarding Ramirez's return, you would have never known. After all, it was understood that cheaters were just that, cheaters. Men, not players, who jeopardized a significant part of our culture, and selected the well-being of themselves over the sanctity of the game. They owe us all something, don't they? Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Clemens, Palmiero, and Rodriguez. They all owe us. They cheated us, the game, history, and our love.

This is what they did, right? This is what we've been hearing for the past few years. And that is how these men were labeled after being scrutinized.

So why does Ramirez seem more like a swan song comeback coupled with a hero's welcome?

The obvious rebuttal to that question of course is the popularity of Manny Ramirez. Ramirez is one of the most charismatic individuals the game has ever seen. He's no doubt, a unique talent. However, should his charisma overshadow his injustice to the game? The same game which we hold so dearly. The same game for which we vindicate men who did much more for the sport on a national level that Ramirez has.

Why and what merits do we select and choose who gets a second chance, and who is damned on baseball's blacklist forever?

Most blame the media outlets for their pariticpation in this circus act. In fact, the two biggest culprits are FOX and ESPN. After their intensive coverage of the steroid era and the harsh criticism towards Commissioner Selig and his actions toward the plague, these two outlets followed Ramirez's workouts, his minor league rehab assignments, and eventually gave the man his own ticker.

FOX commentator, Tim McCarver made his stand on the Ramirez coverage stating:

It's almost as though Manny Ramirez is being treated as if he'd been on the disabled list for 50 games. ... Why all the adulation for a guy who has served a 50-game suspension when guys like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro and A-Rod served no suspensions, yet they're branded?

And lest we not forget, Ramirez does not "owe" the public the truth about his failed drug test (ala Alex Rodriguez).

Despite it all, yours truly is not naive. I get it. The majority of America can careless about who did what, or who was on what anymore. We have become desensitized to it. Quite frankly, it is understood that the steroid issue in baseball is a beaten horse. In fact, it's all but been declared dead. Nonetheless, if we dare point the finger at one, and claim he doesn't belong, and allow others in who are guilty of the same crime because we like them, we are cheating the game just as much, as the men we shun...and allow.