You never know when you’ll run into greatness. Damon Stoudamire and I have been traveling between the same two cities for years now. Carrying drugs into Portland, carrying drugs into Tucson, you would think in all that time we would have at least shared a holding cell. Well, it finally happened. I’m just standing there, peeing into a cup (it’s just something I do for extra money) and who should be doing the exact same thing one stall over but ol’ Damon himself, and with Blazers head coach Maurice cheeks and Oregonian reporter John Canzano just hanging out, watching. Man, what people get off on these days.
So Damon smokes a little weed. So he gets busted for it, big deal. Next thing you know people are going to be throwing shit fits saying rampant steroid use is hurting the game of baseball. So what if the founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) and acquaintances were arrested for illegal steroid distribution. And so what if these “acquaintances” included Barry Bonds’ personal trainer and people with ties to Gary Sheffield and Jason Giambi, all of who have recently doubled in size. Big deal that a recent league wide steroid screen returned with up to 6% positive tests, a number experts estimate could really be closer to 20%. What’s with all the outrage? If there is one professional sport that could benefit from a little steroid use its baseball.
Baseball is in an all time slump. Ticket sales are down; merchandising is down, fan and player morale is down. With games pushing four hours, baseball can’t compete with faster, more exciting sports like basketball and extreme pollywog racing. Baseball needs something to put the spark back in the game and steroids seem like the ticket.
Imagine a field full of top-heavy hitters, runners with sticks for arms but grotesquely developed thighs. Imagine a golden glove winner without a glove. A genetically engineered All Star game sponsored by Campbell’s, complete with muscle bound players literally ripping at the seams, arteries thrashing and spraying during a victory lap. Imagine little Timmy’s delight when he gets dowsed in the eye with Alex Rodriguez’s drug-tinged blood. It’s like catching a home run ball.
Sure there are negative side effects to Steroid use, erectile malfunction, kidney failure, fits of uncontrollable rage, fits of uncontrollable urges to run for governor of California, but even those seem like they would have a positive effect on baseball. Steroid use may shorten your life, but at least that’ll mean no more 75 year old Roger Clemens “one last season” to deal with. And look at Barry Bonds; the man is like 45 and playing the best ball of his life. If he were to drop dead now, say in the middle of next years world series he’d be a legend. No growing old at card conventions signing T-shirts for chubby pre-teens in Stone Cold Steve Austin tees. Hell, he may never even have to set foot in Oklahoma. And they could retire the jersey of his cold dead back right there. The game would finally be interesting again. Sure bring your kid to work day might be a little lonely, since those little bats downstairs won’t be good for much, but it’s only one day. It’ll be like Christmas for crotchety alcoholics, sure you realize suddenly what you’ve lost but before you know it the day is over and you can go back to feeling good about yourself.
Baseball is hurting. And to me that means America is hurting. We’re confused, afraid, and sad in a way not even mascot antics can cheer us up. If baseball dies what does that mean for America? I’ll tell you, I don’t want to find out. So give them their steroids. Let them feel good, even if for just a little while. Do it for the kids.
And while you’re at it why not beef up the presidential debates. I bet Kucinich would finally drop out if Indian wrestling replaced closing statements, and I know I’m not the only one dying for a shot of Al Sharpton in a sports bra.